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Chamber chief executive's Northern Echo column


Transport crucial to region's success

As someone who travels up to 10,000 business miles each year in the North East, I realise all too well the importance of a first class road system.

Part of our Stronger North East campaign focuses specifically on connectivity and its utmost importance to our economic success.Our members give us their views on what we should be doing to improve our region and transport is always at the top of their list of priorities.

Earlier in my career I was Vice-Chairman of Esh Group where it was brought home to me every day the immediate financial impact of traffic jams and delays.It is perfectly true time is money and cannot be wasted sitting in congestion, creating pollution and costing thousands.

I was delighted to read the report on the New Tees Crossing and the ambitious plans to alleviate the on-going problems on the A19 flyover which causes so many businesspeople headaches.

The statistics for this major trunk route show a staggering increase with 45k per day using it back in the 1980s which rose to 112k in 2016 and even that figure no doubt increased today.

It is vital the business community study the proposals put forward by the Tees Valley Combined Authority to ensure their views are able to be taken into account.

There is information on the authority’s website and a number of meetings have been held including ones at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and Hill Street Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough last week. I urge you all to have your say.

In terms of having your opinion heard, we have ensured the business voice is loud and clear on the completely chaotic Brexit shambles at present.

We have been appalled by the truly dreadful Government handling of the whole process since the result of the referendum and it continues to be shameful.Our businesses need clarity on future trading arrangements as well as fit and proper leadership from our politicians.

The whole country is hurtling towards the end of March with massive uncertainty and our region is potentially likely to be hurt by this situation more than most, with our substantial reliance on trade with the EU.

It is therefore understandable our analysis of recent trade statistics showed a marked increase in our international exports to North America.We are rolling up our sleeves and getting on with growing our businesses where we can, as is our wont.