Roundtable held for Chamber members
Senior business leaders who represent the main transport companies in the North East were able to put their questions to the Department for Transport this week.
Organised by the Chamber and hosted by Womble Bond Dickinson, there were a range of representatives from Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley airports, PD Ports, Transport for the North, the North East and Tees Valley Combined Authorities, the North East LEP, Northern, Ferguson Transport, Go North East, Intu and Arcadis.
The Department officials updated the Chamber members on Government consultations around transport and encouraged businesses to put forward their views. Among the issues under discussion were how to create sustainable aviation, Heathrow expansion plans, rail connections and port developments.
The Chamber members present were able to set out their concerns and challenges including the on-going concern on Air Passenger Duty, the need for a long-term approach to trade through ports and how getting rid of infrastructure pinch-points would help attract investment.
Marianne O’Sullivan, Chamber policy adviser said: “Excellent transport links are a fundamental part of businesses’ success and we were delighted the Department for Transport heard our members’ views on this key issue. A key part of our Stronger North East campaign is based on getting an improved transport infrastructure, so this meeting was key to us raising our priorities for investment to help to increase connectivity and trade across the North East.”
Kevin Bell, a partner at Womble Bond Dickinson said "Womble Bond Dickinson were delighted to be able to host the Policy Roundtable Event at our offices in Newcastle with senior policy representatives from the DfT as well as number of representatives from across the transport sector (road, rail, ports and airports) here in the North East.
It was useful to hear from the DfT about the further developments on Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 as well as discuss the Government's maritime and aviation strategies. All of those in attendance were fully supportive of the major infrastructure projects that are currently being championed by the DfT and TfN as they clearly benefit both the travelling public and businesses in the North East. But we must not rest on our laurels and think that these schemes will now be delivered. We need to continue to shout as "one voice" from the North East for the much needed improvements to the East Coast Mainline (as without it, Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 will not be able to operate effectively) and the timely delivery of key road works on the A1, A19, A66 and A69. This in turn will help improve access to our ports and airports and ultimately increase international trade and further inward investment.
It is an exciting time to be involved in the transport sector and Womble Bond Dickinson are pleased to be able to play a part in helping to shape the future provision of transport services close to home here in the North East."