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Greenfield Sites Have High Environmental Value Too

Over the years Wildlife and Countryside Link has provided a great way of joining environmental voices together and also mediating in those cases where countryside and wildlife protection come into conflict. So it can only be a matter of great regret that it has, once again, decided to take sides in ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 September 2017

Fixing Our Brokered Housing Market

The grandly named new Government policy for Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places raises far more questions than answers, but the big one ministers will be asking is whether it will head off hostility from the rank-and-file at the upcoming party conference. Certainly the new methodology h...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 16 September 2017

Forever, For Everyone

Defending the environment for everyone, forever, is a pretty big ambition but that, at its most basic, is what sustainability means. But challenges do not come any bigger than promising things to everyone, forever. That ambition is, of course, what drives the National Trust and has done for more tha...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 10 September 2017

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Metro expansion for North East proposed

Added on 29 July 2016

The North East Combined Authority has published plans for significant expansion of local rail passenger services in the region over the next 20 years.

The plans envisage replacement of rolling stock on the Tyne & Wear Metro and the obsolete mainline Pacer trains.

They also propose a limited expansion of services including reopening of a few routes like the mothballed Leamside Line.

“We are building a business case for major investment in Metro and local rail to improve journeys for passengers and provide cleaner, greener and attractive travel choices,” said lead member for transport Nick Forbes.

Central to the proposal is a take-over of parts of the infrastructure from Network Rail and integrated Metro and mainline services.

The Metro is part-way through a major refurbishment including station improvements, track renewal and infrastructure replacement. New trains are part of the latest plans.

The plans for new services are cautious and recognise major funding would be needed, as well as agreement with existing rail operators.

Plans to expand the Metro include new services to Newcastle Airport. The disused Leamside Line would see the previously proposed Newcastle-Sunderland via Washington loop, a new link to the east of the city of Durham and Ferryhill and potential reuse for high-speed inter-city services.

The long-cherished ambition of a Metro service to Blyth and Ashington is also included, as are a number of other smaller extensions and heavy rail improvements.

Large parts of the North East would see little benefit, however. These include the populous parts of western and southern County Durham and Teesside and other possible opportunities in north-east and east Durham on rail alignments have been ignored.

Earlier proposals such as the Derwent Valley line to Consett have not been included.

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