Another transport scheme bungled as Newcastle Council kicks Clean Air Zone to the kerb, say Opposition Councillors

October 26, 2020 11:30 AM
Nick Cott GHSAs Newcastle City Council confirms Clean Air Zone (CAZ) plans have been kicked into the long grass, Opposition Councillors are asking the Labour Administration "Do you have a grip on the issues?"
The Cabinet member for Transport and Air Quality, Arlene Ainsley, has admitted that the proposals are subject to a legal challenge, has attempted to deflect blame to the Government, and cannot provide any clarity on next steps. As the Net Zero Action Plan limps forward, the Opposition has grave concerns that the Council is yet to have an overarching strategy on climate and air quality.
Cllr Nick Cott, Opposition Group Leader, said: "The Government's role in botching the procurement process and providing an opportunity for a supplier to take the Council to the High Court is entirely unclear. The Cabinet Member's explanation for the delay simply doesn't wash. Instead, this looks like a simple case of the Council bungling a major transport scheme once again.
"It now makes sense why North Tyneside and Gateshead Councils are nowhere to be seen on CAZ issues, despite sharing responsibility for their implementation. It seems Labour aren't willing to stick together when the lawyers come knocking. We said a month ago that Gateshead and North Tyneside seemed to be backing off ahead of a looming political catastrophe: it appears we were right.
"We're calling on the Council to clearly state how much money has been wasted delivering nothing but uncertainty for residents and commuters. We want to know what the Council plans to do to tackle the Air Quality crisis: we're not convinced it's gone away yet. And we want to see a proper strategy for the City that manages traffic flows, supports pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, and does away with costly vanity projects and cost overruns."