Electric avenue bid could provide boostto green tourism

Berwick is one of 11 towns and cities chosen to be part of an ambitious bid to the European Union to secure funding to promote the take-up of green and sustainable transport.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 03 February, 2017, 07:52
Etal's new electric charging point

Details of the bid remain confidential but it is understood to be worth €5million and will enable the participants to get advice and support from five other European cities that have successfully launched green transport projects.

The Northumberland Electric Avenue idea is to establish a tourist route between Berwick and Hexham railway stations, which will allow tourists to make the journey using a hired electric car or bike.

“Northumberland County Council already have a fleet of electric vehicles available for hire – so launching the Electric Avenue as a green tourism project is relatively low cost.”

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If funded, the plan is to establish an electric car and bike sharing depot at both ends of the electric avenue. Tourists and locals could rent the vehicles but the main objective is to enable tourists to arrive and leave by train, using the electric vehicles to tour.

Support has come from the county council, Active Northumberland and Northumberland Tourism. The EU fund is oversubscribed but, even if this bid fails, alternative funding will be looked at.

Cllr Goodyer, who works part-time for De Montfort Universities Intelligent Transport System, brought this opportunity to the attention of Berwick Town Council – and a collaborative project was submitted by the town council and Berwick Community Trust.

“We suggested four outline ideas, all of which arose through the Neighbourhood Plan process”, said Cllr Goodyer. “They were to support a Park & Ride service based on the Hoppa Bus running between Sandstell Road car park, Morrisons & Tesco; re-instatement of the Spittal to Berwick Quay ferry as a park & boat-ride service also using Sandstell Road Car Park; intelligent sign-age and smart phone apps to offer drivers up to date information about congestion and to try and route vehicles away from the centre. However the one they chose was the Northumberland Electric Avenue.”