Agenda item

Public Questions

Four valid questions have been received from members of the public for this meeting.



1.               Question to the Elected Mayor from Mrs S Armstrong of Shiremoor


Please can you tell me what NTC are doing to combat litter and rubbish which is becoming a huge issue in my area. I walk my dog every day at the Cobalt Nature Reserve, which your offices directly overlook, and l am horrified at the amount of litter in this beautiful place.


The Algernon industrial estate, also less than a mile away from your offices, is an utter disgrace with rubbish and litter everywhere. I'm sure this is not a unique problem and this must be issue across the whole borough. 


Could the council consider litter wardens who issue on the spot fines for people dropping litter?


This used to happen in the 80's and we didn't have the litter issue that we have now.


Councillor S Graham responded on behalf of the Elected Mayor as follows:


Thank you for this question which covers an important issue for the council and our residents.


The council has a team of officers (the Community Protection Team) who carry out patrols across the borough and issue fixed penalty notices for environmental issues such as littering, dog fouling and fly tipping, where appropriate.


Fines range from £80 to £400, depending upon the offence and over the past few years, we have issued over 300 fixed penalty notices for litter, dog fouling and fly tipping offences.


Also, as part of the council’s commitment to tackling environmental issues such as littering and dog fouling, an additional two environmental enforcement CCTV vehicles were introduced last year.  The council now has a total of three prominent CCTV vehicles which help to increase the coverage of patrols across the borough, providing greater visibility and confidence to residents.

In response to your feedback, we have been out to take a look at the areas you have mentioned, and I’m pleased to let you know that clean ups are taking place across the park. The Community Protection Team have also arranged to carry out patrols in the area and will take action, where appropriate.


We are also working with the businesses on the industrial estate and will complement additional work where necessary to keep the area clean and tidy.


Lastly, I think it’s important to mention that whilst the council will continue to take action against those individuals who do not dispose of their litter and waste in the correct way, litter is everyone’s responsibility, and we can all do our bit to contribute to keeping North Tyneside tidy and litter free.

I would like to make a special mention and thank you to all the clean-up and community groups who go out sometimes on a daily basis to help clean up our borough working with us all on a purely voluntary basis and they are a great help.


Thank you again for raising this important issue.



2.       Question to the Elected Mayor from Ms Prospert of Whitley Bay


"The Council appear committed to the provision of a coastal active travel route - and this is very welcome - but will the Council commit to extend this provision to the rest of the Borough and have a comprehensive active travel network by issuing and consulting on its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)?

Other local authorities in the North East of England have either already consulted and issued their LCWIP (e.g. Newcastle, South Tyneside, Durham) or are currently consulting on it (e.g. Sunderland) and it is unclear when North Tyneside Council will undertake the same exercise and ensure meaningful community input. Without a LCWIP and associated work programme, any proposed cycling and walking improvements will remain “ad hoc” and disjointed.”


Councillor S Graham responded on behalf of the Elected Mayor as follows:


North Tyneside benefits from a wide variety of routes which support active travel, including the extensive Wagonways network, and I am certainly determined to continue to improve and develop our already high quality network further.


Last year we adopted the new Our North Tyneside Plan, committing to further increase opportunities for safe walking and cycling.  And we updated our Transport Strategy, which has a key aim to encourage a modal shift to more sustainable modes of transport.


In addition, in 2018, we introduced a Cycling Strategy which emphasises our support for everyday cycling and includes a London-style ‘tube map’ of the strategic cycling routes we are connecting up across the borough.


Since then, our work has continued. For example, we have installed direct and convenient cycle tracks alongside A189 Salters Lane, delivering a section of our cycling ‘tube map’ which links to Killingworth, Longbenton and to various business parks in the corridor.


We have this week started work to put in protected cycle lanes on the A191 New York bypass and on Rake Lane.  It will include new pedestrian crossings at the roundabout to allow safe walking and crossing.


Over the next 12 months we will be pressing ahead with the regeneration of North Shields, including a new link which will make it much easier to walk between the town centre and the Fish Quay. We carried out public consultation on these plans last year and have taken people’s feedback on board to finalise the shape of the schemes.


In line with Government guidance, we are preparing a draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan [LCWIP]: this is based on our cycling network of ‘tube map’ routes and connecting routes, particularly in our town centres and this plan will be consulted upon later this year.


The new plan will provide further supporting evidence to help us as we seek funding to deliver an even better networks for cycling, walking and all forms of active travel. This will complement our aim – set out in the Our North Tyneside Plan – to publish an action plan, and seek national investment, to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by our new and ambitious target of 2030.



3.       Question to the Elected Mayor from Ms Stenning of North Shields


The council’s Winter Maintenance Policy states that “the safe movement” of cyclists and pedestrians must be ensured as part of the winter maintenance policy, but we see little evidence of this commitment on the borough’s designated cycle paths. Moreover, following Storm Arwen and the considerable impacts across the borough, obstructions and debris remain on many of the borough’s cycle, pedestrian, and shared paths many weeks later, posing a particular danger to those cycling and to their cycles.

Research shows that failing to clear cycle paths not only deters cyclists on days when there is ice/snow/other debris but also more generally as travel choices need to be safe, reliable and consistent day in day out (see


In this light, we ask the mayor and her cabinet:

-        What resources are committed to clearing and ensuring the safety of cycle paths in the borough, in the context of both snow/ice and other weather events, and how are the council’s cycle paths currently prioritised for clearing?

-        How is winter maintenance integrated into the council’s current schemes for extending and upgrading its cycle network (on the seafront, in town centres, metro links etc.) to meet the council’s expressed desire to enable more residents to walk and cycle safely in the borough, not least to achieve the council’s Net Zero commitments?



Councillor S Graham responded on behalf of the Elected Mayor as follows:


Thank you for this question.


Gritting the highway is very important in terms of road safety. In fact, The Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty on a Highway Authority, (in our case North Tyneside Council), to take reasonable steps to remove accumulations of snow or ice from priority highways.


In accordance with this Act, we have designated some 240 miles of priority highway (strategic routes) to receive treatment under our Winter Maintenance Policy.


We have 12 gritting vehicles and a team of 28 drivers who are on call 24 hrs a day from 1 October to 30 April and they respond, whenever road conditions require it.


I can confirm that some of our cycleways that are adjacent to the priority network like the Coast Road are included and are gritted or treated as part of this service. 


Our plans and approach will always take into consideration the extension and any upgrade of the priority network, including the cycle network along the seafront and our town centres.


In addition to road gritting, we have also positioned grit bins in areas of high footfall, such as town centres and shopping locations and will treat these areas when required. Grit bins are also provided across the borough in community locations of high risk, to assist communities to keep areas safe.  

Whilst we can’t treat every footpath and cycleway in the borough when the temperature drops to freezing, we do make every effort ensure there is safe movement across the borough for all highway users including buses, cars, cyclists, motorcyclists on all our strategic routes.


In relation to the impact on the borough of Storm Arwen, we are still responding to the devastating impact the storm had on many homes, businesses and public places across the borough, including our wagon way and cycle network.


Following the storm, we have redirected a lot of our resources to carry out clean-up operations. Unfortunately, due to the extent of the damage caused by the storm, the clean-up is ongoing in some of these locations for a few weeks to come.


I hope this information provides you with assurance of the council’s commitment to keep the borough’s road network safe during the winter and times of extreme storm. I hope you can bear with us, as we complete the storm Arwen clean up.  We are making good progress and we will get there - soon. 


4.       Question to the Elected Mayor from Mr Appleby of Cullercoats


As we are all aware, we’re in the midst of a serious and deteriorating climate and nature emergency.  Having adopted soft targets in 2019, the council has now accepted the need to take stronger action.

However, due to the delay, we don’t have yet an adequate climate emergency action plan and as such the budget commitments to this issue are out of date and wholly inadequate.


Given this, can the council confirm when the revised Climate Emergency Action Plan will be ready and given the urgency of action, will the council recognise the need to pre-allocate funds in the budget to enable rapid action this year, as planning proceeds.


Councillor S Graham responded on behalf of the Elected Mayor as follows:


Thank you for this question.


Over spring and summer 2020, despite the pandemic, the Council worked with key stakeholders to develop its Climate Emergency Action Plan which was presented to Cabinet in the October of that year. At that time, the Council was working towards a 2050 target and the action plan included a number of key objectives, including improving energy efficiency, and decarbonising power, heat and travel.


And I am pleased to report that we are delivering against those objectives. For example, we are converting all of our street lights to LED, installing low carbon heating in our leisure centres and cross tenure homes, installing renewable energy systems in homes, electrifying our vehicle fleet and supporting the uptake of electric vehicles by residents through our Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy.


Following Council agreeing our ambitious policy commitment to publish an action plan of the steps we will take and the national investment we will seek to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030, we are working hard to refresh our plans and we will present an action plan to Cabinet later this year.


However, the hard work continues and refreshing our action plan isn’t stopping us from delivering projects that reduce our carbon footprint.


As we develop our action plan, we will be identifying fully costed projects. We will continue to bid into grant funding from Government where possible and present investment opportunities to the Council’s Investment Programme Board where grant funding is not made available, just as we did for our street lighting LED project.


The Council’s budget proposals for this year also include initial Capital investment growth for climate emergency initiatives to support key strategic decarbonisation projects such as electrification of the Authority’s vehicle fleet and are based on current market costs.


We are working at pace to deliver on our 2030 commitment and whilst the Government is working to a 2050 target, we are trying to mirror their plans but at a quicker pace for the residents of North Tyneside. We want to take our residents and businesses with us and influence change where we do not have direct responsibility and to that end, we will soon be setting up an outward facing Climate Emergency Board with businesses and other stakeholder organisations working together to make North Tyneside a greener decarbonised borough fit for the future.



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