Press Release : NHS Staff Call On North Tyneside Council To Start Work on Cycle & Pedestrian Route To Save Lives

15 February 2023: A group of NHS medics has appealed to North Tyneside Council to push ahead with a combined cycle and pedestrian way between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, saying the scheme will “save lives” and improve the environment. Work on the project was due to begin in September but is understood to have been delayed amid discussions over funding and inflation. 

Dr Hannah Jary, a Public Health doctor (Specialty Registrar) and Whitley Bay resident, one of 58 local medics to sign the letter, says: “Cycling is a fun and cheap way that people can improve their physical and mental health, reduce air pollution and prevent climate change.”

Dr Jary, who is a member of the group Street Life North Tyneside that campaigns for safer streets and active travel, added: “We need to make it safe for our community, including our kids, to get on their bikes – the planned coastal cycle route is the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Dr Jane Atkinson, a North Tyneside hospital consultant, says: “Creating opportunities for active travel is a great way of improving our improving our local population’s physical and mental health as well as attracting tourists to our beautiful coastline.”

Whitley Bay seafront resident & GP Sian Williams says: “Problems like poor air quality and obesity cost many lives. Building a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians to encourage people to make healthier, greener choices must be a priority.”

North Tyneside Council won Government funding for the £3.5 million scheme in May 2022 after a public consultation in October 2021.

In 2020 a group of NHS medics wrote to North Tyneside Council to call for the pop-up seafront cycleway – created during the pandemic – to be made permanent. Full version of the latest letter to the council follows: 

“Dear North Tyneside Council,

As NHS medics who are also local residents we appeal to the council to begin building the coastal cycling and walking route immediately as we believe the project is vital for health and the environment.

Work on the scheme was due to start five months ago but we understand it has been delayed due to on-going discussions around funding issues and inflation. At a time when obesity, air pollution and climate change are costing lives, pushing ahead is a matter of urgency.

The seafront “sunrise” route and associated traffic-calming would be a massive boost to cycling and walking, one that will enable more sustainable forms of transport, make people fitter, improve air-quality, help tackle global-warming and boost local tourism.

We note that some of the greatest health and well-being benefits from the planned cycle/pedestrian way will be enjoyed by children and young people – and we implore councillors to ensure work is not delayed any longer.

Yours Sincerely,

(58 current & retired NHS staff names follow) “

Extracts of the press release were published by the Chronicle on 15 February 2023 here and by the BBC on their website on 16 February 2023 here

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