The River Tyne is the artery which has given life to communities on both its banks and indeed the whole North East region. The Tyne Task Force was set up by the cross-party North of Tyne Combined Authority Cabinet to build strong collaboration to support jobs, growth and prosperity along the river. Last week Mayor Norma Redfearn brought stakeholders together including business, local authorities and MP’s to see what more can be done to unlock the rivers potential.
These are challenging times. The energy crisis, made worse by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and post Brexit uncertainty, is a big challenge but also creates new opportunities. We are well placed to compete for work on offshore wind farms offering a new chapter in the story of engineering and manufacturing on the river. There could be thousands of jobs and schools, colleges and business need to work together to equip a new generation of employee. And there’s an opportunity to restore respect to the kind of careers on offer which can bring well paid jobs near to communities where people live. There are some obstacles which Government must help resolve including removing some of the infrastructure challenges limiting access to the river and help find a solution to the cost of long overdue dredging.
That’s not as easy as it sounds not least because the Tyne lost out on becoming a freeport when Ministers preferred Teesside which is awash with Russian money. But we’ll go on making the case for future investment and bring the economic security our area needs.