Electric boost to tourism in avenue bid

Etal's new electric charging point
Etal's new electric charging point
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Berwick is one of 11 towns and cities chosen to be part of an ambitious bid to the EU to secure funding to promote the take-up of green transport.

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.

“The beauty of this idea is that there are electric charging points along the whole route, such as at Etal, Wooler, Alnwick, Rothbury and Ponteland,” said Coun Eric Goodyer, of Berwick Town Council.

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

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 sources of funding will be looked at.

Coun 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.