Public Inquiry

The case for the New Tyne Crossing was made at a public enquiry in 2003.

The case for the New Tyne Crossing was made at a Public Inquiry, held in Jarrow in 2003.

Traffic congestion was recognised as a barrier to investment, trade and employment. Queuing traffic and rat-running also degraded the environment and the quality of life of local communities.

The design of the proposed tunnel involved extremely deep excavations, particularly in Jarrow, with the potential to divide local communities from amenities such as shops, therefore careful consultation and close liaison was required.

Another concern was the potential impact of the scheme on the ecology of the River Tyne.

Immersed tube technology required the dredging of a deep trench across the river. There was concern that this would disturb toxic sediments from the river’s long industrial past and affect marine life. The Tyne is the best salmon river in England and Wales, so a particular focus was given to migratory fish species such as salmon and sea trout.

TWITA worked closely with the Environment Agency and the Tyne Riparian Owners and Occupiers Association (TROOA) to put a number of measures in place to protect fish stocks. These included phasing construction so river works took place when migratory fish runs were at their lowest; funding monitoring equipment; refurbishing a fish pass at Riding Mill; increasing stocks in the Kielder hatchery, and funding the creation of the Tyne Rivers Trust, a charity charged with conserving and improving the ecology of the River Tyne catchment area.

Cllr Tom Hanson with Andrew Davison, Chair Tyne Rivers Trust, TWITA provides £250,000 funding for river works.

The Secretary of State for Transport approved TWITA’s application for the New Tyne Crossing under the Transport and Works Act on 21 July 2005.

A legal challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision was lodged with the High Court in August 2005 by an individual member of the public. The challenge related to the way the Environmental Statement had dealt with disposal of waste and argued that it was incomplete and consequently that the decision to confirm the Order was unsound. The challenge was heard in the High Court in April 2006 and the decision to dismiss the challenge was handed down in May 2006. Leave to Appeal was denied.

At one stage, TWITA actually owned the historic Gaslight public house which stood adjacent to the line of the new tunnel in Jarrow in the hope it might survive beyond the construction phase, but it was eventually agreed that because of its proximity to the excavations demolition was necessary. This took place in 2008 but not until a family of herring gulls, nesting in the chimney, had hatched and fledged.