• Why I’ve decided to stand for Mayor

    What would I do as Mayor of North of Tyne?

    I have decided to stand to be the first directly elected Mayor of the North of Tyne region. As a native of the North East it would be a great honour to be the first holder of this new office. As one of the region’s serving politicians I can immediately see the potential of the role to help galvanize North of Tyne into being even greater than the sum of its parts.

    My vision as Mayor of North of Tyne would be to deliver a green industrial revolution that resulted in a booming economy bringing good quality jobs and at the same time becoming the greenest English region.

    Creating more jobs, building more homes, stopping population decline, making the region more attractive to live in are all important goals and we can achieve them in a way that does not damage our environment. We need growth that is green and the North of Tyne region is well placed to lead the country as we once did during the industrial revolution but this time it will be a green industrial revolution.

    The shift to renewable energy and sustainability is underway but we need to move faster. If you think of those shocking Blue Planet images of plastic pollution in our oceans you will know we must make more of the products we need from renewable, sustainable materials and recycle as many of these products as possible. Welcome to the bio-economy!

    A great example of the bio-economy is that anything we once made from oil we can now make from wood. Timber is a renewable and sustainable resource as long as we manage our forests carefully and within safe environmental limits. We can do this right here, in the North of Tyne.

    As Mayor I would aim to double forest cover in our region over the course of the next 20 years. In the meantime we can import timber from Scandinavia to support the emerging bio-economy which will provide the new green jobs.

    These jobs could include the manufacture of a new generation of construction timbers that have the structural strength of steel and concrete enabling buildings to reach up to 40 storeys high and beyond. The manufacture of concrete is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions so reducing its use is critical. At the same time wood, both as growing forests and sawn timber, absorbs over 10% of Europe’s carbon emissions, hence more wood means less CO2.

    Wood has many other uses in the bio-economy. For instance industrial sugars for the pharmaceutical industry, which is surprisingly big in the North East, can be made from wood. Textiles can also be made from wood substituting for cotton which, when grown in the developing world often uses land that would be better suited for local food production.

    We have so much potential here. The old coal fired power station site at Blyth and the former aluminium smelter site at Lynemouth are ideal locations for a wood based bio-economy to develop along with additional locations on the north bank of the Tyne. With two deep water ports and a new green supply of electricity, via the world’s longest underwater electricity cable currently being laid from Norway to South East Northumberland, we are well placed to seize the initiative.

    As well as creating a large number of green jobs we should aspire to have the freshest air, the finest beaches, the most extensive tree cover (in both our rural and urban areas), the purest water, the best insulated homes, the greenest electricity, the cleanest rivers and streets, the richest biodiversity, the darkest night skies, the longest cycle routes and footpaths … the list can go on.

    Add this all up and you have the best place to live in England, attracting new businesses, giving our young people opportunities to thrive, drawing in visitors and tourists from home and abroad, creating a booming economy delivering good quality jobs and the greenest English region, all on the back of a green industrial revolution. What a place for our children and grandchildren to live in!”

  • Delivering a green industrial revolution for North of Tyne

    Working for more jobs, better jobs, green jobs

    Making North of Tyne the best place to live in Britain

    Staying in regular touch with the voters