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Jonathan James is man with a key role in ensuring that the north does not grind to a halt. As transport policy offi...
Jonathan James is man with a key role in ensuring that the north does not grind to a halt. As transport policy officer for the North of England Assembly, his job is to develop plans aimed at preventing traffic congestion threatening the region's economic and social future.

Jonathan has been seconded to the NEA from the Freight Transport

Association - a move warmly welcomed by the assembly's director Stephen Barber, who says that it demonstrates 'the increasing spirit of partnership between all sectors to work together for the benefit of the region as a whole.'

Explains Jonathan: 'I'm sure that there are many occasions when we look at the chaos which afflicts other parts of the world - and even other regions of the UK - and think we are relatively well off in the north.

'That would be a very shortsighted attitude to take because it is

absolutely certain that, unless we develop a strategy for tackling our

transport dilemmas, we face the prospect of the region being virtually

strangled by congestion within a relatively few years.

'A key element of my job will be to work with all the partners across the region - including all those involved in the transport sector - to develop policies which will prevent that happening.

'We know that the government is to issue a White Paper on an Integrated Transport Policy and during my secondment I shall be working ensure that the region will be in a position to make an effective contribution to the debate.

'We have to bring together all types of transport into an integrated

framework to tackle issues such as ever-increasing car usage and the ways in which freight is transported. That will require a real commitment to improving public transport services so they really do become an attractive and viable alternative to the car for many journeys - and developing opportunities for more freight to moved by rail and by sea.'

Added Stephen Barber: 'The assembly plays a central role in dealing with transport issues across the region and was recently invited by the Government Office for the North East to form a Regional Transport Forum to consider these kind of issues.

'Working with our colleagues in the local authorities and in the business community, we have already undertaken a considerable amount of work in this area. Jonathan's secondment from the Freight Transport Association is a major contribution to helping the Region as a whole plan ahead and prevent us being faced with the kind of major congestion problems which face other areas.

'The assembly is firmly committed to a partnership approach and we

certainly believe that secondments of this kind - which can bring together expertise and recourses from all sectors - are the way forward for the region.'

Thirty-two-year-old Jonathan has been involved in transport and warehousing management since leaving college with a Business Studies qualification. Three years ago he moved to the Freight Transport Association and has become closely involved with the issues which affect how businesses are able to deliver their goods - and the transport needs of the region.

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