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Issue Date:- 7 July 2008

Call for more bus lane access

MOTORCYCLISTS at the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) bike conference called for greater access to bus lanes.  A delegate survey of 130 motorcyclists, representing the IAM's 19,000 motorcycle members, overwhelmingly supported bus lane access for bikers (92%).  The move could have significant improvements for the safety of motorcyclists, say the IAM.

Dave Shenton, IAM Motorcycling Manager and Conference Chairman said:- "This survey confirms motorcyclists are becoming increasingly concerned for their safety now that urban roads are busier than ever."

In London, the Mayor's Transport Strategy recognised that motorcycles take up little space and noted the high number of collisions and injuries involving motorcyclists.  As a result TfL (Transport for London) ran a pilot study in 2002 to help the debate on whether or not motorcyclists should be allowed to use bus lanes.  The results show a benefit for powered 2 wheelers, although it also raised issues for cyclists and pedestrians.

Mr Shenton added:- "We would like to see more of an open minded approach towards allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes more widely.  It makes little sense for motorcyclists to filter within inches of stationary vehicles when an empty piece of tarmac, only a few feet away, leaves them more visible, separated from cars and causing less anxiety to everyone.  If the main road leaves motorcyclists and other road users in a more vulnerable position, it make sense to let them utilise bus lanes."

The IAM Motorcycle Conference also saw the inaugural presentation of the Lord Strathcarron Award, named in memory of the "motorcycling peer" who was the 1st motorcyclist to take the IAM bike test.  The award went to Martyn Buckland of the Wilts and Bath Advanced Motorcyclists Group.

Presentations were given by Karen Cooke, MCIA Motorcycle Safety Manager, and Dr Alex Stedmon of Nottingham University, where a pioneering motorbike simulator has been developed.

Email us to with your views on this issue.  Is the IAM correct in what they say?


TO help Merseysiders get into the swing with The Open Championship, Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa has launched a Fantasy Golf competition offering one lucky winner the chance to try out its new PGA Academy.  The resort’s online competition, developed by Liverpool digital agency Rippleffect, will enable golfing fanatics to take part in the prestigious tournament taking place at Royal Birkdale from 17 July to  20 July 2008, by selecting a fantasy team of four golfers to compete for the highest total score during the Championship.

Points will be awarded for holes in 1 and scores under-par with the winner receiving a 2-day pass to Formby Hall as well as a custom fit FT-5 Callaway Driver.  The pass will provide full access to the resort’s PGA National Residential Golf Academy – the only one in the UK – as well as dinner and breakfast, a round of golf on the championship 18 hole course, use of the Phytomer spa and one night’s accommodation in a Formby Golf Deluxe Suite.

Gaynor Black, director of marketing at Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa, commented:- “Golfing fever has really gripped Merseyside with the arrival of the Open just a few weeks away.  Our Fantasy Golf league will help meet the growing interest in the sport and enable people of all ages and abilities to experience the Open.  It’s free to take part and the prizes on offer will enable aspiring golfers to learn from the Academy’s PGA professionals and maybe master the skills and shots on display during the Championship.”

The PGA Academy features the latest in swing analysis and ball tracking technology, a 26 bay driving range and a new 9-hole par 3 links course to help golfers improve their game.  The Fantasy Golf winner can share their 2-day pass with a friend and 10 runners-up will receive a one-day pass to the par 3 links course.  To be in with a chance of winning, register for Fantasy Golf at by 15 July 2008.

Northwest doubles jobs figure

THE Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) can reveal that England’s Northwest is again one of the UK’s leading regions for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Figures released nationally by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) show that the numbers of jobs created and/or safeguarded in the region over the past year have doubled compared to previous years.

The Northwest has attracted 155 inward investment projects during 2007/08, an increase of 18 projects on last year and an increase of 64 projects on 2004/05.  These 156 projects have created or safeguarded 14,647 a massive 7,127 more than the 7,520 jobs in 2006/07.

The collaboration between the NWDA and sub-regional partners, including The Mersey Partnership, MIDAS, Lancashire Economic Partnership, Cheshire & Warrington Economic Alliance and Cumbria Vision, has contributed to these impressive figures with a spread of new, expansion and acquisition projects from all around the world reaching all parts of the region.

Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said:- “These figures are a real lift from recent stories surrounding the slowdown of the global economy and the financial credit crunch.  The FDI has been a fierce competition for some years now and we should take a great deal of encouragement in our regions’ achievements in the past year. 

The NWDA works hard with our partners across the Northwest, our offices overseas and the UKTI, to develop the international competitiveness of the region and prioritise overseas investment as an important element to our economic growth.

This current year will see the toughest economic climate the UK has faced since the Regional Development Agencies were established 9 years ago, and we should be prepared for a drop in the UK’s FDI performance next year (2009), but I am confident that our diverse economy, particularly here in the Northwest, can ride-out this storm in the longer term.”

FDI plays a very important part in the Northwest economy.  A new study by DTZ - due to be launched later this month - highlights the value and significance that FDI has on our region.  The report has found that over 17% of regional gross value added (GVA) is accounted for by foreign owned companies operating in the Northwest and that economic output (GVA) per worker is almost 50% higher in foreign owned companies compared to the regional average. 

The USA remains the key source of FDI into the region in terms of jobs and financial impact, followed by Germany, France and the Netherlands.

David Miliband, Foreign Secretary, said:- "The UK has a global reach and our investment pipelines are spread across the world.  Once again, the US remains our biggest investor; but we have also increased investment from a range of key countries including Sweden and Japan, important for the rich research and development investment they bring; Australia, highlighting that the UK is an attractive base for expansion within Europe; high-growth markets such as India and China; and Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, demonstrating that the UK's economy represents an opportunity for our neighbours too."

Lord Digby Jones, Minister for Trade and Investment, said:- “As a passionate advocate of UK business success, I am delighted these figures reflect our continued ability to punch above our weight on the global stage. 

In a year of international financial uncertainty this impressive performance exemplifies that now, more than ever, the UK economy is synonymous with opportunity and global potential.”

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