Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kite Country Project Takes to the Road

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kite Country Project Takes to the Road

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson

The prospect of establishing a Red Kite Country concept in the North-East came closer yesterday.

Over the last three years, 94 of the 5ft-wingspan birds of prey have been released in the Derwent Valley in Gateshead.

Last year two of the birds, Flag and Red Phillip, nested in the valley and produced the first red kite chick to fledge in the region for 200 years.

Yesterday, Go North East launched a Red Kite bus service which will run along the valley between Consett, Gateshead MetroCentre and Newcastle.

Youngsters from the valley's Hookergate Primary and Rowlands Gill Comprehensive schools filled the seats on the run.

The livery of the nine new buses which will work the route feature pictures of red kites on the sides of the vehicles. On the front and rear of the buses are large kite eyes, while inside the vehicles are friezes with information on the birds, the best viewing spots in the valley, and a panel on Flag and Red Phillip.

One of the aims of the Northern Kites project has been to boost visitor numbers to help the local economy, and the friezes will also carry tips on where people can eat and drink in pubs, cafes and restaurants in the valley.

Bus drivers on the route will be given kite awareness training so that they can pass on facts about the birds to passengers and advise them where to alight for the best spotting areas.

The bus venture unites the wildlife aims of the kites project with encouraging people to use public transport.

Go North East has spent pounds 7.5m on 41 new low-emission Scania Omnicity buses, which have easy access for buggies and wheelchairs, CCTV cameras and screens, and more comfortable seating. The 45, 46 and 46A Red Kite buses will run at a frequency of four an hour.

"When motorists are driving behind one of the buses or look at one in their rear view mirror they see these great big eyes peering at them. …

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