In support of North and West Cumbria getting North West news rather than from the North East are some interesting travel times and distances from Carlisle and from Whitehaven to major destinations in the North East and North West (outside Cumbria).
Firstly, we look at travel from Carlisle to certain major destinations:
Newcastle upon Tyne: 58 miles, taking one hour and eleven minutes to travel there along the A69.
Preston: 88 miles taking one hour and thirty three minutes to travel there down the M6.
Sunderland: 73 miles and taking one hour and thirty three minutes to travel there along the A69.
Blackpool: Distance of 100 miles and taking one hour and forty one minutes to get there via the M6 and M55.
Middlesbrough: Distance of 94 miles with a driving time of one hour and fifty minutes.
Manchester: Distance of 118 miles with driving time of two hours and six minutes.
Berwick-upon-Tweed: Distance of 86 miles involving a two hours and six minutes’ drive through the Scottish Borders.
Chester: A 144 mile drive down the M6 taking two hours and twenty three minutes.
From Carlisle the distances to the principal North East cities is some 25 to 30 miles less than to the main North West cities, but the travelling times are little different. All destinations are over one hour and ten minutes drive away from Carlisle.
Secondly ,we shall look at travel times and distances from Whitehaven, in west Cumbria:
Newcastle upon Tyne: Distance of 99 miles with a travel time of two hours and three minutes.
Preston: Driving distance of 99 miles with driving time via the Lakes and M6 of two hours and ten minutes.
Sunderland: Distance of 113 miles and a driving time of two hours and 22 minutes.
Blackpool: Distance of 110 miles and a drive through the Lakes and down the M6 of two hours and twenty one minutes.
Middlesbrough: Distance of 116 miles with a driving time of two hours and twenty four minutes.
Manchester: Distance of 130 miles and a two hours 45 minutes’ drive through the Lakes, and down the M6 and M61.
Berwick-upon-Tweed: Distance of 123 miles involving a drive of two hours and fifty one minutes by way of Carlisle and the Scottish Borders.
Chester: Distance of 155 miles involving a two hours and 58 minutes’ drive via the Lakes then down the M6.
None of these major centres are within two hours’ drive nor within 99 miles of Whitehaven, both North West (outside Cumbria) and North East cities are equally remote- and to the local populations of west Cumbria largely irrelevant to their day to day lives.
There is clearly no justification for West Cumbria to have their so-called local news coming from (and 85 to 90% being about) the North East of England. Even in the north of Cumbria, the distances and travelling times shown rather diminish the case for this part of Cumbria getting their regional programming from Newcastle.
However, the big distances to major centres in Lancashire and Cheshire demonstrate that it would be completely unacceptable for any of these parts of Cumbria to receive BBC Regional Television from the North West in its current manifestation with 90% of the news on North West Tonight being about Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire. There needs to be an entirely new BBC Region dedicated solely to the inhabitants of Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, with an emphasis on better coverage in the new programmes for the rural northern areas. Only that will suffice.