Numbers on airport traffic don't add up

LET us first say that having a local airport is a major advantage for Leeds.

It gives us access to dozens of holiday destinations while at the same time providing an important hub for business travel both in and out of the city and wider region.

However, while the airport itself is undoubtedly an asset, the problems getting to and from it are anything but.

Residents in areas surrounding the site have seen traffic increase as the airport has grown. Now they fear congestion will be made worse by its owners' ambitious expansion plans.

With no motorway or major road link to the site, it is imperative that action is taken to reduce the number of cars going in and out. Which is why the Department for Transport has set a target of getting 40 per cent of passengers to travel to the airport by public transport.

Central to achieving - and hopefully surpassing - such targets is the gathering of accurate and reliable data.

Yet here Leeds City Council has let itself down, ludicrously counting travellers who have driven to the airport site in their own vehicles before hopping on a shuttle bus to make the short journey to the terminal building among those arriving by public transport.

Such an error will certainly not engender confidence among those relying on the authorities to find a long-term solution to the congestion problems around Leeds-Bradford Airport.

We can only hope future surveys are far more reliable in order to give us a realistic picture of what has already been achieved and what more needs to be done.

Ark loyal

FEBRUARY 12 will be a bittersweet day for Leeds.

The march through our streets by the crew of the HMS Ark Royal will fill us with pride at the part this city has played in the story of the Navy's most celebrated warship.

Yet at the same time there will be competing emotions of sadness and regret that this story is now coming to an end with the carrier's decommissioning.

Our links with the Ark Royal were forged during the Second World War when the city raised 9m to replace the third ship to bear the name.

We hope as many as possible will line the route next month to honour our treasured bond with this most famous of ships.

Mayor scare

THE resurrection of proposals to bring in elected mayors could see another layer of bureaucracy foisted upon us.

That would mean one more tier of local government - and the increased wage bill to go with it.

Leeds neither needs an elected mayor nor does it want one.

How many more times do we have to say it before someone in government listens?

EP 22/1/11

Sarah Champion MP

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