A Leeds MP has joined the ranks of protesters aiming to put the brakes on the city’s trolleybus scheme.
Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) has written to the public inquiry that will decide the fate of the £250m project, setting out his view that trolleybus is “not right” for the city.
He says a light rail system – such as the Supertram scheme scrapped by Labour ministers in 2005 – would do more to ease congestion on key routes like his constituency’s A660 corridor.
The inquiry into the New Generation Transport (NGT) project opened yesterday morning at the Regus office building off Wellington Street in the middle of Leeds. Speaking before its first session, Mr Mulholland said: “Trolleybus is not right for Leeds and I have always maintained that a light rail system would be better placed at solving the transport problems in Leeds. The city deserves – and needs – light rail to compete with Manchester, Sheffield and our other European counterparts.” Mr Mulholland said he had urged inquiry inspector Martin Whitehead to consider alternative transport solutions, instead of simply delivering a straight yes or no on NGT.
The first day of the public inquiry heard an opening submission from the trolleybus scheme’s co-promoters, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro.
The inquiry is due to run for 30 days over the course of the next eight weeks.
Objectors scheduled to give evidence include community groups such as the Friends of Woodhouse Moor and associations representing residents in West Park, Weetwood and other areas.
Critics of trolleybus say it represents poor value for money and would damage the environment.
BID TO BEAT CONGESTION
THE LEEDS trolleybus system would run between Holt Park in the north of the city and Stourton in the south.
Supporters of the scheme say it would reduce congestion and boost local economic output by more than £175m a year.
If the controversial plans come through the public inquiry process unscathed, then construction work is due to get under way in early 2017.
l Plans for a tram system linking Seacroft and Cross Gates with the city centre were floated as long ago as 1988 but were scuppered by political in-fighting.