YEP Letters: July 3

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Trolleybus will increase congestion

Doug Kemp and Martyn Thomas, co-chairs, North West Leeds Transport Forum

Regarding the NGT trolley bus plans for the A660 (Otley Road) route.

On the day that the Mayor of London introduces into commercial service a fully battery powered electric double-decker bus, Leeds residents are still threatened by a massively expensive 
system based on outdated technology which will increase congestion, emissions and accidents, will result in increased journey times for many bus users as well as increased waiting times and a reduced chance of getting a seat.

Metro have claimed, as has been reported in the YEP, that “no realistic, robust or affordable alternative has been proposed” to the immensely disruptive and costly NGT trolley bus plans which they have put forward.

This statement reflects only their own submissions – they have not put forward nor evaluated any proper alternatives as their evidence and our cross-examination of it at the public inquiry have clearly shown.

But we – the North West Leeds Transport Forum – have put forward alternatives which are realistic, robust and very affordable and which will enhance public transport in this sector of the city – and beyond.

Detailed proposals, which prioritise buses and pedestrians over general 
traffic, have been discussed at a series of public meetings and have received a high level of support.

State-of-the-art hybrid buses and battery driven electric buses, combined with improved ticketing to achieve faster boarding times and relatively modest bus priority measures, will offer journey time savings comparable to those claimed by Metro for the trolleybus, together with higher frequencies and reduced emissions.

This can be achieved for a fraction of the £250m up-front cost quoted for NGT and without the risk of ongoing costs having to be met by Leeds Council tax payers.

Pavement parking debate

Ivan Kovacks, by email

I have been following the debate on parking on pavements with interest. In one corner we have Billie Jo Priestly, who says no because of the effect it has on the elderly, disabled etc and in the other corner Stephen Adams feels “responsible” parking on pavements is okay because in narrow streets it would enable the emergency services to get past parked cars.

Having seen where both are coming from I can sympathise with both, I have friends who use wheelchairs and say that to use them safely they need at least a metre of pavement to go along.

Like Mr Adams I live on an estate with narrow streets where, if two cars are parked fully on the road opposite each other they will block the street.

So having reached an impasse the logical thing is to look to the law and here there are ambiguities.

There are two relevant pieces of legislation and they are:

145 You must notdrive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency. (Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & RTA 1988 sect 34)

244 You must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.( Law GL(GP)A sect 15)

So clearly it is an offence to drive on a pavement, so in order to park on the pavement you commit an offence to drive on it to park, then the same one again to drive off.

Then you also commit an offence if you park on and obstruct the pavement.

So if in doubt don’t park on the pavement and you will do all the people with difficulties a power of good.

Also note that if you park according to the law you may well have to park well away from your house.

Perhaps these are some of the laws that the police force also fail to enforce, just imagine how the crime statistics would flourish and court coffer fill if they did.

Wind turbine planning rules

Michael B Heath, by email

Wind turbines in scenically sensitive locations, such as sites where local residents object to the view from their homes of rotating turbines, will have to have attached sight blocking screening around the turbines.

Spherical, slatted structures of light weight, strong, durable materials , maybe plastics, encompassing the turbines, obstructing the view from ground level yet only minimally impeding the flow of air to the turbine will have to be designed and installed.

There has been no attempt that I know of so far to lessen the visual impact of land based wind turbines but I believe it to be technically possible to place them in horizontally slatted spheres with to a minimal degree lessening their efficiency but to a large degree improving their aesthetic .

First past the post is outdated

Alan Freeman, Bramley

M Nicholson informs us that the SNP surge has been inaccurately portrayed, 
as only half of Scots voted 
for them (Your Feedback, 1 July).

Simultaneously he conveniently ignores the fact that, UK-wide, 63 per cent of those who voted did not place their cross alongside a Conservative candidate’s name.

I would therefore like Malcolm to explain in some detail how this constitutes the best voting system to 
provide something approaching democracy, currently in short supply, for this country.

M Nicholson further informs us that from 2010 to 2015 the coalition had difficulty in ‘getting the job done’.

In fact I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Lib Dems unexpectedly managed to curb some Tory excesses, those which now could potentially run out of control for almost two thirds of voters.

The ‘first-past-the-post’ system is outdated, from another era, and has no place in 21st century politics as evidenced by around 94 countries in the 
world including 28 or so in Europe.

Answers please Malcolm.

YEP Letters: June 26