Campaigners against the proposed Leeds NGT Trolleybus scheme say dozens of mature trees would be destroyed and precious green space lost, to make way for a 14.8 km electrified bus route.
A series of rush hour placard protests took place yesterday (Sept 24) during the busiest commuting times, at areas set to be affected across Leeds.
The £250m project, set to start construction in 2016, aims to create an electrified New Generation Transport bus route running roughly north-south through the city centre. It would carry 11 million passengers a year on buses powered by overhead cables.
Campaigner Paul Foren said: “It will see the destruction of very old and beautiful mature trees and will take out the last two green spaces in central Headingley. Two fields will be effectively destroyed by the trolleybus.”
Spokesman Bill McKinnon said: “The loss of beautiful, mature trees is a real issue of concern. We have pin-pointed the amount of tree loss on our stopthetrolleybus.com website and it is horrendous, especially in green areas of our city.”
Groups of placard-waving protesters stood outside Leeds College of Art in Woodhouse, at Woodhouse Moor, Headingley Lane, Hyde Park corner, central Headingley, St Chad’s Church, West Park and Bodington.
Mr McKinnon said results of a consultation exercise carried out last autumn by the Government had still not been published.
“Where are the results? It seems to me that there is no plus point in the scheme.
“People aren’t going to dump their cars to park and ride, and pay for it,” he said.
The NGT scheme is designed to cut congestion by creating park and ride centres north and south of the city and connecting places like Leeds Arena, Clarence Dock, the universities and shops. According to the council it could create up to 4,000 new jobs, with the scheme up and running by 2018.