Cyclists aim to slam brakes on Leeds trolleybus plan

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CYCLING campaigners in Leeds have set out the reasons for their opposition to the city’s controversial trolleybus plans.

Lizzie Reather, chair of the Leeds Cycling Campaign, appeared on Tuesday at the public inquiry that will decide the fate of the New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme.

And she did not pull any punches in her criticism of the £250m project, which is being spearheaded by Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The campaign’s submission to the inquiry says: “In outline, our objection is that the NGT scheme does little to improve the situation for cycling and walking, particularly as the scheme would travel along the most-cycled route in Leeds.”

The submission claims that, although NGT would be “overall slightly beneficial for cycling”, it misses a “huge opportunity to support the step-change in cycling that has been promised by Leeds and West Yorkshire authorities”.

However, it does also acknowledge “the positive discussions we have had with designers and their attempts to implement better provision for cycling within the limits imposed on them”.

The campaign’s submission to the public inquiry can be found in full at the website.

Other objectors to NGT due to give evidence at the inquiry this week include Dave Alexander, a top boss from transport giant First.

First, which is Leeds’s biggest bus operator, claims a fleet of vehicles based on London’s New Routemaster double-deckers would deliver greater benefits than trolleybus at a fraction of the cost.

Chaired by Government-appointed inspector Martin Whitehead and taking place in the middle of Leeds, the NGT inquiry began in April and is scheduled to run until the end of next month.

Ministers will decide whether to give the scheme the green light after receiving a report on the inquiry’s findings. Supporters of NGT say it will hand the Leeds economy a massive boost while critics argue that it represents poor value for money.

If it gets the go-ahead, it would link Holt Park in the north of Leeds with Stourton in the south, passing through traffic-choked areas such as Headingley and Hyde Park.

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