Protesters condemn Leeds trolleybus ‘cover-up’

A computer-generated image of a trolleybus on Otley Road.
A computer-generated image of a trolleybus on Otley Road.
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Anti-trolleybus campaigners have taken their fight against the scheme to the doorstep of local transport bosses.

Around 20 placard-carrying protesters held a demonstration outside the head office of Metro on Wellington Street in Leeds today.

They are calling for Metro – now part of the newly-formed West Yorkshire Combined Authority – to release the results of a public consultation exercise on trolleybus carried out in 2012 and 2013.

The demo was staged by the A660 Joint Council, an umbrella organisation comprising a number of community groups opposed to the £250m New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme.

One of the protesters, Friends of Woodhouse Moor chairman Bill McKinnon, said he had submitted an unsuccessful request under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act for the consultation results.

Calling for an end to what he described as a “cover-up”, Mr McKinnon said: “These findings should be released – what have they got to hide?”

Coun James Lewis, chairman of the transport committee on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “In responding to this case, the NGT team would have needed to spend over 50 hours of staff time redacting information that could have identified respondents from over 650 written submissions, which is far greater than the 18 hours identified as reasonable by FoI legislation and guidance.” Residents with homes along the A660 Otley Road fear NGT will have a negative impact on the environment and their lives.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has brought together local councils to oversee £1.4bn of funds for spending on major infrastructure projects.