Objectors make voices heard on Leeds trolleybus plan

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NEARLY 1,000 formal objections to the Leeds trolleybus scheme have been lodged with the Department for Transport.

A 42-day window for members of the public to make representations to the DfT about the £250m project expired at the end of last month.

Today it was confirmed that 920 objections had been formally registered by November 1.

Officials at the DfT have also estimated that there are another 800 to 1,000 representations still to be processed. It is not yet clear what proportion of the outstanding submissions are objections to the New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme, which is being promoted by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro.

Today NGT project director Dave Haskins said the number of objections was “about what we expected”.

He went on: “[They are] in line with other transport schemes such as the hugely-successful Cambridge guided busway, which received over 2,700 objections and within a year of construction had achieved 43 per cent above its forecast passengers.”

The 42-day comments window was opened after Leeds applied for the Transport Works Act Order (TWAO) that would give it permission to build the trolleybus system.

Feedback received will be taken into account as the Government considers whether a public inquiry is needed before a final decision can be made on the award of the TWAO.

As reported in Saturday’s Yorkshire Evening Post, the Federation of Small Businesses in West Yorkshire is calling for Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to press ahead with an inquiry.

The scheme’s promoters themselves acknowledge that an inquiry is “almost certain to happen”.

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