Question time for Leeds trolleybus officials

Have your say

opponents of Leeds’s trolleybus plans were today set to continue grilling local transport and council officials at the public inquiry that will decide the £250m project’s fate.

Two experts are expected to face cross-examination in the latest session of the inquiry, which has been running since Tuesday at the Regus office building off Wellington Street in Leeds city centre.

One is Dave Haskins, director of the New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus project.

The other is Martin Farrington, director of city development at Leeds City Council, which is promoting NGT with West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro.

They are due to be cross-examined by objectors including bus firm First and the North West Leeds Transport Forum.

Headed up by Government-appointed inspector Martin Whitehead, the public inquiry will run for 30 days over the course of the next eight weeks or so.

If the controversial scheme comes through the inquiry process unscathed, then construction work is due to get under way in early 2017.

The system would run between Holt Park in the north of the city and Stourton in the south. Supporters of the project say it would reduce congestion and boost local economic output by more than £175m a year.

Critics argue it represents poor value for money and would damage the environment.

One of the officials in line to appear before the inquiry tomorrow is John Henkel, acting director general of Metro.

Also due for cross-examination is Jason Smith, from Mott MacDonald, an engineering and development consultancy that has been working with Metro on the NGT scheme.

The list of objectors scheduled to quiz Mr Smith includes Bill McKinnon, chairman of the Friends of Woodhouse Moor group.