Leeds mass transit plans should be relaunched, says group leader

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The leader of an opposition political group in Leeds will next week call for fresh plans for a new mass transit system in the city.

Leeds is one of the largest cities in Europe with no rail-based mass transit system, but leader of Leeds City Council’s Conservatives group Coun Andrew Carter believes a recent funding announcement from government could be just the ticket to help the city bring forward new proposals.

A trolleybus system for Leeds had been rubber stamped by the government back in 2012, before the plug was pulled on the project four years later, when a planning inspector claimed the work to build it would cause too much disruption.

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But a motion, known as a white paper, set to be presented by Coun Carter next week, claims the authority might have another chance to build a mass transit system but itneeds to move fast.

Coun Carter will call for mass transit plans to be rebooted.Coun Carter will call for mass transit plans to be rebooted.
Coun Carter will call for mass transit plans to be rebooted.

Councillors will vote on whether to adopt the motion, which reads: “This council is concerned by recent and repeated examples of gridlock and heavy congestion in the City Centre, leading to significant disruption to commuters as they travel in and out of Leeds.

“Council notes the investment being made through Connecting Leeds, including the £173.5m granted by Government, but believes that to get the city moving and to encourage greater growth and productivity a new approach to public transport, not wholly reliant on the bus, is required.

“This council therefore welcomes the government commitment to spend £4.2bn on public transport projects outside of London and notes that some of this funding is planned for the Leeds district.

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“Council believes this offers a new opportunity to deliver a mass transit scheme for the city which will deliver obvious economic benefits as well as significantly reducing the city’s carbon emissions in line with the declared climate emergency.”

The document concludes: “In light of this announcement made during the election campaign, this council calls for a report to be brought to the March executive board meeting setting out detailed plans as to how a new mass transit scheme can be delivered to all communities in the city and to include analysis of the potential benefits such a scheme would deliver in terms of reducing the carbon footprint in Leeds.”

The document adds that early mass transit infrastructure proposals for West Yorkshire appear to leave out areas to the north of the city.

It states: “Council further believes that all areas of the city should be considered for mass transit infrastructure and is concerned that existing WYCA proposals seem to omit North Leeds, and the potential links to Harrogate, York and Wetherby, from any new transport infrastructure plans.”

The motion will go before a full Leeds City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 15.