YEP Letters: December 10

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Trolleybus plans are a huge mistake

S Sleeman, Headingley

It is very encouraging to read, in ‘Your Feedback’ December 7, that Cllr Keith Wakefield, chair, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, agrees with Grant Woodward entirely (in his article on December 3 on travelling to work in Leeds).

I take it this means that, at last, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee have realised what a huge mistake the proposals for a trolleybus system has been and that, as Mr Woodward points out, “trolleybus convinces no one that it will make a significant dent in congestion.” (It was demonstrated at the public inquiry last year that it would not reduce congestion at all) and that “the bus is no good because for the most part it travels in the same lanes as car traffic”, which is, of course, what would slow it down.

Can we expect that the council will take notice of the WYCA, which now agrees that the trolleybus is no good, and ditch the thing before it costs Leeds Council taxpayers even more money?

Mr Woodward and other commuters like him need a fast, efficient public transport system to be planned for the benefit of all of Leeds: A tram, perhaps, where roads are wide enough to keep it separate from other traffic or maybe an underground.

We are told that would be too costly but look at some of the other European cities with underground systems: Lille, population 210,000; Lyon, population 491,000; Toulouse, population 447,340; Alicante, population 340,678; Bilbao, population 346,574; Copenhagen, population 562,379; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, population 280,000; Liverpool, population 469,690 and Glasgow, population 592,820.

The population of Leeds is 751,500.

And then there is London, which has 11 underground lines plus Crossrail, which is soon to open and another Crossrail being planned.


New transport strategy needed

D Angood, by e-mail

So according to Cllr Wakefield there is no quick fix for the region’s transport. That has been apparent over a number of years since the need arose.

Has it really taken that long to reach such a decision? I don’t want to sound cynical about the transport situation but there has not been any really significant progress apart from some bus lanes and some consultations about a folly and an airport link.

He agrees with the comments of Mr Woodward about the disparity of funding for transport from successive governments but he was leader of Leeds City Council for some of that period, the question being where was his voice? Was he not strong enough in his deliberations or did he succumb to party politics?

His remarks about devolution do cause me some apprehension as it appears he wants a political appointment for the position of mayor, although he does not mention the devolution deal will be determined by an elected mayor. Will that deal be best served by a politically motivated person aligned to a particular party or by an independent, competent Yorkshire person? A Yorkshire person who believes in Yorkshire and what is needed to create what is now becoming the much maligned idea of a Northern Powerhouse.

The area certainly needs a new transport strategy but how long will it take the decision makers to prioritise the plans and rule out the unnecessary and unbeneficial?

The electorate are relying on an outsider to make a decision on the trolley bus which should have been a decision made by the electorate before spending all those millions.

The airport link, either rail or road, is another decision that should be taken by the electorate of the area served or would be served by such a link.

The HS2 is a couple of decades away and other needs are more important although I agree those should incorporate the necessary infrastructure to accommodate it.

He talks of progress and investment to improve the transport needs and one such scheme has really “enhanced” the network.

The super cycle highway has resulted in severe disruption along the route in west Leeds during its protracted completion and when finished will have succeeded in narrowing a major arterial road which can only mean a constriction of the traffic flow.

That will be one way to entice, or is it force, the travelling public onto the trains but services will have to be much improved and made more accessible. The amount of criticism expressed about it is beyond belief, so succinctly detailed in Mr Brooks’ letter.

Pride in link with Tunisia

Michael McGowan, Former MEP for Leeds, Chapel Allerton.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 to be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo in Norway on Thursday 10 December to the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia is in recognition of the success of the country’s transition to democracy and is of special interest to trade unionists in Yorkshire.

The Trades Union Congress in Yorkshire and the Humber has for several years forged links between our region and trade unions in Tunisia and provided practical support including training programmes.

The trade unions in Tunisia have played a key role in working together with employers, lawyers and human rights groups in helping to build democracy in Tunisia following the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.

As a member of the European Parliament’s delegation to Tunisia I became aware of the influential role of their trade unions and an expectation in the region that Tunisia was more likely to have a successful transition to democracy than other countries of the Arab Spring - Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria - which have either reverted to authoritarian rule or descended into violence and chaos.

I am sure we can be proud of the link forged with Tunisia by the Yorkshire TUC and its Secretary Bill Adams and wish to congratulate the people of Tunisia for their courage and success now recognised by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.