YEP Letters: February 11

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Building on legacy of the Grand Départ

Councillor Roger Harington, Chair of Leeds Cycling Board

As Leeds City Council’s Cycling Champion and the Chair of the ‘Cycling Starts Here’ Programme Board, I want to ensure we continue the progress we are making in the city to encourage cycling participation; where our diverse communities have access to a bicycle for day-to-day use and recreation.

As we know greater participation in cycling has enormous benefits not only in terms of health but also giving people the much needed confidence to be more independent and being a sustainable form of transport.

We have already seen significant developments in the city working with and supporting partners including national governing body British Cycling and Sport Leeds to build on the legacy of the Tour de France Grand Départ back in the summer of 2014.

This includes making an important impact in local areas as seen with the Fearnville Bike Hub at Leeds City Council’s Leisure Centre, where the first sponsored Yorkshire Bike Library Scheme in Leeds offer bike loans for all age groups supporting both children and families.

Great events like the Tour De Yorkshire also give the opportunity to showcase nationally, cycling in the region and promote the benefits to all groups particularly women and young people.

The recent announcement of a £4.5 million scheme proposed by the University of Leeds to create a new closed 1.6 kilometre road circuit cycle track on the Boddington playing fields site, could be an exciting additional cycling facility in the city.

However it is critical we hear the views of local people before any planning decision has been taken.

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No pot of money waiting for use

Ken Redshaw, Harrogate

with reference to Wilf Webster’s letter (‘Use HS2 cash to help stop floods heartbreak, YEP February 3), government funding does not work like that There is no pot of money waiting to be used. The funding for the HS2 project will be made available over the years. I would add that saving 10 minutes is not the issue, but capacity for the numbers likely to use our rail system over coming decades is the justification for the scheme and the reason why there is all party support.

Future generations will not thank us if we get it wrong. Any scheme, whether it be floods, hospitals, schools etc must be justified on its merits. It is not a matter of either or.

Cost of the trolleybus

Christopher Todd, Leeds 6

Bill McKinnon (YEP, February 8) points out how the various 1980 Bradford-inspired trolleybus schemes failed. As one contemporary expert wrote, “because of the large costs involved and the remaining uncertainties” (W. Kirkland, International Conference on the Bus ‘86, p.234).

The Leeds part of the 1985 scheme was to link Moortown and Roundhay in the north, the city centre and Middleton and Cottingley in the south, with 44 vehicles operating on a “39 km network carrying 14 million passengers every year, about five per cent of all bus passengers in West Yorkshire.” It was to cost £10,000 (the equivalent of about £30,000 today).

Yet, with NGT we are faced with the prospect of having one line for about 20 vehicles covering 14.8km, and costing at least £250,000 – that is over eight times more. And 30 per cent of the cost will have to be funded locally, not 10 per cent as originally promised.

This is largely because NGT pretends to provide a “highly segregated, rapid transit service” on the unsuitable A660.

Without full segregation you cannot talk of urban rapid transit. In 1977 it was shown to be impossible on Headingley Lane even for a tram, which needs less room that a trolleybus (WYTConsult, 1977, III, 56).

This is where the money goes. In Lyon the current attempt to improve segregation for the C3 trolleybus is costing 55 million euros (about £40,000).

To justify money already wasted, NGT adopted this already highly contentious route, planned for Supertram in different circumstances, with the Girls’ High School in Headingley Lane and student halls of residence at Tetley and Bodington, it is just one more example of how frequently Metro has allowed itself to be led astray.

Living with pollution

Jimmy Pitts, Killingbeck

A few years ago I had a letter published in the YEP when I saw Leeds City Council had approved plans to build two incinerators in east Leeds.

One has now been built and is working. I said it would pollute the area.

Now I see people living and working around it complain about bad odours, rats and dust and that is just the start.

I think in the near future a rail link will be built from nearby Neville Hill to bring in wagon loads of rotting waste to keep this monster going 24/7.

The council nor the owners could care less, they don’t live near it.

It’s the people of east Leeds who will have to live with the pollution for years to come.

Katya Jones with her celebrity partner Joe McFadden

YEP Letters: December 9