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Leeds Bradford Airport Rail Link

March 2015, Baroness Kramer visits Leeds-Bradford Airport

I have highlighted the need for a new airport rail link since the expansion of Leeds-Bradford in 2008. The transport network to the airport has been placed under increasing strain, and we need a new connection between the city centre and Leeds-Bradford.

The department for Transport proposes the construction of a new road to the airport. This is likely to be more expensive than a rail link, and will only prove to be a burden on areas that already experience traffic congestion at busy times. Horsforth and Yeadon are likely to be affected badly. A rail link would have a much more positive effect, reducing traffic congestion in the area and having much less impact on the environment.

With the support of local business and residents, I took the campaign for improved rail links to Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in 2014. I have the backing of Chancellor George Osborne, as well as Transport Minister Baroness Kramer, and want Leeds to have a modern transport system that will allow people to travel all across the city. The fact is, you can reach Manchester Airport more easily from the centre of Leeds than you can reach Leeds-Bradford Airport.

As well as this, most big airports already have a rail link, many of which carry a substantial number of passengers every year. It is vital that our airport can compete with others in the North, and a rail link is a clear step in this direction.

At the moment, over 90% of visitors to Leeds-Bradford use private vehicles. An effective rail link could reduce that number substantially, meaning less traffic, and less pressure on busy roads. It would also mean that those without private transport would be able to reach the airport much more easily.

Providing a better transport service to the airport would also be a great boost to Yorkshire, given that Leeds-Bradford plays a big role in the local economy. It would also involve transferring more power to our local government and is widely supported across Yorkshire.

I have raised the issue of funding for a rail-link system in Parliament, where Danny Alexander told the House there was a strong case for investment. The line would be a 1.1 mile long track joined to the Harrogate-Leeds -York line, which would be much cheaper, and more effective, than the road links that are currently being proposed by the Department for Transport.

With 5.1 million passengers expected through Leeds-Bradford Airport in 2016, I want investment that will bring benefits across Leeds. With the Leeds city region economy worth £50 million each year, and the success of the Yorkshire Grand Depart, we can expect a boost to both tourism and local business through better global connectivity.