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Integrated Transport System

For decades Leeds has been the poor relation in terms of public transport and has been in urgent need of a new integrated system that will encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport.

New Generation Transport (NGT) Trolley Bus

The previous Labour Government decided that Leeds could only have a bus based system. This has placed unfair and unhelpful restrictions upon the options open to Leeds for future development. Leeds City Council took the decision to push ahead with the NGT Trolleybus system. Whilst I was initially pleased that the Government had provided funding for a new transport system I do not, and did not, believe that this was the best system for Leeds.

The proposals put forwards by Leeds City Council do not provide the required level of improvement, service or modal shift that would produce a large enough benefit for the negative aspects of the scheme. In addition to this there is considerable public concern, and even anger, at the proposals.

Unfortunately, rather than reconsidering the scheme Leeds City Council pushed ahead with the proposals with Labour Councillors supporting the scheme. Following the Councils support for the scheme, the Secretary of State for Transport decided to call for a Public Inquiry due to the large scale of public opposition to it. I have made a submission to the Public Inquiry raising my concerns with the proposals put forwards by the Council. The result of the enquiry has been handed to the Transport Secretary.

The Department for Transport announced in May 2016, that they have accepted and agreed with the Inspector's recommendation that the Transport and Works Act ("TWA") Order required to enable the Leeds New Generation Transport Scheme to be constructed is not made.

Both the Inspector and Ministers have however decided that Leeds can retain the £173 million of funding currently earmarked for the scheme to be used on an alternative public transport system. The NGT scheme has been in development for ten years and has already cost £60m - but the government says there were 1,700 objections - that's the most received for a scheme of its sort for more than ten years.

As a city and wider region we must now work together to come up with the right 21st century transport system and include all options, in using tram and tram train and looking at existing rail lines. Part of this planning must include a fixed link to Leeds Bradford International Airport as part of a wider city region system.

It is time for Leeds to catch up with other UK & European cities on transport.