Leeds slammed for giving up on light rail


The heated debate over light rail in Leeds has been reignited after local politicians criticised the city council for giving up and allocating £270m to other transport projects.

Years of wrangling over a potential mass transit system for the city have not prevented local leaders from calling for the issue to be revisted, even though the latest potential project, the trolley bus or Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT), was rejected by government earlier this year.

Leeds station could become as busy as Gatwick Airport

The Government's rejection left Leeds with around £173m allocated central government cash to spend. The council’s recently announced plans include spending up to £270m on other projects, including a new rail station for Leeds Bradford airport and investing £180m on bus services. 

Alec Shelbrooke, MP for Elmet & Rothwell, said: 'Councillors running the City (therefore) had an opportunity to use this money as a mechanism to attract further investment and finally get an integrated transport system for Leeds’ city centre and the outlying areas.

'Light rail or tram/train would provide a solution to the city’s transport congestion, whilst bringing Leeds up to speed with all other major cities in Europe. Instead, a lack of vision from councillors has resulted in a half-baked plan that fails to exploit the £173m government investment in Leeds”.

Ryan Stephenson, Cllr for Harewood ward, added:'Anything less than a rapid transit system is a missed opportunity by Leeds City Council and it should commission a feasibility study with immediate effect.'

Experts at a recent light rail summit put forward various different options, which they said were more affordable thanks to advances in technology. One expert at the event put forward several options for a 15-30km starter line in the city costing £250m-£300m.

Launching its transport strategy last week, Leeds City Council said it would continue to consider options for a mass transit scheme, but this would ‘require significant additional investment and would not be deliverable by 2021’.

Preston-based TramPower, which has been given planning permission to construct a trial tramline in the town, said technological advances meant that a tram system could be delivered at a much lower cost than the Leeds Supertram scheme cancelled in 2005.

Roger Harrison, former chairman of the Nottingham Tramlink consortium, said that traffic congestion in Leeds is predicted to more than double in the next 30 years and passenger numbers at the railway station could reach similar levels to Gatwick Airport, with a level of footfall far greater than can be served by a bus and taxi-only network.

He said an integrated light rail solution would be a far better investment than more buses.

Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Assistant Director - Growth and Development

Lincoln City Council
£59,058.00 - £65,127.00
Looking for an experienced manager with a good track record in proactively driving economic growth and investment. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincoln City Council

Assistant Director – Transport and Connectivity

Birmingham City Council
£73,513 - £90,864
This is one of a number of influential new senior roles for collaborative people, motivated by doing what’s right for our city and residents. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Director (Environment and Planning)

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
£77,265 p.a.
You will have a great opportunity to drive forward an ambitious strategic growth agenda... Hinckley, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Service Director – Environment

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
Looking to recruit to a key post within our Economy and Infrastructure Directorate.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transport & Development Officer (Career Grade)

London Borough of Bexley
£29,130 - £40,173
This is a Career Grade post and an excellent opportunity. Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
If you are an experienced Transport Planner then we need you to step aboard.  Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
Exciting time to join the Council and this role represents an opportunity to make a real difference... Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Waste and Fleet Operations Manager

Ipswich Borough Council
£52,020 - £56,100 (pay award pending)
Looking for someone to lead and manage a large and vital operational area... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Ipswich Borough Council

Business Manager - Planning Development

Newark & Sherwood District Council
£52,004 to £55,188 per annum
Looking for a suitably qualified and experienced individual to lead, manage, and develop the Council’s Development Management team. Newark, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Newark & Sherwood District Council

Spatial Data Developer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£36275 - £40831 per annum + exclusive benefits
As a senior GIS developer you will work within our Data Insight team to apply your experience in open source geospatial data management technologies. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Innovation Integration Lead

West Midlands Combined Authority
£48758 - £54881 per annum + exclusive benefits
This is an exciting new post that will support the Head of Transport Innovation in the Policy, Strategy and Innovation Directorate of TfWM. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Transport Systems Engineer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£26238 - £30698 per annum + exclusive benefits
This is an exciting new post in the Transport Innovation team of TfWM’s Policy, Strategy and Innovation Directorate. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Senior Future Mobility Developer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£36275 - £40831 per annum + exclusive benefits
You will play a significant formative role in shaping and delivering a major new programme of Future Mobility Zones. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Assistant Spatial Data Analyst

West Midlands Combined Authority
£19698 - £22431 per annum + exclusive benefits
As a GIS Analyst you will work within TfWM’s extremely strong Data Insight team. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Senior Development Engineer

Bristol City Council
£27,358 - £33,136
Bristol is an exciting, and culturally thriving Regional Capital City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Senior Engineer

Hounslow London Borough Council
Scale PO5 £41,847 - £44,691
We are looking for an experienced Traffic & Parking Engineer, able to work quickly and efficiently across Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Principal Planner orPlanning Officer

Torridge District Council
Principal Planner up to £34,788 per annum / Planning Officer up to £31,371 per annum
Each role will provide rewarding opportunities to build experience and further your career. Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Major Transport & Development Projects - Strategic Specialist

Wiltshire Council
£51,763 - £57,066
Wiltshire has a highly regarded record of securing funding and delivering major transport improvements across all modes of travel. Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Road Safety Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£35991 - £38994 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team. England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Sustainability Team Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£41847 - £44691 per annum
Sustainability Team Leader Full Time (permanent contract)Grade
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich