Leeds to get green transport network by 2018

Written on:July 6, 2023
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Leeds' 30-year long wait for green transport scheme finally ends

The government has finally approved plans for the UK’s first modern trolleybus system – the £250 million New Generation Transport (NGT) network, ending Leeds’ 30-year long wait for green transport scheme.

The NGT network will link park-and-ride sites at the north and south edge of Leeds with the city centre. The Transport Secretary Justine Greening said she expected it to create 4,000 jobs and boost the local economy.

However it will be at least another six years before trolleybuses hit the streets of Leeds. A public inquiry will be held next year and if everything goes according to plan work will start in 2016, with the network becoming operational in 2018.

Trolleybuses disappeared from Britain’s streets as vehicles with diesel engines replaced them as a cheaper and more flexible alternative. But in the 1980s, faced with growing traffic levels, transport authorities in Leeds started to look to history for a green solution.

Metro, West Yorkshire’s public transport provider, originally developed plans to rebuild Leeds’s tram system, which closed in 1959. In 2005, when £40 million had already been spent on initial work for the Leeds ‘supertram’ network, the project was scrapped by the then Labour government.

By that stage an initial estimate of half a billion pounds had doubled. The idea was replaced in 2007 by a £300 million trolleybus scheme, which was later approved with a scaled down budget of £250 million.

However it was delayed when it became one of the first schemes to be reviewed as part of the incoming coalition government’s austerity programme. The bid has been bouncing between Leeds and Whitehall ever since.

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