The Government has given its backing to a multi-million pound ‘trolleybus’ scheme in Leeds that will help take cars off the road and cut carbon emissions in the city.
Transport Minister Sadiq Khan announced today that the Next Generation Transport
(NGT) scheme has received ‘Programme Entry’ status from Government. This is the first stage in an approval process that could see the Department for Transport
(DfT) invest £235 million in the £254 million trolleybus
The NGT, the first modern trolleybus scheme in the country, will deliver a brand new electrically powered transport
service to commuters and residents living and working in and around the city of Leeds. It will fill the gap left by the collapse of the ill-fated Leeds Supertram project.
Overhead electric cables power trolleybuses in the same way as they do trams, but instead of running on tracks, trolleybuses run on roads used by other vehicles or on their own segregated routes. The system in Leeds will run for several miles on routes from the North and South into the city. The single deck articulated trolleybus vehicles will have their own dedicated lanes and have priority at junctions.
“An efficient and reliable transport system is critical to any local community,” said Khan. “This is why we’re investing significant amounts of money in infrastructure in towns and cities across the country.
“Today's announcement seeks to tackle congestion in the city at peak times, whilst presenting sustainable and practical alternatives to the car.”
There were concerns the scheme, which has already won the backing of regional transport chiefs, may not get Government funding because of the squeeze on public finances.
Rosie Winterton, Minister for Yorkshire
and The Humber, said: “I am delighted at the Government’s investment in these exciting plans for major transport improvements in Leeds. It’s just what the city needs as we emerge from the recession.”
Mike Bridge, assistant director at regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, also welcomed the Government’s decision. “
“The Leeds NGT will provide a high quality, highly segregated, rapid transit service with high capacity, greater reliability and faster journey times in and out of Leeds City Centre than existing bus Park and Ride services. "Step change" in public transport in Leeds
“It will provide a step change in the quality of public transport in Leeds and an attractive alternative to private car travel, which would also lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and improved local air quality.”
The next stages of the DfT approval process are ‘Conditional Approval’, once the necessary legal powers are in place and ‘Full Approval’, once final supplier prices have been secured.NGT expected to start construction in 2012
Should all the stages be met and planning approval reached, construction work on the NGT is expected to start in 2012. Related news:Green road transport newsGreen business news in the NorthRelated links:www.dft.gov.ukwww.ngtmetro.com/