by Joel Beaumont
Officials in Westminster have made a U-turn on the Leeds trolleybus scheme giving the project the go-ahead.
The project has been up in the air several times before and was axed in the Coalition government’s October spending review. But now, Transport Secretary, Justine Greening has given approval for “programme entry status” for the £250 million scheme.
The New Generation Transport scheme will receive £173.5 million of funding from central government with the remaining amount coming from local authorities.
The newly revised trolleybus network would operate solely on overhead power cables with 40% of the route, from Holt Park to Stourton, running in specially designed lanes.
The 8.7 mile network would incorporate two new park and ride schemes giving Leeds the first modern trolleybus network in the U.K.
The approval of programme entry status allows West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to apply for the statutory consents necessary for the scheme to go ahead. If this part of the application process is given the green light work will begin in 2016 with the trolleybuses fully operational by 2018.
Speaking about what the trolleybus scheme would mean for Leeds Ms Greening said:
“They will make public transport in Leeds more accessible and attractive than ever before and I know trolleybuses will be transformational for growth and jobs in West Yorkshire.”
“Investment on this scale, in precisely this kind of infrastructure, is a recognition of how crucial Leeds and Yorkshire are to the long-term success of the British economy.”
As well as the trolleybus scheme two new railway stations are to be built. One at Kirkstall Forge and the other at Apperley Bridge along with a new southern pedestrian entrance to Leeds City Railway Station.
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