Leeds trolleybus scheme moves step closer as application for Transport and Works Act Order is submitted to Secretary of State


Caption: A computer-generated image of the NGT trolleybus in Leeds

Leeds’ New Generation Transport (NGT) Team has submitted an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO).

Plans for developing Leeds’ £250 million New Generation Transport trolleybus scheme reach a key stage with the submission today of the application for a Transport and Works Act Order.

The TWAO will give Metro and Leeds City Council the permissions and powers needed to build and operate the system, which will be the first of its kind in the UK. Having considered the application and any objections to the scheme, the Secretary of State will then decide whether to order a Public Inquiry, which is almost certain to happen in Spring 2014.

One of the UK’s largest single investments in transport infrastructure outside of London, the 14.8km network will offer significantly improved journey times and reliability for commuters, provide a £176m a year boost for the city’s economy and could create up to 4,000 new jobs.

The application for the TWAO is made to the Secretary of State for Transport, after which members of the public and organisations have a period of 42 days, from 19 September through to 31 October, to lodge objections or register their support for the scheme.

Metro and Leeds City Council will have the chance to review objections and, where possible, will seek to resolve the issues locally through mitigation, both before and during the public inquiry.

Metro Chairman Councillor James Lewis said:

“We know from extensive consultation and recent drop-in events held in Leeds city centre that the general public has responded positively towards NGT when they have heard the facts about reduced journey times, greater reliability and the economic benefits it will bring.

“I have taken the opportunity to meet groups and individuals concerned about the scheme and know there are still some who remain opposed to it and this 42-day period is the chance for them to lodge their objections and take part in the process. We have already made important changes to the scheme in response to consultation with the public, businesses and other organisations in the city and will continue the process of listening to people’s concerns.

“Experience from other highly successful transport schemes of this scale is that they inevitably attract significant numbers of objections. We will work hard to resolve issues wherever it is practicable to do so but we are convinced that the benefits NGT will bring to Leeds and West Yorkshire will outweigh objections to the scheme.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy said:

“NGT is essential for Leeds and the City Region’s future economic growth. The application for a TWAO is the next stage in delivering this important scheme.

“The case for NGT and the benefits it will bring have been extensively tested and interrogated by leading transport and engineering consultants, Department for Transport advisors and independent experts. I am therefore confident that the business case will more than stand up to inspection.

“NGT, which is forecast to carry 11 million passengers in its first year, will bring a step change in public transport in Leeds and act as a driver for future economic growth and regeneration.”

Jeff Pearey, head of the Leeds office of commercial property and investment agency Jones Lang Lasalle, said:

“The lack of an integrated transport system has held back Leeds from maximising its economic potential. NGT is the key to helping it unlock that potential for the future. It will deliver a range of benefits to the local economy, creating jobs and providing more people with easier access to the city centre.”

For commuters, NGT will mean weekly savings of over two hours for those travelling from the Bodington Park & Ride site to Leeds city centre and around 50 minutes per week for commuters using the Stourton Park & Ride.

Copies of the TWAO application will be placed in public libraries and other venues along the route and can also be viewed at www.ngtmetro.com/TWAO_Documents/. To give feedback on the scheme go to www.ngtmetro.com.