Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Secretary of State discusses the future of Leeds’ public transport

The Secretary of State for Transport has been given a guided tour of Leeds as part of the city’s efforts to secure funding for a new public transport network

Philip Hammond MP met with senior city officials and a cross party group of local politicians to discuss the future of public transport in Leeds and to be shown some of the proposed routes for the NGT (New Generation Transport) system.

Earlier today (Wednesday), Mr Hammond was shown the A65 bus priority scheme and then taken to the proposed A660 NGT route section. He was joined by representatives of the three main political parties in the city as well as officers from Leeds City Council and Metro before sitting down to discuss the issue.

NGT is a proposed new public transport initiative designed to provide frequent bus services into the city from park and ride sites on the outskirts of Leeds.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member responsible for public transport in Leeds, said:
“Together with Metro, the council is working hard to make the NGT system an attractive and viable public transport network. The NGT’s ability to tackle congestion and reduce the city’s carbon footprint will help speed Leeds’ recovery from recession and boost its economy. The ability to move quickly and easily across the city is essential and the NGT will enhance the region’s ability to compete on the national and international stage.”

Councillor Bill Hyde, deputising for the leader of the Conservative group, added:
“I am sure that Mr Hammond left Leeds under no illusion of how important NGT is to the city. We made very clear there would be many benefits for Leeds if the scheme goes ahead and I hope the meeting will have a positive influence on the final decision.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said:
“Our meeting with Philip Hammond was a valuable opportunity to press the urgency of delivering the NGT and to highlight some of the proposed routes and benefits to the city. He was faced with a determined group of people who are working hard to ensure the scheme is as viable as possible and we will build on his visit to ensure the best possible case for government funding is put forward.”

The NGT scheme is currently subject to the government's review process and, in line with Department for Transport guidance, Metro and Leeds City Council will submit a ‘Best and Final Funding Offer’ later this year setting out how cost savings could be made on the scheme.

Proposed links to the city centre include from north Leeds to Holt Park, through Headingley along the A660; from south Leeds through Hunslet; and from east Leeds to St James's Hospital. The proposals include exclusive lanes and roads and special equipment to give NGT vehicles priority at traffic lights and junctions; fully accessible vehicles that are comfortable and better for the environment; high quality stops with real-time information; and large park and ride sites.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk