Leeds City Region set for £200m of transport improvements, but campaign group warns of 'vicious cycle' of road traffic

Transport in West Yorkshire is set to undergo a £200 million revamp in the coming year, according to a regional body of councillors.

An artist's impression of how the East Leeds Orbital road will look.
An artist's impression of how the East Leeds Orbital road will look.

The schemes are overseen by WYCA’s investment committee, whose chair, Coun Peter Box has hailed as “exciting” and “advantageous”.

However, one campaign group has warned increasing road space is a “vicious cycle” which is likely to lead to more traffic.

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Thirteen major new road and infrastructure schemes are set to get underway before April 2020, all of which are funded by regional super-council, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

An artist's impression of how the East Leeds Orbital road will look.

Coun Box, who is also leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Each of our schemes is carefully identified and developed according to rigorous assessment processes and it is exciting to see that hard work turning into activity on the ground.

“These schemes are about helping local people access jobs and opportunities, enabling our businesses to prosper and expand and opening up land for much-needed new housing and development.

“They will ensure the region can take full advantage of planned major national transport investments when they arrive.”

Works include the brand new East Leeds Orbital Road, as well as widening of the A629 and A650 in Kirklees and Bradford respectively.

But Coun Box’s optimism was not shared by everyone.

Mark Parry, chair of the West Yorkshire Campaign for Better Transport, said WYCA should be focussing their efforts on more green solutions to transport, rather than increasing road space.

He said: “We find that whenever you put as new road in, it introduces more traffic and it becomes a vicious cycle.

“A new road will increase the level of traffic in the long term – it will not really help.

“We support work that is being done in Leeds, for example, to revamp bus routes and improve the flow of traffic in the city centre, but when you talk about spending money on widening roads we have serious concerns.

“We need to get more people onto public transport, walking and cycling.”