Transport experts make the case for Light Rail in Leeds

LIGHT rail operators and manufacturers will make the case for a light rail system for Leeds during a summit in the city tomorrow.

Greg Mulholland MP

Leeds North West Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland has welcomed the event at Leeds Town Hall as he continues to call for a rapid transport system for the city.

Mr Mulholland, who is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group, said: "I am delighted that Light Rail (UK) have organised this important summit bringing light rail experts and manufacturers to Leeds to demonstrate that Leeds can and should be spending the £250m of public money available on finally getting started with the light rail scheme Leeds needs.

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"It will also be good to have operators and councillors from other core cities who can explain the benefits light rail has had to their cities and that Leeds should follow their example."

Last week Leeds City Council published its four-year transport strategy, the culmination of months of work after Leeds’s Next Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus scheme - allocated £173.5m Government funding to be spent by 2021 - was abandoned after being rejected by the Department for Transport in May.

The council revealed plans to build a new railway station serving Leeds Bradford Airport as part of a £270m investment in the city’s transport network.

The proposed upgrades also include new railway stations to be built at White Rose Shopping Centre and Thorpe Park.

Leeds City Council leader Coun Coun Judith Blake has said the council is continuing to consider options for a mass transit scheme for Leeds, but that it would not have been deliverable by 2021.

Mr Mulholland, said: “Leeds remains the largest city in Europe without either a light rail or underground scheme so the city council should be allocating the £250m allocated for NGT plus the money for the controversial airport road link to a transformative scheme, and should be asking the Government for some of the new transport infrastructure fund to add to this.”

Jim Harkins of Light Rail (UK), said: “I am looking forward to the sector coming together to show that Leeds can and should go ahead with a light rail scheme, and that it can be done for the £250m of public money on the table, plus the private investment that light rail would attract. This NGT money really is a golden opportunity for Leeds to finally get the infrastructure that it needs as one of the UK’s largest cities.”

The Light Rail for Leeds Summit will be held from 11am to 3pm tomorrow (Mon Dec 12) in the Sullivan Room at Leeds Town Hall.