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Responding to the announcement today that Department
for Transport has once again delayed a decision on the proposed NGT
trolleybus scheme for Leeds, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said,
"I am astounded that after another 18 months' delay, the DfT is now
asking for even more time to assess the re-submitted scheme
In its statement issued today, the Department for Transport
(DfT) said it had not yet been provided with sufficient evidence
with which to assess the value for money of the scheme, although it
did recognise 'a strong strategic case has been made'. Leeds, the
DfT says, is being given until 31 March 2012 to update the business
case and a decision will be made within two months of that.
"As was widely reported in the local media back in September,
using the Department for Transport's own business modelling
procedure, our revised bid for NGT showed that for every £1
of Government money spent, the scheme would generate £5.90 in
benefits," said Cllr Lewis.
"Admittedly this was a significant improvement that may need
further scrutiny but it was an improvement on a benefit cost ratio
that already more than met the DfT's own criteria for the scheme to
be given the go-ahead.
"I am mystified as to why the DfT now wants to delay the project
another five months, particularly when every month lost means
inflation and other factors add £1m to the overall cost of
"This is exactly why we need the powers for local
decision-making which Nick Clegg spelled out at the IPPR conference
in Leeds less than a week ago," he continued. "We need to be in
control of transport and other job-creating projects that directly
affect the local economy, rather than subject to endless deferrals
and delays dictated by officials 200 miles away in London."
Cllr Lewis did go on to welcome the news that much-needed
repairs to the Leeds Inner Ring Road had been given the
"The 50 year-old Inner Ring Road is used by over 80,000 vehicles
a day and is essential for removing through traffic from the city
centre," he said. "This programme of essential maintenance and
strengthening works will extend its life and help prevent
disruption to traffic and the local economy."
Find out more about the NGT scheme.