At today’s meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield welcomed the progress that is being made through measures to improve local air quality.
In addition to approving almost £4m of investment in transport schemes across West Yorkshire, today’s meeting heard confirmation that the Combined Authority’s successful bid to the Government Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Ultra Low Emission Taxi Scheme will result in 88 new electric vehicle charge points across West Yorkshire for dedicated use by taxis and private hire vehicles.
An allocation of £1.2m of Local Transport Plan Integrated Transport funding is being used to match the £1.98m secured through the OLEV bid.
Cllr Wakefield said:
“Around 500 diesel taxis and private hire vehicles are expected to be hybrid or pure electric versions by 2020, and installing these charging points will support that conversion, which could improve Nitrogen Dioxide emissions by as much as 18%.
“Alongside this, the charging points we have installed for motorists at Elland Road and Temple Green Park and Ride are being well used, as are the park and ride facilities themselves.
“Elland Road has taken around 1/3 million journeys off of Leeds city centre streets since it opened in 2014 and the 1,000-space Temple Green has been between ¼ and 1/3 in the first three weeks since opening.
“Through the Bus 18 initiative we are already working with bus operators to reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions on local roads through the ECOstars scheme, which provides recognition, guidance and advice on operational best practice. And, Tuesday sees the second Low Emission Bus Workshop that we have organised at Leeds University Business School with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership to help smaller bus operators find out about the latest technologies and fuels available to them.”
Today’s Transport Committee also approved £3.98m of investment to upgrade Bus Station CCTV coverage to digital, deliver a new transport hub in Morley, develop a new Leeds City Region rail policy and strategy and West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan, improvements at Bradford Interchange and Huddersfield Bus Station, extend West Yorkshire’s cycling network and progress the Bus Hotspots programme.
Cllr Wakefield said:
“Encouraging more people to use bus services by improving their punctuality and reliability is one of the key aims of the Bus 18 initiative and developing easing known congestion hotspots is an important way of achieving this.
“We have identified 28 locations across Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield where £1.037m of relatively small changes such as moving stops, widening the carriageway, adjusting kerb lines, bus lane enforcement and bus priority can make a tangible difference.
“Twelve of these congestion-busting schemes will be delivered by March 2018, with the remaining 16 delivered by March 2019.”