WHY I OPPOSE THE PROPOSED TROLLEYBUS SCHEME FOR LEEDS
ASDFGHJKQWEBVVVVVVVVVVVVVGTYHYTREDIOJHGFDSACVBNMKJHGFDDFGTYHChristopher Todd – August 2013
I wish to express my opposition to the trolleybus scheme in Leeds under three headings: i) this is the wrong route for a rapid transit system; ii) a trolleybus is the wrong choice; iii) the inadequacies of the consultation exercise.
i) This is the wrong route for a rapid transit system.
a) historic reasons for the choice of route:
Obviously, I myself can only speak for that part lying north of the city centre. The proposed route along the A660 corridor has been chosen very largely for historic reasons, a number of which no longer apply. It was initially adopted for the Supertram, and when this was planned there were large halls of residence for students at Bodington and Tetley, as well as the Girls’ High School on Headingley Lane. The closure of the halls and the move of the school to Alwoodley have had a significant effect on traffic in our area, and yet no one has been able to satisfy me that a thorough and comprehensive traffic survey has been carried out here since December 2008, and certainly not since the closure of Bodington Hall in 2012.1 A report of 2005 – that is before Tetley Hall closed in 2006 and the Girls’ High School moved in 2008 – put the A660 corridor on a par with the A65, Bradford-Leeds corridor (through Guiseley, Yeadon and Rawdon, etc.).2 Though there is still a traffic problem here, you only have to have lived in Headingley for some time, to see that it is far from being as bad as it as was. It needs to be proved more clearly that this is still the most polluted and congested route in Leeds.3 Complaints about congestion and pollution in Headingley were common in the press up to 2002.4 In January 2012, like many places in Britain the area suffered from pollution because of cold, still weather.5 This was, however, an exceptional event, and in recent years most published complaints have been about congestion on the A65.6 The solution adopted there has not been to plan for a trolleybus, but to improve traffic management and bus lanes on the Kirkstall Road.7 It is perhaps too early to say how successful this has been, but it is certainly cheaper.
Metro has consistently refused even to consider alternative routes for a rapid transit system, such as the eminently suitable A64/A63 route, linking up to a train/car hub at Thorpe Park.8 The roads are already wide enough, the environmental damage having been already done in the early 1970s. The whole subject needs to be considered more comprehensively on a regional basis.
b) competition with ordinary bus services:
For family as well as professional reasons, I have from time to time used rapid tram systems in Europe, notably those in Montpellier and Strasbourg. In neither of these towns do you find other traffic using the same streets in the city centre. It is only found on the wider boulevards further out, where proper segregation is possible, with a raised pavement, and sometimes even grass, lining the dedicated tram lanes. There is some congestion on side-roads caused by the priority for trams at traffic lights, but there is no attempt to have ordinary buses and taxis running parallel to the trams in roads of the width of those found in Leeds. It was largely for this reason that in the tram scheme being currently planned for Avignon, it has been decided – after listening properly to the public – not to take the trams across the Rhône to Villeneuve, past the Tour Philippe le Bel, where the road is about the width of Headingley Lane.9
Nowhere have I seen an attempt – as would be the case in Leeds – to have two public transport systems competing with one another, with different stops for buses and trolleybuses, and with ordinary buses being condemned to share space with ordinary traffic. This is not integrated transport, especially as Leeds lacks a proper transport hub, with the bus station being a considerable distance away from the railway station.10 I know there is some ambiguity in the use by planners of the expression ‘integrated transport’,11 but I do not think you can get round the basic definition of it as ‘the integration of transport modes in order to provide easier interchange between modes of transport and therefore making it easier for the passenger’.12
We are told that Headingley already forms part of the route most favoured by bus-users in Leeds, but the figures put out by NGT on bus use are somewhat meaningless here insofar as none of the present buses follow exactly the same route as that proposed for the trolleybus. Some come from places further out such as Guiseley (no.97), Bramhope, Otley and Skipton (no. 84X). Both the no.1 and no. 6 go to Holt Park, but one via Lawnswood and the other via Tinshill. The no. 28 goes to Adel. The bus services to all these places would almost inevitably suffer, and those living there would hardly relish being given a shuttle to tie up with the trolleybus instead of a direct service to town. And there would be fewer buses for everybody from West Park inwards wanting to go, for instance, to anywhere near the central bus station. The trolleybus might mean saving a few minutes for some commuters coming in from the outskirts or beyond, but there is little hope of a quicker journey for anybody else, especially with the likelihood of having to walk further to the right stop.
Bus deregulation has caused problems, especially with bus companies often appearing unwilling to maintain services in which they do not make a profit. To counter this, Metro makes much of the possibility of introducing Quality Control Contracts in place of Quality Control Partnerships, in order to have a greater say over the way the buses are run.13 However, the experience of the Sheffield City Council in its dealings with Stagecoach14 does not suggest that Leeds City Council will be any more successful in overcoming opposition from First Group.15 First Group has already fought back, by promising to slash fares along the A660 corridor,16 and is there any guarantee that any bus company – not granted the franchise for the trolleybus – might not be prepared to undercut the fares of the trolleybus? If the franchise were to be granted to First Group, this would simply strengthen further its dominant position.17
c) congestion and park-and-ride:
We are told that that this scheme is designed to ease congestion, which would hardly be helped by having traffic queueing at lights as the trolleybuses go by.18 The two main causers of congestion on the A660 corridor are commuters19 and parents doing the school run. The latter – who, if they can, prefer to live at some distance from busy roads – are hardly likely to abandon driving their children to and from the school gates, if the quality of their local bus services were to decline.20
As for the problems caused by commuters, Professor David Begg, when chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport, regretted that congestion charging had not been made a pre-requisite for the Leeds Supertram.21 Following the experience of Manchester, Leeds City Councillors still shy away from the idea of introducing it here, and central government has abandoned attempts to force them to adopt it.22 Yet, without it, and also a much greater use of residents’ only parking schemes all along the proposed trolleybus route – the cost of which should not be borne solely by local residents who do not cause the problems23– there must be severe doubts as to the successful implementation of what is seen as the main key to solving traffic congestion in this context, namely park-and-ride sites at Bodington and Stourton. The effects of such schemes can be perverse, sometimes even increasing the use of private cars,24 and most experts agree that park and ride schemes work best in historic towns such as York, Oxford or Bath, with relatively little parking available in the town centre.25 This is not the case in Leeds. We are told that there are some 18,800 parking spaces available in the city centre.26 It would be interesting how many of these are set aside for office workers. In 2009 some 548 members of council staff enjoyed free parking,27 and judging from planning applications and advertisements for offices over the years this privilege is widely extended to the private sector. On top of this, multi-storey parking for up to 2,700 cars is envisaged for the new city-centre shopping developments,28 despite the fact that extensive research by Sustrans and others has shown that traders are wrong in thinking that people need cars to shop in the middle of town.29 The situation is not helped by the fact that Leeds is home to the British branch of Europe’s largest car-park firm, which is naturally pleased to see an increase in custom.30 Is it not a little naïve, in such circumstances, to believe that motorists will willingly get out of the comfort of their cars and transfer to a trolleybus if they have guaranteed parking spaces available for them at their place of work? Unless, of course, the aim is to have permanent grid lock along the A660 corridor for all traffic other than the trolleybus.
ii) A trolleybus is the wrong choice
Few in Leeds would deny that the trolleybus was chosen as a second-best alternative, following the cancellation of the Supertram in 2004, and though Leeds is now the third-largest city in England, one has to face up to the fact that one cannot expect funding for an underground, such largesse having always been reserved for the capital. Even so, the cost of one single trolleybus line at an estimated £250.6 million (with £173.5m coming from central government) would seem very poor value for money, especially when compared to the cost of the first stage of the Nottingham Tram, at £200 million (which is the equivalent to £260 million at 2013 prices).31
Yet, NGT calls the possible creation of the first trolleybus system in the UK a ‘step change in public transport’, implying that it is at the cutting edge of new technology and – with its belief in image – that car users and bus passengers will switch to it simply because it is so permanent and so attractive. It makes much of trolleybuses abroad without really looking at them properly, and dismisses out of hand as unsuitable the rapid technological progress that is taking place in other ecological forms of public transport.
a) trolleybus systems abroad
NGT is good at giving half the story. On its website, it begins a list of would-be rebuttals of what it calls ‘false and misleading’ claims made by opponents to its scheme, by making much of a new trolleybus line in Geneva, but fails to point out that – to the chagrin of a least one Genevan property developer32 – this is not a rapid transport service as envisaged here. It is designed to serve new housing estates near and over the French frontier and not long-established built-up areas as in Leeds, does not go into the centre of town, but to the new transport hub at Eaux-Vives,33 and is thus part of a big truly-integrated cross-frontier transport scheme that has being going ahead since 2002, the CEVA (Cornavin – Eaux-Vives – Annemasse).34 It was opposed by local residents’ associations, who objected to the cost, and wanted buses using natural gas instead.35
This is typical of the way NGT has attempted to brush aside dissent, and continue to paint the trolleybus as a popular choice for transport worldwide. For a start, it is important to distinguish between long-established trolleybus systems – most notably in former communist countries where there was, ’til fairly recently, limited private-car ownership, and places like Switzerland with access to cheap hydro-electricity – and new schemes – few in number – introduced since the beginning of the present century. For the sake of simplicity, it is perhaps best to limit the discussion to Western Europe and the European Union since 2001.36
When we have pointed out that towns with trolleybuses such as Arnhem,37 Budapest,38 Geneva39 and Salzburg40 have all been experimenting with electric buses, we were not suggesting, as NGT has tried to make out, that places like Geneva, were immediately wanting to rip out the overhead wires. Those with established trolleybus systems obviously want to make the best of the system that they have, especially if it is part of properly integrated transport, and in the medium term at least they will try to keep it up to date. What this desire to test electric buses does reflect, however, is a widespread dislike of overhead wires and of the lack of flexibility that they entail. The Swiss have referred to them as ‘visual pollution’,41 and here in Leeds there is fear over the environmental damage that they would cause, including, notably, the need to cut down a considerable number of mature trees.
As elsewhere in the world, in Western Europe and the European Union, a fair number of trolleybus systems have closed since the beginning of the present century. Romania has abandoned seven trolleybus systems in recent years,42 and Bulgaria has closed two.43
Nearer home, two trolleybus systems have closed in recent years in Switzerland: Lugano in 2002,44 and Bâle in 2008.45 That in La Chaux-de-Fonds was only saved, because it was thought that there was no viable ecological alternative on the horizon, a situation which is changing radically, with the result that its future is still uncertain.46 In Austria, Innsbruck closed its system in 2007,47 while in Belgium Ghent did away with its trolleybuses in 2009.48 In France, the main opposition party, the UMP, could well win next year’s local elections in Villeurbanne (in the Lyon conurbation), and it wants to suppress the trolleybus there.49
The latest town to show disaffection with the trolleybus is Vilnius in Lithuania which is now abandoning them progressively. It replaced 40 trolleybuses with ordinary buses on September 1, 2013. A further 45 trolleybuses were to be replaced shortly after that, leaving at that stage a total of 185 trolleybuses, compared to 225 in the autumn of 2012. The director general of the local public transport board (Vilnaius Viesasis Transportas) is quoted as saying that ‘buses were faster than trolleybuses’. They closed four trolley bus routes on July 1, 2013.50
Finally, one should mention that a system for Amadora in Portugal was planned in 2009, but abandoned in 2012.51
Of the very few entirely new trolleybus systems created in Western Europe and the European Union in the last few years, almost all cannot be used as examples of inspiration for Leeds. In Romania, with a grant from the European Union, a new system has been planned for Craiova (a city of 300,000 inhabitants) since 2009, to tie up rather bizarrely with an existent tram line52, and the old 5-kilometer line in the small town of Vaslui (74,000 inhabitants), which closed in 2009, has now been completed reconstructed.53
The new single 3-kilometer trolleybus line in Landskrona (30,499 inhabitants) in Sweden, constructed from 2002 to 2003, is a very modest affair, running like an ordinary bus with wires and no special lane.54 All other recent schemes have been in Italy and Spain, and they have nearly all been embroiled in scandal, amidst lawsuits over accusations of corruption and unwarranted financial and political influence. That in the small town of Avellino (54,151 inhabitants) was planned to be in service by 2013,55 while that of the slightly-larger Lecce (95,764 inhabitants) was opened in January 2012, a couple of months after the arrest of one of its planners on charges of bribery and fraudulent invoicing.56 It is not surprising that it has been dubbed locally the ‘filobus della discordia’!57
Even the new trolleybus in Rome (filovia) – built by supporters of Silvio Berlusconi – has not been free of scandal, with accusations of waste58 and the arrest of the mayor’s right-hand man on charges of having accepted nearly one million euros in bribes from a state-controlled bus-maker.59 In any case, it cannot be used here as an example for Leeds, since for much of the time the vehicles turn into electric buses without either overhead wires or special lanes.
Two other Italian cities which have over the months been quoted as exemplary by NGT and its supporters, again without their really doing their homework properly, are Bari, which has a very troubled history of stopping and starting various trolleybus schemes going back to the 1970s,60 and Verona where a trolleybus scheme, which was first promised in 2007, was still being evaluated in 2013, with a plan that envisages the use of the internal combustion engine to power the system wirelessly within the city walls.61
The only new modern trolleybus scheme which does has similarities with what is planned for Leeds is the strangely-named ‘El Tram’ in the Spanish provincial capital of Castellón de la Plana (180,204 inhabitants), the brainchild of yet another controversial politician, the ex-leader of the regional government, Carlos Fabra Carreras, who was placed under judicial investigation in 2012 in connection with several cases of corruption and tax evasion.62
This scheme is almost a symbol of how Spain overstretched itself before the economic downturn in 2008. It is run at a loss and is to be heavily subsidized by the local regional authorities up to 2027.63 It is highly controversial, with lawsuits trying to stop it damaging a local park, and causing considerable anger among many citizens in the town, especially over a lack of proper public consultation and added congestion where even ambulances find it difficult to get through.64 Here as elsewhere, there is now talk of doing away with the overhead wires on the main route from the university to the seafront.65
Very clearly, trolleybuses with overhead wires do not constitute the ideal solution for the development of modern urban transport.
b) better ecological alternatives
In wanting to counter claims made for electric buses, on its website NGT concentrates all its guns on the TOSA electric bus in Geneva without discussing the many other electric battery buses being tried out more and more throughout the world. Most noticeably, it makes no mention of developments in the rival ‘green’ technology of hydrogen fuel cells. In recent years there has been rapid progress in both fields, and it is now more that likely that one or the other or both of these technologies will be in a position to make that of the trolleybus seem completely obsolete by the time that the scheme planned for Leeds should be up and running.
It is somewhat ironic – and symbolic of how greatly Metro seems behind the times – that Leeds has not already made use of the award-winning electric buses by the local firm of Optare, while they have been enthusiastically adopted, for instance, in Coventry,66 Durham,67, August 23, 2013, p. 38.] Nottingham,68 and nearby York.69
At the moment the 12-metre long Chinese BYD electric bus, which can run for 250 kilometers on a single charge, seems to be leading the field world-wide.70 In Sweden there is Volvo.71 Siemens is providing the technology for new electric buses in Vienna.72 Bombardier is running electric buses in Canada and Germany,73 &c. &c. I could go on. The list is endless.
NGT criticises the look of the overhead apparatus used to flash-charge the TOSA bus in fifteen seconds at stops,74 but it should note that ‘in-road’ flash-charging is being developed in Sweden by Volvo75 and also by Bombardier in Canada and Germany,76 while the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed an ‘in-road’ system that actually recharges the bus while it is still moving.77
NGT’s silence over hydrogen fuel cell buses is extraordinary. In some ways, I suspect (along with the European Union and the British Government78) that in the end they may prove a better bet than electric buses, with greater autonomy, and not using batteries with heavy elements that need proper disposal and can pollute the environment in the long run.79 Hydrogen fuel cells are also lighter.80
Of course, the infrastructure needs to be developed and they do require quite a lot of electricity, though this can be produced off-peak. Aberdeen, for instance, ‘aims to use surplus off-peak wind energy to produce the hydrogen for city buses’83 and this is where both battery and hydrogen fuel buses again score over the NGT trolleybus. This is likely to be powered for some time by electricity from the National Grid, and there are currently worries about the reliability of electricity supplies from this source.84
One of the main current problems connected to the production of hydrogen is the comparative rarity and cost of the usual catalyst: platinum, which is hoarded by the Chinese. However, here again research into various alternatives to platinum is advancing fast.85 There is even talk in Manchester of obtaining hydrogen from household waste.86 In any case, the overall cost of producing the gas has already come down significantly.87
No system is entirely carbon neutral, but less disruptive forms of ‘green’ public transport than the trolleybus, enjoying all the flexibility of the ordinary bus, are, whatever NGT may imply, already clearly on the horizon.
c) improvements to traffic flow, not needing a trolleybus.
Among the claims made by NGT, it lists advantages that do not really need the presence of a trolleybus. First among these is smart-ticketing : the ‘MCard’, a Yorkshire equivalent of London’s Oyster Card.88 Those of us who can remember the pre-deregulation ‘ker-ching’ card on Leeds buses, have long wondered why one had to revert to long hold-ups at bus stops while people, on boarding their buses, looked for change to pay for their tickets. Yet there are several questions one might ask of Metro, before they claim all the credit for the introduction of the new cards. First Group has spent £27 million on the technology which is to be installed on buses, not just in Leeds, but also in Manchester, Bolton, Oldham, Wigan, Stoke, Northampton, York, Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leicester, Portsmouth, Southampton, Plymouth, Reading, Bristol, Ipswich and Norwich.89 Did it did need the trolleybus plan to force Metro wake up to the need for this?
There is also no reason to doubt that with the growth of electronic technology, comparable regularity and reliability as claimed for the trolleybus, could not be achieved with ordinary buses, using proper buses lanes and stopping bays, and real-time bus arrival information. It is now possible for computers, using GPS, to ensure that fast express and slow more frequently-stopping services do not get in each other’s way.90
Some road widening may be needed in places, for both buses and cyclists, but not so far as to favour private cars. Those of us who have lived in Headingley for over 45 years well-remember what the planners – having ripped the heart out of Leeds – then wanted to do to our area so as to live up to the slogan: ‘Leeds: motorway city of the 70s’.91 As Brian Richards so rightly says, ‘traffic engineers – at least the more enlightened ones – now accept that widening only brings in more traffic.’92 It should be possible – with a little imagination – to implement a road improvement scheme which caters to the needs of all, as in the inspiring one implemented at Poynton in Cheshire.93
Above all, the A660 is not really suitable for articulated or bendy buses, which are much disliked by cyclists, who, under the proposed trolleybus scheme, would, for a considerable part of the route, have to share a lane with a vehicle of that shape.94 Double-decker buses – which need shorter stopping bays – have always been popular in Britain, because our roads tend not be as wide as those on the continent, and it is for the same reason that double-decker buses are now being introduced in both New Zealand and Australia.95
iii) the inadequacies of the consultation exercise
When I argued in a letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post that ‘for the words “public consultation” to mean anything, everything must be on the table, even the possibility of abandoning a project or looking for something more appropriate, after listening properly to the public’,96 it prompted a reply from the head of NGT to my MP, which unwittingly strengthened my view, by putting the emphasis on the fact the trolleybus scheme had been the subject of a ‘great deal of scrutiny’ from both Metro and Leeds City Council.97 This still does not imply proper engagement with the public. I had never suggested that they had not respected procedure, and faithfully gone through all the hoops. The question is whether they had done so with truly open minds and whether there were severe limitations on what they were prepared to change. Public consultation is a delicate process all too easily perverted by political manipulators and commercial lobbyists, who often count on the inertia and ignorance of the general public.98 The extreme anger expressed by our local councillors at the suggestion from the government for a referendum before raising council-tax to pay for transport issues was most illuminating.99
My letter had been initially prompted by a remark made by a local councillor in reply to the many protests against the trolleybus from locals citizens: ‘We can perhaps tweak and change minor details but at the end of the day this is a government scheme.’100 The public has to put up with a great deal of double-talk and soft-soap from those in charge of the scheme, with phrases devoid of real meaning such as ‘feedback from the public is vital in helping us to shape the plans the best we can in order to provide Leeds with a modern rapid transport system’,101 pronounced by a councillor whom we had just seen lecturing a public meeting and not listening properly to comments from the floor. Such meetings have grown extremely heated, as many members of the public have become increasingly angry and frustrated.
According to the OECD guidelines for public consultation, it must be ‘a two-way flow of information’ based on proper dialogue.102 That this has not been the case here, is fully illustrated by the NGT website, which still makes vague, difficult to prove claims of doubtful validity, that it already made at the start of the consultation exercise. Rather than dealing properly with concerns raised by the public, it devotes much space to trying to counter what it calls misleading claims most of which – as I have shown above – are not as ill-founded as they suggest. They also list answers to frequently-asked questions. This list is somewhat repetitive and rather tellingly does not include a fair number of thorny issues which I know to have been raised. Most interestingly, the web site defines the aim of the consultation exercise as being ‘to ensure people have ample opportunity to find out the facts about the scheme.’ In other words, without saying as much, they imply notification rather than consultation.
Complaints that public consultations are all too often ‘carried out in name only’ are, of course, not limited to Leeds,103 but certainly the local press here is full of letters reflecting the recurrent and general feeling of resentment among the citizens of Leeds over not being properly consulted.104 This is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon here. As the Australian architecture and planning expert Dr Tony Gilmore has pointed out, there is a long tradition in Leeds in which decision-making has always been almost solely ‘in the hands of a small group of “insiders”: the City Council, a number of locals property developers, the Yorkshire branch of English Heritage and the Leeds Civic Trust’.105
Commenting on the ‘astoundingly cheap-looking architecture’ that now abounds in Leeds, Owen Hatherley blamed the Council for having over the years ‘let the property developers lead the way […] out of the fear that they and their money might disappear if they were in any way challenged’.106 This subservience still survives among our present councillors, as was seen last June at a meeting ostensibly called to listen to opinions from the public on the trolleybus, mainly made up of representatives from local residents’ associations. The only person they chose to listen to was the one person to speak in favour of the trolleybus scheme: the Manchester-based press officer for the property developers Allied London.
Here in fact lies part of the key to what many have seen as the surprising attitude of Kevin Grady and the Leeds Civic Trust, especially as the latter states on its website as its first principle the aim ‘to stimulate public interest in and care for the beauty, history and character of the City and locality’.107 The character of a conservation area – of which several would be adversely affected by the trolleybus scheme – does not lie solely in the buildings, but also in the space in between (trees, gardens, stone walls and pavements, etc.).
Kevin Grady has shown misplaced enthusiasm for disastrous schemes before, as seen in the projects for monster towers in the city centre.108 When these schemes failed, Kevin Grady was reported as saying that the ‘Council ought to have chosen a more modest scheme by a local developer’, which prompted the Conservative Council Leader to accuse him of being ‘wise after the event’.109 He may now complain about the ‘crazy boom years’,110 but there was a time when he saw it as ‘vital that Leeds capitalises on the tremendous development boom’,111 and approved of the desire to emulate Manchester with ever-higher buildings.112 Only later did he see high-rise development schemes proposed for the city prior to the crash as ‘a step too far’.113
In its press release of June 27, 2013,114 the trust talks about the ‘wider benefits’ to the city, but stresses in this context redeveloped areas south of the river. Both Kevin Grady and the Council have been seduced by the plan to build there a form of Canary Wharf or Quartier de la Défense, and seem all too willing to sacrifice in its name the interests of the rest of the City.115
One of the main arguments used by NGT and its supporters to brush aside opposition is to remind everybody that the trolleybus scheme has been accepted by a Gateway review. The government explains how this works : ‘Gateway uses a “peer review” approach; it is not an audit or inspection and the process is undertaken in partnership with the project’.116 This sounds rather cosy, and having long experience of peer reviews in academia, I know just how open they can be to cronyism (politely referred to as ‘networking’) and fashion. As has been said: ‘peer review is widely acknowledged as an imperfect system’.117 There are frequent complaints about a lack of transparency, and calls for referees to be ‘accountable’ for their comments by disclosing their identity: ‘Society, it has been said, is less tolerant today than it used to be of what it sees as power without responsibility’.118
Gateway reviews certainly sound opaque and open to influence. Since the government refused in 2007 to let them be covered by the freedom of information act,119 it is difficult to tell just how independent the referees have been in this instance, but judging from what is said in the Spring issue of the Yorkshire Post‘s Vision magazine (quoted on the NGT site) they do sound too collaborative. They do not question the highly contentious 4,000 job claim (which I discuss below), and how can they call a trolleybus ‘high quality, unique and city defining’ when compared to a tram. It is pitiful! As I have shown above, the trolleybus is not, as they suggest, ‘innovative’ and ‘cutting edge’ One gets the impression that the peer reviewers had not done their homework either.
Local democracy in Leeds is not particularly healthy, with the majority of councillors elected on turnouts of under a third of the electorate, and many – simply chosen by their party machine – not living in or even near the wards they represent. In our particular area, the students decide who gets elected, basing their vote on national issues such as student fees, with hardworking councillors losing their seats regardless how good their record has been. Many permanent residents feel quite disenfranchised, with a resultant widespread sense of cynicism, which is not likely to decrease in the face of the current collective behaviour of those in the city with power and influence.
NGT says it ‘is forecast to create 4,000 new local jobs along the route’, yet in 2004, the National Audit Office said that the Sheffield Supertram – a much more ambitious scheme than what is planned for Leeds – was thought to have created 1,600 jobs, but also said there was ‘no established methodology for identifying the regeneration benefits at the planning stage and they did not know how the jobs estimate had been made’.120 Having looked at the announcements for many projects in different fields dating from over the last twenty years, again and again I have come across the promise of the creation of ‘4,000 jobs’.121 This magic number crops up endlessly. In other words, it is a planners’ cliché which is meant to impress, but which most often owes more to lazy and wishful thinking than to fact.
If one applies Ockham’s Razor or lex parsimoniae to test the overall validity of the case put forward by NGT, one sees very quickly that the latter makes too many untested assumptions. If, for instance, the scheme were to achieve its aim of making life easier for commuters coming from outside Leeds, it might create jobs for people living in villages and other towns, but it is difficult to see how it would create ‘new local jobs along the route’ as people living in Leeds itself would clearly gain little from this scheme. Public transport in town is not just for going from one’s home to one’s place of work, but also to facilitate general mobility within an urban area, including short journeys for the less fit. By its very design, the present scheme would clearly damage this.
Finally, it would seem perverse to call on the council-tax payers in Leeds – most of whom do not live anywhere near the route, and in areas where existent buses services are not nearly as good as they are on the A660 corridor122 – to contribute to one single line of a trolleybus, while the council continually complains of being short of money and is making cuts to essential services everywhere.123
- See http://www.ngtmetro.com/NR/rdonlyres/05E8206F-7816-488A-8A44-CFFB850DEEAA/0/LeedsTransportModelReportofSurveysv5.pdf. ↩
- See http://www.kirkstallward.net/traffic/. ↩
- Unfortunately, perhaps again for historic reasons, Defra only measures Headingley and Leeds City Centre on a daily basis, see http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/latest/currentlevels. Judging from the samples we have seen listed there on a number of different days, much higher pollution levels of ozone, nitrogen oxide and particles are commonly found elsewhere. ↩
- See, for instance, Report Summary, ‘Top 12 noisiest roads in the UK’, Local Government Chronicle; April 29, 2002; Jon Clements, ‘Volume of traffic; Britain’s top 10 noisiest routes’, The Mirror, April 29, 2002, p.25; Emma Dunlop and Joanne Ginley, ‘Uproar on noisiest roads in Britain’, The Yorkshire Post , April 30, 2002. ↩
- Gary Fuller, ‘Pollution watch’ The Guardian (London). February 13, 2012 Monday , p.35. ↩
- See Jonathan Redhead, ‘Bradford’s roads “most congested in country”’, Bradford Telegraph and Argus, October 13, 2012; Thomas Harvey, ‘Opinion: A65 – What’s the solution to Leeds’ traffic congestion”, The Guardian Leeds, March 31, 2011 and also http://wardyorkshire.org/latest-news/traffic-gridlock-wards-response-to-a-leeds-city-council-spokesman. ↩
- See ‘Leeds: Minister opens new Kirkstall Road bus lane scheme’, Yorkshire evening post, September 13, 2012. ↩
- See Hon Alderman Don Townsley, ‘Towards a realisable, cohesive and economic transport system of Leeds’ http://hydeparkandwoodhouseonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Towards-a-Realisable2.pdf. and ‘Will £250m trolleybus scheme solve Leeds’s transport woes?, The Yorkshire Evening Post, January 9, 2013. ↩
- See ‘L’abandon de la desserte en tram de Villeneuve : Un choix concerté’, on the official web site for Greater Avignon: http://www.grandavignon.fr/travaux-et-projets/projets/reseau-bus-tram-la-dynamique-est-en-marche/le-tramway-un-projet-optimise-pour-2016/les-points-singuliers-du-trace-preferentiel/. ↩
- See Shatrughna P. Sinha, Instant encyclopaedia of geography (New Delhi, Mittal, 1995), vol. 23 (Transportation geography) , p.248. ↩
- See Stephen Potter, Martin J. Skinner, ‘On transport integration: a contribution to better understanding’, Futures, 32 (2000), 275–287. ↩
- http://www.greentravelplans.co.uk/content/glossary. See letter from Peter Bonsall, Emeritus Professor of Transport Planning at the University of Leeds, Yorkshire Evening Post, July 4, 2013, and the discussion paper by Professor John Preston of the University of Southampton: ‘Integration for Seamless Transport ‘ The International Transport Forum, Leipzig, 2-4 May 2012. ↩
- ‘Q&A: Metro chief Chris Greaves answers your public transport questions’, Guardian Unlimited, April 15, 2011; Sarah Hartley, ‘Transport in Leeds and Manchester gets that London feeling’, Guardian Unlimited, July 2, 2012. ↩
- ‘Stagecoach threatens market withdrawal over imposition of Quality Bus Contracts’, Local Government Laywer, March 29, 2010: http://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1554%3Astagecoach-threatens-market-withdrawal-over-imposition-of-quality-bus-contracts-&catid=64%3Atransport-articles&Itemid=1. ↩
- See http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/bus_industry_discussion/message/2556. For Leeds, see John Baron, Guardian Unlimited, October 14, 2010, Paul Robinson, ‘West Yorkshire bus firm’s ‘new deal’ on fares’ Yorkshire Evening Post, October 14, 2010; the letter from Dave Alexander, regional managing director, First UK Bus (North Region) in the Yorkshire Evening Post, 12 July 2013, and the submission from the Association of local bus Operators in West Yorkshire: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s88710/ABOWY%20Submission%20to%20the%20Leeds%20Scrutiny%20Board%20210113.pdf. ↩
- ‘Leeds bus fares could be slashed by a third’, Yorkshire Evening Post, July 2, 2013. ↩
- I grew up in Edinburgh, and although I do not approve of the Edinburgh tram, I do note that at least it – like the Edinburgh buses – is to be run by Edinburgh Corporation (‘New trams firm will have no drive for efficiency’, Edinburgh Evening News, January 30, 2013; Tristan Stewart-Robertson, ‘Transport expert raises debate on city’s future, The Glaswegian, July 3, 2013, p.4). ↩
- There are complaints about narrow streets and the congestion caused by the trams in Nottingham (‘Madness to build tram line in narrow streets’, Nottingham Evening Post, December 27, 2012, p.14; ‘Congested city traffic will put off new firms’, Nottingham Evening Post, December 10, 2012, p.12). Even the new tram system using the wide outer boulevards in Paris, ‘le tramway des Maréchaux’, has not got round the problem of actually causing congestion at the various gateways to the city, the Porte de Pantin, the Porte d’Orléans, etc., and, though it has resulted in people transferring to it from buses, it has not reduced car use (See S.M : ‘Delanoë, ennemi de la voiture ?’, L’Express, N°. 3202, November 14, 2012, p.22); B.H. : ‘La branche sud déjà victime de son succès’, Le Parisien, December 10, 2012; Martine Breson, ‘Le tram victime des embouteillages Porte de Pantin’, Radio-France : France Bleu (Ile de France). February 11, 2013: http://www.francebleu.fr/infos/transports/le-tram-victime-des-embouteillages; Rémy Prud’homme, ‘Paris: did rail worsen freeway congestion?’, World Transit Research: http://www.humantransit.org/2011/07/paris-did-rail-worsen-freeway-c/ ↩
- A Trafficmaster report of 11 June 2007 says: ‘Traffic congestion into Leeds is commonplace at rush hours, but traffic flows freely outside these times’ (http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.trafficmaster.co.uk%2Fdownload%2F7%2Fleeds_congestion_study_june_2007.html&ei=Pf0eUqHjEsar0AXK7IDoDw&usg=AFQjCNE9dQPSwYWkEsFLu7wQ3bTjXZv3tg&bvm=bv.51495398,d.d2k). ↩
- See Susan Hodgson, Anil Namdeo, Vera Araujo-Soares, Tanja Pless-Mulloli, ‘Towards an interdisciplinary science of transport and health: a case study on school travel’, Journal of Transport Geography, 21 (2012) 70–79. ↩
- In a foreward to A New Deal for Transport: The UK’s struggle with the sustainable transport, edited by Ian Doherty and Jon Shaw (Blackwell 2003), p.xiv. Congestion charging had in fact been conceived of in Leeds as a means of helping to finance the Supertram (see Peter Bonsall and David Milne, ‘Urban Road User Charging and Workplace Parking Levies’, Integrated futures and Transport choices, ed. J. Preston and J. Hine (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2003), pp.259-286. ↩
- See ‘Leeds road-pricing u-turn as £2 million fund is axed’, Yorkshire Evening Post, 8 March 2010. For what was planned see http://www.wyltp.com/NR/rdonlyres/E17611BA-43B6-4B5F-8DC3-5BE56B76CB78/0/ROADPRICINGINLEEDS.pdf. ↩
- See Alice Azania Jarvis, ‘The superhero of Suburbia: Fed up with soaring residents’ parking charges? Read how one man’s struck a blow for motorists everywhere’, The Daily Mail, July 31, 2013; ‘Leeds: Plans to charge for permits are totally wrong’, The Yorkshire Evening Post, August 29,2013. ↩
- See Giuliano Mingardo ‘Transport and environmental effects of rail-based Park and Ride: evidence from the Netherlands’, Journal of Transport Geography, 30 (2013) 7–16. ↩
- See Stuart Meek, Stephen Ison, Marcus Enoch, ‘UK local authority attitudes to Park and Ride’, Journal of Transport Geography, 18 (2010) 372–381. ↩
- See http://www.leeds.gov.uk/News/Pages/Car-parking-and-permit-charges-set-for-discussion.aspx. ↩
- See the reply to a freedom of information request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/6740/response/18742/attach/3/2751%20Full%20Response.pdf ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastgate_Quarters. ↩
- See http://www.senedd.assemblywales.org/documents/s3555/Consultation%20Response%2028.%20Sustrans%20Annex%20A.pdf. ↩
- See ‘Former FD returns to help Town Centre grow car park business’, The Yorkshire Post, March 21, 2013. ↩
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nottingham_Express_Transit. The figure given for the Leeds trolleybus is bound to rise. The Nottingham tram already cost more than had been planned (‘Nottingham tram scheme costs rocket’, Construction News, July 17, 2003), though the supreme case of a rapid transit system running well over budget is that of the Edinburgh tram (Alastair Dalton, ‘135 changes, GBP 16m bill – latest trams furore’, The Scotsman, April 10, 2010, p.15; Allan Alstead. ‘Edinburgh’s trams will be a millstone around the necks of all city council taxpayers for many decades to come’. The Herald, January 11, 2013; ‘Edinburgh Trams to run at loss for fifteen years’, Newsnet Scotland, June 22, 2013); Michael Glackin, ‘Tram profit relies on tax break as yet unapproved’, The Times, June 28, 2013, p.9. ↩
- François Moser, ‘Les avantages du Rapid Bus Transit’, La Tribune de Genève, November 17, 2009, p. 34. ↩
- See Ch.D, ‘Une ligne de bus pour desservir la Rive gauche’, La Tribune de Genève, April 17, 2012, p.18. ↩
- See http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_des_Eaux-Vives and http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEVA. ↩
- Gerson Waechter, ‘CEVA et TPG’, La Tribune de Genève, November 13, 2009, p.33. For lots of local unfavourable comments on the recent choice of 33 new VanHool Exqui.City 18 trolleybuses for Geneva, see http://reseaux-normands.forumactif.com/t3772-geneve-suisse and http://forum.trolley.ch/viewtopic.php?t=1820&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0). ↩
- Though the pattern outside Europe is somewhat similar, with far more closures than openings since 2001: Arzebaijan (Baku, Ganja, Migachevirm, Nakchiva and Sumquayt : between 2004 and 2006) – Brazil (Recife (2001) – Canada (Edmonton (2009) – China (Julin (2001), Harbin and Lanzhou (2008) – Kazakstan (Astana (2008), Karahanda (2010), Sjymkent (2005) and, reportedly, Qostanay (2005) – Nepal (Katamandu (2008) – Uzbekistan (Andijan (2002), Bukhara (2005), Jizzakh (2010), Ferghana (2003), Namangan and Tururgan (2010), Nugus (2007), Olmaliq (2009), Samarkand (2005), Tashkent (2010). Even in the trolleybus heartlands of Russia and the Ukraine there have been closures in recent years: in Russia (Vladikavkav (North Ossetia (ex-Georgia (2010), Shahty (near Rostov (2007), Tyumen (2009), Syzen (near Samara) (opened in 2002, closed in 2009), Archangel (2008). Near Saint-Petesburg, construction on a system in Gatchinas, planned in the 1980s, began in 2004, but stopped in 2005. The Ukraine has closed two systems in recent years: Dobropillia (2011), and Dzerjynsk (2007). Georgia closed trolleybus lines in 11 different cities between 2001 and 2010. In fairness, one should note the fairly new Russian trolleybus lines near Moscow (Khimki (1997), Podolsk (2001) and Vdnoye (2000). The Russians are also reconstructing the trolleybus system in Grozny destroyed during the Chechnin wars. The Ukraine has opened one new line in Kerch (2004). Otherwise, only four entirely new systems have been built outside Western Europe and the European union since the beginning of the new century: Saudia Arabia (Riyadh (2012) – USA (South Boston (2004) which is dual-powered, using diesel power and not using overhead wires at tricky points (Trolleybus Magazine (TM) No. 260, Mar.-Apr. 2005.) – Uzebekistan: Buxoro (Kagan) (said to be completed) – Venuezela (Mérida (2007). (Main source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trolleybus_systems). ↩
- Harry Van Der Ploeg , ‘Arnhem maakt kans op bovenleidingloze trolley’, De Gelderlander, May 28, 2013, pp.1,27. ↩
- Budapest Public Transport Company BKV Tests Electric Bus: http://www.xpatloop.com/news/70811. ↩
- See Isabel Jan-Hess, ‘Doris Leuthard inaugure le 1er bus à biberonnage, ‘ La Tribune de Genève, May 27, 2013, p.20 ; TOSA: A world premiere for UITP. Sustainable mobility and intelligent energy management: http://www.uitpgeneva2013.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Articles/PTI%201_2013_TOSA.pdf ↩
- Electric bus from BYD in Salzburg: http://car.pege.org/2012-electric-bus/ ↩
- See Chloé Dethurens, ‘Les trolleybus rouleront bientôt sans câbles’, La Tribune de Genève, pp.1, 14 ; Christian Berrnet, ‘Fadas de poteaux’, La Tribune de Genève, July 5, 2012, p.23. For the dislike of the new overhead tram wires in Princess Street, Edinburgh, see Dale Miller, ‘Princes Street tram pylons avoidable, says expert’, Edinburgh Evening News, January 26, 2013. Unlike trolleybuses, trams can in fact be run without overhead wires, as I myself have seen in Bordeaux. ↩
- Constanta (2010), Iasi (2006), Satu Mare (2005), Sibiu (2009), Slatina (2005), Suceava (2006), Targoviste (2005) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trolleybus_systems#.C2.A0Romania). ↩
- Plovdiv (2012), and Veliko Tarnovo (2009). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trolleybus_systems#.C2.A0Bulgaria). ↩
- ‘Filobus in Svizzera: Lugano, Neuchatel e Basilea in controtendenza’, SDA – Servizio di base in Italiano, December 29, 2006. ↩
- http://www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/newslog/newsitem.php?year=2008&item=300608 ↩
- ‘Les trolleybus pourraient disparaître de La Chaux-de-Fonds’, 24 heures de Lausanne, April 21, 2011 ; J. Lehmann: ‘Trolleybuses to Survive to 2014’ : http://www.trolleymotion.ch/index.php?id=115&L=3%2529&n_ID=1622. ↩
- See http://www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/newslog/newsitem.php?year=2007&item=150207b. ↩
- http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus_de_Gand. ↩
- L’Express, N° 3234, June 26, 2013, p.5. ↩
- Rasa Lukaityt-Vnarauskien, ‘Vilniuje nyksta troleibusai: nuo rugs_jo ju išvažiuos 40 mažiau’, Delfi.lt, August 14, 2013 (http://verslas.delfi.lt/transportas/vilniuje-nyksta-troleibusai-nuo-rugsejo-ju-isvaziuos-40-maziau.d?id=62044629). ↩
- Trolleybus Magazine No 305 (September–October 2012), p.120. ↩
- Marian Badirci, ‘Troleibuz cu axă POR’, Gazeta de Sud, January 21, 2009 ; J. Lehmann, ‘Trolleybuses to be introduced in Craiova’ http://www.trolleymotion.ch/index.php?id=115&L=3=121=157&n_ID=645. ↩
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trolleybus_systems#.C2.A0Romania. ↩
- The Trolley Bus Line in Landskrona : A short presentation (http://www.landskrona.se/documents/landskrona/documents/turism/broschyr%20landskrona%20tradbuss-en.pdf. Note that Landskrona is now trying out an electric bus (Sydsvenska Dagbladet, August 18, 2013, p.6). ↩
- J. Lehmann: The Infrastructure ‘Will Be Ready Next Summer’ http://www.trolleymotion.ch/index.php?id=115&L=3=121=157&n_ID=1669 ↩
- ‘L’inchiesta Giordano Franceschini, docente a ingegneria, e’ stato interrogato in carcere a Lecce’, La Nazione , November 24, 2011, p.8. ↩
- See http://www.lecceprima.it/politica/il-giro-inaugurale-del-filobus-della-discordia.html. ↩
- See http://www.dagospia.com/rubrica-3/politica/pi-tangenti-per-tutti-lo-scandalo-dei-filobus-limprenditore-dinc-levis-svela-il-segreto-49968.htm and http://roma.repubblica.it/cronaca/2012/09/26/news/finanza_nella_sede_di_roma_metropolitana_controlli_su_spesa_pubblica-43312226/ and especially http://www.cinquegiorni.it/news/filobus_laurentino_scandalo_tangenti-12039/ ↩
- See http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/on-the-money-trail-corruption-in-the-news-march-25/, and http://www.lagazzettadelmezzogiorno.it/notizia.php?IDNotizia=605236&IDCategoria=269 ↩
- http://www.trolleymotion.ch/index.php?id=121&sy_ID=493&L=3%29. ↩
- Bruno Casula, ‘Verona, continuano le valutazioni sul filobus’, Eco dalle Città, Febrary 26, 2013 : http://www.ecodallecitta.it/notizie.php?id=373976 ↩
- Raphael Minder, ‘In Spain, a Symbol of Ruin at an Airport to Nowhere, The New York Times, July 19, 2012, p.8. ↩
- Lorena Ortega, ‘El Tram de Castellón arranca con 1,3 millones de déficit al año’, El Pais, December 27, 2012, p.20. ↩
- Marco, ‘El Tram no soluciona el problema del transporte en la ciudad de Castellón’, El Periodico Mediterraneo, August 14, 2013. See video: Polemico paso del bus guiado TVR-CAS TRAM por el Parque Ribalta en Castellón : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ4MU-jTFXU. ↩
- David P. Solves, ‘Bataller busca fórmulas para que el Tram circule sin catenarias; el nuevo centro de energía podría albergar un proyecto de investigación’, El Periodico Mediterraneo, February 6, 2013. ↩
- Jenny Waddington, ‘Electric bus sparks lot of interest’, The Coventry Telegraph, February 11, 2013, p.31. ↩
- ‘Good fuel economy leads to 26 more Optare vehicles for Go North East, ENP Newswire, August 23, 2013, ‘Company orders 26 new buses,, The Journal [Newcastle ↩
- Optare secures £4m green bus deal’, The Yorkshire Post, April 13, 2013; Alexander Britton, ‘City to lead the way with largest fleet of electric buses in Europe’, Nottingham Evening Post, May 18, 2013, p.5; ‘Next stop the future as city pioneers use of electric buses’, Nottingham Evening Post, June 3, 2013, p.14. ↩
- ‘City wins financial backing for electric bus services’, The Yorkshire Post, May 27, 2013; Mark Stead, ‘York switched on to electric buses’, York Press, May 27, 2013. ↩
- ‘BYD electric buses certified for European market’, EcoSeed, January 14, 2013; Netherlands Launch All-Electric Bus Service, Business News, April 25, 2013; ‘Israel’s Tel Aviv introduces China’s BYD electric buses’, NewsToday, August 15, 2013. ↩
- ‘Volvo noiseless electric buses to hit streets of Gothenburg in 2015’, EcoSeed, June 18, 2013. ↩
- Erica Gies, ‘In Europe, Greener Transit on Existing Infrastructure, The New York Times, July 8, 2013, p.B4. ↩
- ‘German city to test viability of inductive charging system on two real bus lines’, Phys.org – Science and Technology News, February 27, 2013; ‘Premieres Game Changing E-Mobility Solutions at the UITP World Congress in Geneva’, 3BL Blogs, May 28, 2013. ↩
- ‘Un bus 100% électrique sans ligne de contact débarque à Genève’, SDA – Service de base français, April 19, 2013; ‘ABB demonstrates technology to power flash charging electric bus in 15 seconds’, ENP Newswire, June 3, 2013. ↩
- ‘Official: Volvo testing wireless, in-road charging system for EVs’, AutoblogGreen, June 21, 2013. ↩
- ‘Bombardier electric technology will be tested’, Alberni Valley Times (British Columbia), February 19, 2013, p.15. ↩
- ‘Electric road charges buses while they drive’, CNET.com, August 7, 2013; ‘Active Wireless Charging In Transit; Remarkable Progress In Korea For Electric Vehicles’, CleanTechnica, August 14, 2013. ↩
- ‘Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is first choice’, Essex Chronicle, March 28, 2013, p.54. See the press release of February 2, 2013 from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/future-of-hydrogen-powered-cars-mapped-out) as well as the synopses of the UK H2 Mobility reports: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192440/13-799-uk-h2-mobility-phase-1-results.pdf and
- See Bjorn Lomborg, quoted in The Globe and Mail (Canada), March 28, 2013, p.17. ↩
- Sarah Zielinski : George W. Bush. Elon Musk; Who was right about the future of hydrogen cars?,’ Slate Magazine, August 27, 2013. ↩
- ‘Toyota joins Mayor’s London hydrogen partnership’, States News Service, March 25, 2013; Coreena Ford : ‘Proton’s going for big cell to transport chiefs’, The Journal (Newcastle), August 19, 2013, p.27 and see http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/8444.aspx. and http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2012/july/london%E2%80%99s-fuel-cell-buses-surpass-1,000-hydrogen-refuellings-and-100,000-miles-of-service. ↩
- ‘Deal struck for fuel cell bus fleet’, The Calgary Herald (Alberta), March 14, 2013, p.E3. ↩
- The Western Mail, May 20, 2013, p.10. ↩
- See ‘People power can reduce our electricity use. As energy regulator Ofgem warns that the UK is at increased risk of power cuts this winter, Simon Parker calls on the Government to look at ways to cut consumption rather than focusing exclusively on power generation’(Western Daily Press, July 3, 2013, p.12); ‘British politicians to blame when lights dim’, The Irish Times, July 24, 2013, p.6), etc. ↩
- ‘Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production could revolutionize alternative energy market’, US Fed News, April 4, 2013; ‘Is Iron the New Platinum?, Hydrogen Cars Now, April 3, 2013; ‘Weird Fuzzy Compound Could Be Next Big Fuel Cell Catalyst , CleanTechnica, July 27, 2013; ‘Platinum on the Chopping Block in Fuel Cells’ Hydrogen Cars Now, August 13, 2013. ↩
- Yakub Qureshi : ‘Gas from our rubbish could power homes’, Manchester Evening News, August 14, 2013, p.20. ↩
- ‘Results of HyperSolar’s Sponsored Research’, Market News Publishing, May 14, 2013. ↩
- ‘Smartcard scheme planned for Yorkshire’s trains and buses, Bradford Telegraph and Argus, April 23, 2013; Juliette Bains, ‘Leeds and West Yorkshire gets smartcard for trains and buses, The Yorkshire Evening Post, July 2, 2013. ↩
- David Millward, ‘Smartcards for millions of bus passengers’, telegraph.co.uk, September 3, 2011. For Manchester, see ‘Oyster cards on the way at last for Greater Manchester trains, trams and buses’, Manchester Evening News, 2012, July 2. ↩
- See, for instance: Bus Management System: Comprehensive CAD/AVL and Passenger Information Systems: http://www.mentoreng.com/solutions/fix-route/index.html; ‘Using global positioning system for bus priority in London: traffic signals close to bus stops’, IET Intelligent Transport Systems, June 2007, ‘Wipo Publishes Patent Of Gipcomp B.V Titled As “Modular Computer System’ Plus Patent News, June 25, 2013. Bus Rapid Transit shows Promise, a report to Congress from the United States General Accounting Office, published as far back as September 2001, compared buses favourably to trams. After listing ‘innovative technologies’ such as those I have mentioned, the report concluded (pp.32-33): ‘In many communities Bus Rapid Transit systems can have lower capital costs than Light Rail systems yet can often provide similar performance’, while having the additional ‘valuable feature’ of flexibility. ↩
- See Daphne G. Padfield, ‘Our future cities: concrete enemies’ The Guardian, April 26, 1972, p.12. For a good article on how our cities were sacrificed to the motor car at that time, see Chris Beanland, ‘London: Roads to nowhere’, The Independent, February 11, 2011. ↩
- Future transport in cities (Taylor & Francis, 2001). ↩
- ‘Traders share in success of road scheme revival’, Manchester Evening News, February 27, 2013, p.4. See video: ‘Poynton regenerated’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0. ↩
- See http://www.leedscyclingcampaign.co.uk/?q=node/17. ↩
- See for New Zealand:‘Double-deckers on way for commuters”, The New Zealand Herald, February 21, 2013), ‘Double-decker on order’, The Daily News (New Plymouth, New Zealand), June 1, 2013, p.3; Michael Forbes, ‘New buses will be going back to the future’, The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand). June 1, 2013, p.3. And for Australia: Henry Budd, The Daily Telegraph (Australia), August 24, 2012, p.9; Henry Budd, ‘Experts in search for a short answer to beat Sydney’s gridlock,’ The Daily Telegraph (Australia), May 01, 2013; ‘Double vision for bus run’, The Daily Telegraph (Australia), June 8, 2013, p.13; ‘Sydney welcomes double-decker buses’, Hill Shire Times (Australia), June 11, 2013, p.11. See also for Canada: Keith Gerein: ‘Double-decker buses offer room with a view’, Edmonton Journal (Alberta), August 27, 2013, p.1. ↩
- Yorkshire Evening Post, July 16, 2013. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Third Edition (1959), p.379, defines the word ‘consultation’ thus: ‘The action of consulting or taking counsel together; deliberation, conference’. The French equivalent expression ‘concertation’ is perhaps clearer (and certainly seems to be better applied, as seen in the case of the Avignon tram (see above fn.9). ↩
- NGT makes much of the results of a earlier consultation exercise in 2009. However, as it was carried out in between late June and September 4, much of it took place in holiday time when many people were away (The Yorkshire Post, June 18, 2009; The Yorkshire Evening Post, August 11, 2009). It received nothing like the publicity given to the present exercise. ↩
- See James S. Fishkin, When the people speak: Deliberative democracy & Public consultation (OUP 2009), pp.9-12, etc. ↩
- Jack Blanchard, ‘Labour rages at referendum plan’, The Yorkshire Post, May 10, 2013. ↩
- Yorkshire Evening Post, June 25, 2013. ↩
- Yorkshire Evening Post, July 14, 2013. ↩
- http://www.oecd.org/mena/governance/36785341.pdf. As John Brown, Pat Gaudin and Wendy Moran, say on the integrity of such a exercise: ‘The consultor must be willing to listen to the views advanced by consultees and be prepared to be influenced when making subsequent decisions (If decisions have already been taken, such a consultation is a ‘fraud’ and ‘purposeless exercise’)’(PR and Communication in Local Government and Public Services (Kogan Page 2013), p. 84). ↩
- See Anna Minton ‘Undemocratic developments’, The Financial Times, November 30, 2012. ↩
- Over recent months this complaint has been frequently echoed in The Yorkshire Evening, concerning subjects such as: fortnightly bin collections (YEP, September 14, 2012); The West Park Centre (YEP, February 15, 2013, June 13, 2013, June 18, 2013, June 19, 2013); The Kirkgate Market (YEP, March 7, 2013); HS2 (YEP, February 19, 2013, April 25, 2013); a Chapel Allerton supermarket (YEP, June 17, 2013); Sunday and evening car parking charges — where the Council came a bit unstuck by organising a poll the results of which they then refused to accept (YEP, June 21, 2013) –; The Elland Road Park and Ride (YEP, April 25, 2013); care home closures (YEP, March 1, 2013, July 3, 2013), and housing developments at Thorpe Arch and Cookridge (YEP, July 8, 2013, July 9, 2013), etc. ↩
- Sustaining Heritage. Giving the Past a Future (Sydney University Press 2007), p.160. His source for saying this is Ian Strange & David Whitney, ‘The Changing Roles and Purposes of Heritage Conservation in the UK’, Planning, Practice & Research, Vol. 18, No. 2–3 (May–August, 2003, pp. 219–229 (p.226). ↩
- The Guardian, October 16, 2010. ↩
- http://www.leedscivictrust.org.uk/?idno=3. ↩
- See Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, October 4, 2004, p.5; Yorkshire Evening Post, September 18, 2006. ↩
- The Yorkshire Post, July 18, 2008; cf. YEP, July 18, 2008. ↩
- ‘A tale of two cities as once stagnant developments rise up from the rubble’, The Yorkshire Post, June 19, 2013. ↩
- The Yorkshire Evening Post, November 30, 2006. ↩
- The Yorkshire Evening Post, January 1, 2008. ↩
- The Yorkshire Evening Post, August 9, 2012. ↩
- See http://www.leedscivictrust.org.uk/uploads/leeds/mainsite/downloads/PDFs/Trolleybus%20Press%20Rel%20Leeds%20Civic%20Trust%2027%20June%202013%20web.pdf. ↩
- See ‘Central Leeds: New name and new dawn for troubled Clarence Dock’, The Yorkshire Evening Post, August 5, 2012. ↩
- See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Managingyourorganisation/Gatewayreviews/DH_121642. ↩
- Philippa J. Benson & Susan C. Silver, What editors want: a author’s guide to scientific journal publishing (The University of Chicago Press 2013), p.143. ↩
- David Shatz, Peer review: a critical enquiry (Rowman & Littlefield 2004), p.70. ↩
- See Heather Brooke, ‘Media: The importance of our right to know’, The Guardian, October 30, 2006, p.2; Heather Brooke, Freedom – only if we can get the information, The Times, February 6, 2007, p.5. ↩
- Improving Public Transport Through Light Rail. Report by the comptroller and auditor general HC 518 Session 2003-2004: 23 April 2004, p.25. The numbers for jobs created by the Nottingham Tram have also been contested (‘More jobs have been lost since tram arrived’, Nottingham Evening Post, September 26, 2012, p.14). The report from the National Audit Office also raises (pp.4-5) some interesting questions which, through concerning trams, are not without having some bearing on the claims made for the trolleybus: anticipated benefits had been over-estimated: passenger numbers, and therefore passenger benefits, had been lower than expected, light rail systems were not fully integrated with other forms of public transport, light rail had had a limited impact on road congestion, pollution and road accidents, it was not clear what impact light rail has had on regeneration and social exclusion. This tendency to over-estimate the benefits of light rail systems ‘over competing, less capital-intensive options’ had already been picked up by an analyst for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the American transport economist at MIT Dr Don H Pickrell, in ‘A desire named streetcar: fantasy and fact in rail transit planning’ Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 58 (1992): http://www.honolulutraffic.com/PickrellDesire.pdf. ↩
- As a small sample: from January to August 2013, for the British Isles alone, the phrase ‘creating 4,000 jobs’ cropped up in promises connected to the following: The Superfast Cornwall partnership (West Briton, January 3, 2013, p.10), Computer chip giant Intel (The Sun, January 26, 2013, p.26, A tidal barrier in Ipswich (Construction Digital, February 8, 2013), Centrica and North Sea Cygnus gas field (Progressive Media – Company News, February 28, 2013), A new shopping centre in Stoke on Trent (The Sentinel (Stoke) March 2, 2013, p.8, Plymouth City Council (The Plymouth Herald, March 27, 2013, p.9), Travelodge to open a further 145 hotels in the capital (The Times, March 16, 2013, p.58), Scottish Power (Metro (UK), April 18, 2013, p.29), Able UK wanting to build a £450m marine energy park off North Killingholme (Yorkshire Post, May 15, 2013), Cardiff-based Hospital Innovations working with Airbus (The Western Mail, May 21, 2013, p.33), Jobs Growth Wales (The Western Mail, June 5, 2013, p.21), A £450 million energy park on the Humber (Scunthorpe Telegraph, August 8, 2013, p.11), etc., etc. ↩
- See Rachel Reeves: ‘Why are we waiting for a bus transport system that actually serves the public?’, The Yorkshire Post, May 28, 2012. ↩
- In September 2012, the Council was seen to be ‘desperately trying to save about £50m to help it tackle public spending cuts’ (David Marsh, The Yorkshire Evening Post, September 14, 2012). On top of the £90m savings achieved in 2011-2012, the plan was to save £55m in the financial year 2012-2013 (David Marsh, YEP, October 12, 2012). It claimed to have made savings of around £145m between 2010 and 2012 (David Marsh, YEP, November 23, 2012). In February 2013, however, while blaming central government, and describing its budget as the most ‘painful’ in recent years, the Council then announced that the sum that needed to be saved in the coming year had risen from £51 to ‘almost £55m’ (£54.9m), and revealed that ‘eight residential homes and four adult day centres could close, a grant for school uniforms could be scrapped and nursery fees may rise as they try to slash the city’s running costs in 2013/14’, with the loss of a further 300 public service jobs ‘taking the total of redundancies to 2,000 since 2010’ (Sophie Hazan, YEP, February 8, 2013). The council is set to shed another 1,000 staff before 2015 (Jonathan Brown, YEP, March 4, 2013). The care homes under threat, included Manorfield House, Amberton Court, Burley Willows, Fairview, Primrose Hill and Musgrave Court (Jonathan Brown, YEP, March 27, 2013).
In February 2013, ‘Key services in Yorkshire’ we were told, were ‘at breaking point’ (YEP, February 26, 2013). The budget, bringing in cuts and savings which included ‘raising nursery fees for subsidised childcare by £2 a day’ was approved at the end of February, which the majority rejecting ‘proposals to introduce a living wage to help lower paid council staff, earmark more money to employ more in-house foster carers and even fund an up to £12m housing scheme to boost the local economy’ (Joanthan Brown, YEP, February 28, 2013). In April we were told that Leeds had a total reserve of £70.6 million, of which £25.4 million had not been allocated for any specific projects (YEP, April 19, 2013). In June Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said that the council would be forced ‘to find savings over and above the £300 million already made in the last three years’ (James Reed, YEP, June 27, 2013).
In a recent article in The Yorkshire Evening Post (August 28, 2013) under the title ‘Four Leeds care homes to close’, Sandie Keene, Leeds City Council’s director of adult social services, is quoted as saying: ‘The reality is it will be £4m a year that the council doesn’t have to spend in the way it is doing now’. This is the latest article of many in the paper discussing cuts. Over the last year these (big and small) have included : Fortnighly rather than weekly bin collections for about 40,000 homes (Sophie Hazan, YEP, September 11, 2012, November 23, 2012, December 11, 2012, April 25, 2013) – Shedding council staff : 1,800 between 2010 and 2012m with plans for a further suppression of 1,200 jobs (David Marsh, YEP, October 12, 2012) – The decision to close and demolish The West Park Community Centre (YEP, Laura Bowyer, November 23, 2012, Jonathan Brown, March 7, 2013; Aisha Iqbal, June 12, 2013) – Eight council-run care homes and four adult day centres were placed under threat of closure (February 9, 2013) – Wanting to scrap ‘free bus passes for the majority of Catholic schoolchildren in the city’ and ‘for some school and college students aged over 16 and for some youngsters aged over 16 with special educational needs’ to reduced the £4.76m currently spent on this scheme (Mark Lavery,YEP, February 19, 2013) – Wanting to close Fairview Dementia Home (February 20, 2013) – Closing a 21-bed hostel for the homeless (Debbie Leigh, March 1, 2013) – Closure of Primrose Hill Care Home in Boston Spa (YEP, March 6, 2013; Jonathan Brown, YEP, April 24, 2013, April 26, 2013, June 21, 2013) – Plans to turn off a number of water fountains across Leeds (Laura Bowyer, YEP, April 12, 2013) – Closure of Musgrave Court care home, in Crawshaw Road, Pudsey (Jonathan Brown, YEP, April 15, 2013) – Burley Willows residential home, in Burley (April 18, 2013) – School uniform grant for poorer families axed, to save around £600,000 per annum (Paul Robinson, YEP, April 25, 2013) – Closure of Manorfield House residential home, in Horsforth (Laura Bowyer, April 25, 2013) – Three Leeds City Council-owned Arms Length Housing Management Organisations (ALMO) set to be scrapped, saving the authority up to £2.4m (Jonathan Brown, May 16, 2013). – To switch off around 8,000 of the city’s 92,000 street lights between midnight and 5.30am (June 13, 2013, Sam Casey, June 18, 2013) – Planned closure of Suffolk Court residental home in Yeadon (Jonathan Brown, June 26, 2013), etc., etc.
At the same time, over the last year, one has not had to look far in The Yorkshire Evening Post for examples of waste: A £2m grass-cutting contract, did not include collection of the cut grass (David Marsh, YEP, August 6, 2012) – The cost of an IT system for social care, set to cost £6.5m., escalated to £16.7m (Sophie Hazan, YEP, August 10, 2012) – The Council had to write off £3.5m in uncollected debts (David Marsh, August 28, 2012) – While shedding staff, the Council was seen to be paying out £30m in agency staff and overtime payments (Davis March, YEP, September 4, 2012) – The cost of maintaining and securing empty buildings across the city had doubled the amount originally forecast to stand at £750,000 in 2012 (David Marsh, September 14, 2012) – During the period September 2007 to September 2012, the Council paid out £1,248,518 in respect to employers liability claims to 534 members of staff (Stuart Robinson, YEP, September 24, 2012) – The Council was found to be ‘overpaying up to £180,000 a year in overtime because rules governing payments were not being adequately followed’ (YEP, November 9, 2012) – Some highly-paid Council officers were seen to be avoiding high rates of tax by being paid up to around £100,000 a year ‘off the pay-roll’, ‘with one officer in particular being paid this way while earning around £75,000 for three years’ (YEP, November 13, 2012) (Leeds City Council spent £23.3m on staff earning over £50,000 in 2011/2012, though this figure was down £292,500 compared to the previous year (YEP, February 20, 2013) – A pharmacy won costs payout from Leeds City Council after the authority admitted ‘flaws’ in its decision-making process (Aisha Iqbal, YEP, March 26, 2013) – In Leeds, the number of employees earning more than £100,000 was 13 in 2011/12, one less than in 2010/11 (YEP, May 10, 2013). ↩