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Further progress for West Yorks transport & carbon emission schemes worth almost £40m approved

Queuing trafficThis week's meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority agreed funding to progress two schemes that when complete will represent almost £35m of investment in West Yorkshire transport network and over £4m to reduce regional carbon emissions.

Combined Authority members approved £570,000 for the ongoing development of a scheme to upgrade the busy A629 link between Halifax and Huddersfield Corridor. Highway improvements at Ainley Top roundabout and strategic improvements at junctions along the route to speed up bus journeys are included in the £30m scheme. Funded through the Combined Authority’s £1bn West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, the A629 package will also mean new walking and cycling infrastructure as well as improvements to Halifax town centre, where sites for future new development and employment opportunities will be unlocked.

Gateway

The £4.5m Rail Station Gateway scheme at Castleford, will result in better passenger facilities at the existing station and improvements to the surrounding area, including better links to the town centre and bus station. A new, fully enclosed waiting room and partially enclosed waiting areas, sheltered cycle parking, a ticket vending machine, staffed ticket office, disabled toilets and seating are all part of the scheme. The improvements will also provide a better welcome to the town for people arriving by train. Today’s meeting approved £317,000 to progress the scheme’s development.

At today’s meeting West Yorkshire Combined Authority members also approved almost £4.2m to progress the Leeds District Heat Network, which will provide reduced costs household heating for some Leeds residents, and the Energy Accelerator Programme to develop low carbon projects across the City Region.

The £21.6m Leeds District Heat Network scheme involves the construction of 4.5km of super insulated underground pipework connecting the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility in Leeds’ Aire Valley to properties across the city. Heat generated at the Facility will be piped peopled into people’s homes helping them, save money on heating bills. The scheme will also make a significant contribution to Leeds City
Council’s ambition to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide between 2005 and 2020.

Low carbon projects

The £3.8m Energy Accelerator scheme is dependent on a successful bid for £2.997m of funding from the European Investment Bank It will offering specialist expertise on the development of local low carbon projects taking them from concept to the point of investment. The initiative will focus on integrating renewable energy sources such as solar PV and biomass into the built environment and on district heating and street lighting.

Earlier this week, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement of £400m of funding for transport in the North but said that once Transport for the North’s plans for the whole of the North have been submitted to Government there will be an expectation of much greater levels of investment.

New initiatives  

After this week's meeting, Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “The schemes we have approved today are designed to support the local economy by speeding up journeys, reducing congestion, and tackle regional carbon emissions. Today’s decisions mean that the Combined Authority has now approved a total of £106.567m of spending, £54.824m of which will be funded by the Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal and West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund with the rest from other public and private investment.

“While securing the country’s largest Growth Deal settlement outside London enabled us to establish the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund in 2014, we still need more investment from government to ensure West Yorkshire and Leeds City Region are able to benefit from new initiatives such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, linking Bradford, Leeds and York with cities such as Sheffield and Newcastle across the North.

“I can assure people that the Combined Authority will continue to develop and deliver significant local transport schemes such as those approved today but we will also be urging the government to make good on its commitments to schemes such as the upgrade of the TransPennine, Calder Valley and Harrogate rail routes.”

Reducing emissions

Recycling plantLeeds City Council Leader Cllr Judith Blake said: “The Leeds District Heat Network and the Energy Accelerator are key to meeting the Combined Authority’s commitment of reducing regional carbon emissions as well as creating some permanent and temporary jobs. Once the Network is operating at full capacity it holds the potential to heat the equivalent of 25,000 flats.

“With improving our transport networks being such a key element of our work, I am pleased we have been able to progress these local schemes today as well as confirm the Combined Authority’s support for the work of Transport for the North, which has done such as good job of advocating for the developments we want to see, including Northern Powerhouse Rail with stops at Bradford, Leeds and York.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield said: “There is no doubt that better connections across West Yorkshire and with other cities across the North and beyond will help local people to take up good-quality jobs and improve the opportunities for businesses to access new markets, reduce transportation costs and broaden their recruitment.

“I am pleased that today, we have been able to ensure the progress of schemes that will both help to achieve this and improve local air quality by encouraging public transport use and reducing congestion.”

Shortlisted

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee Chair Cllr Peter Box said: “The Energy Accelerator scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK and will provide almost £3 million of commercial and technical support for regional low carbon projects and attract £100m of capital investment in low carbon projects across the region.

“Over 70 potential projects have been explored with just over 20 projects already shortlisted for Accelerator assistance.”
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