The Government has announced that it will not be
supporting proposals to re-instate the Leeds Supertram scheme put forward by
West Yorkshire PTE following the withdrawal of funding for the tram proposal
in July 2004.
In a statement, Alistair Darling, Transport Secretary said: "I withdrew
funding for Leeds Supertram in July 2004 because the costs of the scheme had
"It is clear that the tram scheme is still very expensive and the costs
remain much higher than originally planned. Latest proposals show the costs
are nearly 40% higher than originally planned.
"The value today is £486m - compared with the approved figure in 2001 of
Mr Darling explained that, in cash terms, the cost to Government had almost
doubled, from £664 million to £1.3 billion, over the 40-year financing
"The new proposal is also for a reduced scheme in which greater risks are
borne by the public sector.
"Clearly it does not represent the best value for money for the people of
Leeds or the best use of public money - particularly when compared to the
alternative proposals put forward by West Yorkshire PTE for top of the range
rapid bus scheme.
"Such a scheme would involve superior quality vehicles, high frequency
services and some dedicated busways to ensure efficient journey times.
"A recent review by consultants Atkins suggests that such a scheme could
deliver majority of the benefits of the tram at only half the cost.
"This would deliver significant transport benefits locally and be an
opportunity for Leeds to develop a first of its kind, showcase bus system
that could lead the way for other cities.
"My Department will continue to work constructively with West Yorkshire PTE,
and I am very keen to pursue this top of the range rapid bus scheme with
Mr Darling added that while he understood the support for the tram he
couldn't approve schemes at any cost.
"I want to be clear - money will be available for good schemes where they
are the best solution and where costs are under control. This year we are
spending £156 million in the region - more than double what was spent in
However, a furious Metro
Chairman Cllr Karam Hussain responded to the news by by saying,
“This is a disgraceful decision which
reflects the Government’s lack of any clear policy on transport or on the
development of the cities and regions outside London and the south east."
The Concervative Shadow Transport Secretary
Alan Duncan said:
"The Leeds Supertram scheme has finally hit the buffers but not before
millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has been spent on it by the
"The Department for Transport says it wants to deliver light rail solutions
to cities across the country but Manchester has already had it's expansion
effectively cancelled and now Leeds is going to miss out altogether.
"The Government has wasted four years and millions of pounds. The people in
West Yorkshire deserve better.
So now it looks like all the hard work and
money invested so far in the Supertram project for Leeds will sadly have
been for nothing.