Agenda item

Update on Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy

To receive a report and presentation from the Chief Officer, Highways and Transportation, which provides an introduction and overview of the Annual Progress Report of the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy (CLTS), Action Plan 1 with respect to the Climate Emergency.


The report of the Chief Officer, Highways & Transportationprovided an introduction and overview of the Annual Progress Report of the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy (CLTS), Action Plan 1 with respect to the Climate Emergency.


Paul Foster, Transport Planning Manager, outlined the following information to Members:

·  An annual progress report had been considered by the Executive Board in November 2023. A key part of the strategy, annual report and update was methods and data related to carbon reduction across the service, with targets to reduce distances travelled by 30%, to shift from private car to public transport and active travel models, including a 30% reduction on private car reliance, 130% increase in bus provision, a 70% increase in rail services, 400% increase in cycling rates and 30% increase for walking, set against 2016 figures.

·  An additional aim was to decarbonise the Council’s vehicle fleet which was ongoing but so far successful.

·  Department for Transport data was presented, outlining, carbon emissions from transport had decreased over the period of 2019 to 2021 but had slightly increased over 2020 to 2021. Distance travelled data corelated with carbon emission data and substantial work was required to achieve net zero, it was hoped that further uptake in EV use will further reduce emissions.

·  EV uptake data outlined in 2022 there were 26,730 zero emission vehicles registered in Leeds, this was only 7% of the approximate 407,000 registered vehicles.

·  Data for active travel and public transport use during peak commuter hours was overall positive with a long term trend for uptake in sustainable travel options and a 10.9% reduction in car use over 2022 to 2023.

·  A notable intervention of the service was the closure of city square for motor vehicle access, which reduced vehicle commutes by approximately 6,000 cars, however, for context there was around 1 million car journeys within the district daily.

·  A travel to work survey had been conducted, with some businesses mandated through the planning authority to engage with the travel plan network and had displayed a decrease in car use and alterative travel methods promoted to commuters. Data outlined a continued decrease in car usage, which corelated with working from home effects. Measures to reduce car use required more stringent policy for example, planning conditions and plans had reduced car parking space provision at new office sites.

·  Training sessions had been conducted by the service in relation to road safety and influencing sustainable travel for road users most at risk of harm, including cycle training in schools.

·  Strategies of the service were required to be conscious of wider Council strategies, such as Health and Wellbeing and Vision Zero to develop all encompassing, safe travel models with delivery aimed at culture and attitude changes and enforcement, as well as physical changes to highways.

·  The strategy was engaged with bus reform, through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) with a consultation conducted to consider options, including franchising. The decreased fare of £2 for a single a £4.50 for a day rider had been implemented by the WYCA Mayor.

·  The Healthy Streets Approach, including a useful tool kit to co-design schemes and Road Space Reallocation, shifting to sustainable transport, were notable policies included in the strategy.

·  Infrastructure improvements had been implemented or were ongoing at Armley Gyratory, Leeds Train Station, Morley Train Station, White Rose Train Station, Thorpe Park Train Station and Fink Hill junction in Horsforth.

·  Work was proceeding with third party providers for EV charging point delivery to allow residential access at equitable prices.

·  The E-Bike scheme had been implemented in and around the city centre, with initial data showing a positive uptake, with more expected through Summer 2024 and were a safe and space efficient travel option. Delivery robots becoming more frequent, and the Smart Signal Programme were both reducing congestion.

·  In order to meet 2030 net zero targets, there was a considerable amount of work required, with influential action and planning noted to accelerate the programme. The Executive Board were to be updated on progress annually.


During the discussions the following matters were considered:

  • Concerns were raised in relation to the lack of integration between bus and rail services and also the accessibility of stations, given outer areas often had a lack of cycle routes and active travel investment and further dissuasion by the potential introduction of parking charges. In response it was noted the service providers were not subject to public control and demand was required for viable investment and increased service.
  • Road safety measures required significant levels of funding, often through Government funds for larger scale investments. City Regional Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) funding was available again from 2027, with the model shifting towards smaller, local investment. An area transport plan was to be devised for each Community Committee as a platform for knowledge and access to grants.
  • The price set by Beryl Bikes for the use of the E-Bikes in Leeds had been reported to be high. It was outlined a partnership with Beryl had been procured and charges were dependant on structure and the further travelled, the cheaper the cost. The company covered a lot of schemes across the UK and were believed to be a sustainable model, however, concerns were to be addressed with colleagues at the project board.
  • It was confirmed that the E-Bike scheme had been part funded by the Council, as part of the Transforming Cities Fund via the Government and WYCA.
  • Residents, particularly young families, had raised concerns regarding the safety measures for the E-Bike scheme, with no helmet provision or clear plan on the occurrence of an accident. No accidents had been reported on the E-Bikes yet, but work was ongoing with West Yorkshire Police to address safety concerns, particularly with food delivery drivers or riders and illegal EVs. When city’s adopt cycling, the culture was noted to change regarding safe use and safety gear.
  • Air quality issues were raised with the closure, or restricted access, to many roads in the city centre. This issue may be exacerbated at night time with standstill traffic at Lower Briggate caused by the build up of taxis. Air quality was monitored by a different department, but reports were expected to follow as data was complied. Neville Street was reported to be the worst area for air quality in the city and the changes introduced in 2022 should have seen a marked improvement.
  • Measures to address night time economy travel needs were demand based, however, provision of later bus schedules were sought as an option for sustainable travel.
  • A lack of disabled parking bays and safe waiting places for pickups were noted, with the changes to road access in the city centre. Officers noted information on disabled bays and specific road access policy was available and mapped online and also the ability for disabled badge holders to park on double yellow lines. There was high demand for kerb space with bus service, taxi and loading bay provision and was a balance between the demand.
  • With the lack of reliability and frequency of bus services over and since the pandemic, particularly for outer areas, people had lost faith in public transport and were using cars out of necessity. It was agreed that more work was required for the strategy to influence provision of better bus services.
  • The road accident reduction targets and Vision Zero were noted to be somewhat unfeasible given the number of factors at play. In response the ambitions were arduous but aimed to change behaviours with road users working together and being more mindful; there was no regret in the ambitious nature as the methods saved lives. Other cities around the world had made these changes successfully.
  • Ways to improve short journeys in outer areas to town centres were queried, it was noted that it was distance dependent and if walkable, safe environments on and around highways should be provided as well as network and attitude changes, through good consultation.
  • The Healthy Streets programme and Local transport plans were being developed and trialled to identify local issues and were required to secure funding. Community Committees were considered a good arena to support this work.
  • Work on a freight travel policy at a WYCA level as part of the next statutory Local Transport Plan was ongoing and noted to be challenging, with one third of emissions produced by freight travel and limited influence over third party companies. The Council was setting an example by moving their fleet to EV.


RECCOMENDED – That the report, along with Members comments, be noted.

Supporting documents: