SCHEMES SCRAPPED: ‘Complex’ review of road projects across West Yorkshire
There have recently been calls for new West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin to scrap all road building schemes
A “COMPLEX” review of road building projects across West Yorkshire, which could see a number of schemes scrapped, has yet to be completed.
Proposed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority last year, the review would look at all major road projects planned in the area, and what their carbon impact would be.
It could lead to some previously proposed road schemes being tweaked or dropped altogether if they are judged to increase the amount of carbon emissions in the area.
The report has still not been released, and members of the Authority were given an update on the progress at a meeting last month during a discussion on the West Yorkshire Climate Plan
There have recently been calls, including from the Green Party, for new West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin to scrap all road building schemes in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
But the meeting was told adopting this blanket approach would also lead to schemes such as the creation of bus and cycle lanes being scrapped.
Councillor Tim Swift, chair of the Authority”s Climate, Energy and Environment Committee, said: “It is really important we get this right. We’re all aware of the dangers legacy road schemes can have. I the past they were looked at more about solving congestion issues. Now it is more about carbon impacts.
“It is also about how road schemes are managed, it is not always as straight forward as whether a road scheme goes ahead or not.”
Alan Reiss, Director of Policy, Strategy and Communications, said the review would look at previously approved road schemes, as well as creating guidance for the design and creation of future infrastructure projects.
He said: “The assessment of schemes already in the pipeline is a complex piece of work that hasn’t been done elsewhere that involves a lot of complex data.
“It is by no means as straight forward as ‘if we carry out a road scheme it increases carbon.’ It is far more complex.
“If a scheme includes improving bus priority or involves making a route safer to cycle or walk along, it can result in a modal shift away from cars.
“When the report is complete we’ll publish the documents and a decision can be made.”
The Climate Plan also includes a push to reduce parking spaces in West Yorkshire.
It says the authority should “Consider measures that reduce parking supply to manage demand for car trips and show how the space can be reallocated to other uses such as car clubs, active and sustainable transport infrastructure, parklets, wider resident and business use, and micro-consolidation.”
At the meeting Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, Conservative Group Leader on Bradford Council, said: “We have to look at the impact that would have on a lot of places. In some areas people will need public parking areas to charge electric vehicles because they don’t have the means to charge them at home.
“Reducing car parking could also have a knock on effect on tourism. If we think by getting rid of parking spaces we’re getting rid of cars – it isn’t that simplistic.
“We need people to get electric cars, and they’ll need a place to park them.”
Liz Hunter, Head of Transport Policy, said: “Parking is always a sensitive subject. In a lot of cases parking spaces can be used for better things. People will still want to travel, we have to make sure we can provide them with alternatives to cars. We’re not suggesting we take a one size fits all approach.”
Words: Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter
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