Buses have been included in plans to reduce pollution in West Yorkshire. Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee have endorsed the formal adoption of the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy (WYLES), a scheme involving the renewal and upgrade of buses as part of efforts to remove harmful emissions from the region. WYLES has been jointly developed with the five West Yorkshire District Councils and Public Health England. The Combined Authority is now working with all the West Yorkshire District councils to develop a detailed action plan for its delivery. The intention is for it to cover a five year period to 2021. Recommendations are to be made to tackle transport emissions in the short to medium term ensuring that all parts of West Yorkshire meet legal air quality limits by 2020.
WYLE’S proposals also include the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, which Leeds is required to introduce by 2020. Zero emission vehicles are to be encouraged by providing electric charging infrastructure. It is also expected to see enhanced walking and cycling facilities, discouragement in the use of private cars and reduced emissions from the construction of transport infrastructure by adopting more sustainable techniques. It is also expected to try to influence the rail industry to commit to a rolling programme of local rail electrification.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Deputy Transport Chair, Cllr Eric Firth, said, ‘Reducing carbon emissions from transport is a high priority for the Combined Authority and the five district councils. While our Low Emission Strategy continues being developed, the Combined Authority is already contributing to reducing air pollution across the Leeds City Region through developments in its transport systems. To reduce congestion and pollution in Leeds, we have almost doubled the size of our Elland Road Park and Ride to 800 spaces, with another 1000 space Park and Ride due to open in east Leeds in June. Electric vehicles can be charged at both sites. We are working closely with local bus operators who have already begun replacing their older vehicles with buses meeting the latest Euro6 emissions standards. Thanks to successful bids for DfT funding, we have carried out the “greening” of our own fleet of MyBus and Access vehicles.’