UK’s first fully solar powered park and ride opens

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Leeds’s latest park and ride was opened by the Minister for future of transport and environment, Rachel Maclean MP.

Stourton park and ride is the third park and ride site in the city and officially opened 150 years after a horse tram commenced between the city centre and Headingley marketing the start of public transport in West Yorkshire.

The new £38.5m scheme is the country’s first fully solar powered park and ride and is served by a fleet of zero emission electric business. It is delivered in partnership with Connecting Leeds at Leeds city council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and First West Yorkshire who supply the buses and service.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean, noted that the government provided over £170 million to help Leeds City Council provide better, quicker and greener journeys for local people.

She said: “This brilliant new scheme will slash journey times and congestion while improving air quality and accessibility to greener modes of transport – giving local people the journeys they deserve.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I was delighted to attend the official opening of the UK’s first solar-powered park and ride at Stourton, on such a significant anniversary for public transport in West Yorkshire.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response from people since the site opened earlier this month. Commuters are now using it regularly, reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to cleaner air in Leeds and the region.

“Stourton park and ride plays an important role in our work to tackle the climate emergency and the wider aim of transforming the Leeds City Region into a net zero carbon economy by 2038. It’s benefiting the environment, the economy, and our public transport infrastructure.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds city council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: “Park and ride sites are important to help Leeds achieve the ambition of becoming a city where you don’t need a car by enhancing public transport and decarbonising travel. We know that people are willing to make small gradual changes from switching to electric vehicles, making more use of public transport, and reducing car reliance.

“Our ambition is to be net zero from carbon by 2030 and Zero emission park and rides like this one will help create a more people-focused city: fewer cars on the road, more space for people, regular bus services, creating more healthy and liveable streets.”

Councillor Kim Groves, West Yorkshire Transport Committee Lead Member for Public Transport, said: “As the UK’s first solar-powered park and ride, Stourton is enhancing transport links in Leeds and West Yorkshire and making a positive impact on the local economy and businesses. The reduced commuting times and lower commuting costs are a major boost for people working in the city, in terms of both their wellbeing and their daily routines.

“And of course, Stourton park and ride is also making an important contribution to the Leeds City Region achieving a net zero carbon economy by 2038.” Stourton park and ride boasts 45 solar panels that cover the size of 18 tennis courts and generate the capacity to power the entire site’s electrical needs via an innovative battery storage system.

Working alongside lead contractor BAM Nuttall, Mott MacDonald completed the detail design of the parking facility and offsite highways works, as well as coordinating the design of the terminal building by NPS Group and on-site smart energy grid by EVOEnergy.

“We’re really proud to have delivered such an ambitious scheme working as a team with BAM Nuttall and Leeds City Council,” said Jon Akers, Mott MacDonald project director.

“We’re facing a climate emergency, which requires real, practical action. Green infrastructure has a key role to play in getting to net-zero and we’re delighted to be able to help Leeds City Council meet their carbon objectives.”

Sue Tilbrook, Mott MacDonald eastern transport sector lead added: “The park and ride will provide affordable and convenient public transport options into the city for residents of nearby communities. This means greater access to employment and education. At the same time, fewer cars in the city centre will allow the council to create a more liveable city: a place where people want to spend their time.”

Alongside the electric busses the site features 26 fast electric vehicle (EV) charging ports and 4 rapid chargers totalling 30 EV charging spaces, secure bicycle storage and 1,200 vehicle spaces. These include dedicated disabled, family and motorcycle bays and a Changing Places facility.