Funding allocated for transport improvements, skills training and music festival
Plans to increase the number of electric buses in West Yorkshire have been approved by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The vehicles would be part of the West Yorkshire Zero Emission bus programme and replace older, more polluting diesel vehicles.
New electric charging facilities in the region’s bus depots and charging points on bus routes are also planned as part of the scheme.
The programme would be delivered in three phases with the first introducing 111 electric buses in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.
A second phase would introduce electric buses to Calderdale and Kirklees, and the third intends to introduce a further 126 zero-emission buses across West Yorkshire, with the infrastructure to support them.
The programme aims to modernise services, increase the number of people using buses in West Yorkshire and potentially increase the number of green jobs in the region.
At its meeting in Leeds, the Combined Authority agreed to begin work on the final business case for the West Yorkshire Zero Emission bus programme, and allocated £50m towards the scheme – subject to final approval.
The Combined Authority has also agreed to support Kirklees Year of Music 2023 with £850,000 of funding.
It includes a year-long programme of online and in-person events, as well as a three-year programme of community projects. The festival is forecast to give a £6.5m boost to the economy in the region.
Meanwhile, £6.5m of funding for a training scheme which will help more adults learn higher-level skills for better jobs has also been approved by the Combined Authority.
The scheme is the latest phase of the Skills Connect programme and will benefit 4,500 people in West Yorkshire up to March 2025.
This new Level three training – equivalent to A Level – has been designed after consultation with businesses in the region.
Finally, a project to improve a major road which connects Huddersfield and Bradford has also progressed, after the outline business case was approved at the Combined Authority meeting.
The A641 runs through Brighouse and the planned improvements will benefit walkers, cyclists, and motorists.
The outline business case sets out key proposals and objectives for the project. The Combined Authority agreed to release more than £8m for the scheme, enabling the development of detailed designs.
The work to improve this route through Brighouse is being delivered in partnership with Calderdale Council.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “This agreement on the plans for more zero-emission buses in our region is a hugely positive step in our vital work to reduce carbon emissions and reach our target of net-zero by 2038.
“We’re working with bus operators through our Enhanced Partnership to increase bus usage and improve all aspects of services and the travel experience.
“We’re also pleased to be working with Calderdale Council on the scheme to improve the A641 between Bradford and Huddersfield which will make it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport.
“It’s more important than ever that we continue to modernise and improve our region’s transport networks to respond to the climate emergency and achieve our inclusive growth ambitions by connecting more people with job, training and education opportunities.”