Why do we need to improve access to the airport?

    Leeds City Region and Leeds Bradford Airport are forecast to grow significantly over the coming years. Leeds is expected to outperform the national economy over the next 20 years and the airport is forecast to double its current passenger numbers by 2040. Growing passenger numbers with limited travel options will have to use existing roads meaning areas around the airport will increase in congestion, and cause further delays. We have plans that will improve the ways in which passengers can get to and from the airport and to cater for anticipated demand. 

    What will the plans do?

    The plans will allow passengers to have increased options of travel to and from the airport. A dedicated rail and shuttle bus facility will help with a smooth experience between LBA and passengers’ destinations. A proposed new road link would allow increased capacity around the airport, and reduce traffic and congestion on the roads surrounding LBA by providing passengers with a link route that will act as a more direct method of travel to and from the airport. 

    Where have economic forecasts of Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) come from?

    Forecasted figures were provided from Leeds Bradford Airport’s Strategic Development Plan. The figures were based on the Department for Transport’s UK Aviation Forecasts Report and therefore validated by the Department for Transport. 

    Have alternative locations for the airport been considered?

    Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) is already integrated into the existing transport network, not only locally but also nationally. Leeds City Council (LCC), the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership support LBA in its current location and to manage the impacts of its operation and potential future expansion. It is not deemed practical to relocate the airport, or for the council to develop an additional one at an alternative site.

    What about the environmental impacts, especially air and noise pollution of the proposals?

    Noise and air quality impacts, associated with the creation of a proposed LBA Link Route and LBA Parkway Station, are being assessed as part of the development of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for the schemes. Further details will be provided when available.

    Monitoring of air quality is a requirement of the airport’s planning conditions and this is reviewed regularly by Leeds City Council. 

    Will the proposals affect the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Pool in Wharfedale?

    LCC have declared Pool in Wharfedale as an Air Quality Management Area and are currently working on an Action Plan to address the issues. Further investigations are currently ongoing including traffic surveys and real-time air quality monitoring. Air quality assessments are being undertaken as part of the link road Outline Business Case (OBC) and further details will be provided when available. 

    What else is proposed?

    The LBA Link Route and Parkway Station are included within the Leeds Transport Strategy.

    Further information on Leeds City Council’s transport policy can be found here.

    West Yorkshire Combined Authority has set out a 2040 Transport Strategy in partnership with all councils and the Leeds Enterprise Partnership. To found out more about West Yorkshire Combined Authority projects please see here.

    Bradford Council’s transport policy and projects can be found here

    For further information on Leeds Bradford Airport’s Strategic Development Plan and its Surface Access Strategy, please see here.

The Parkway Station

    What has been done so far?

    West Yorkshire Combined Authority has appointed a development partner to undertake the outline design and business case for Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station on the Harrogate line. The Outline Business Case including technical and business case work will be completed by Spring 2019. The implementation of the scheme will be subject to the relevant rail industry approvals, availability of funding, and technical and business case feasibility.

    Where will the proposed new Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station be located?

    The station would be situated on the existing Harrogate line, approximately 360m south of Bramhope tunnel.

    What other locations for the station have been considered?

    Options for the station location have been driven by track alignment, signal locations, existing structures on the rail network, and proximity to Leeds Bradford Airport. 

    Why is the station not being built at the Airport Terminal building?

    At this stage, it is unlikely that a direct rail link will be affordable and offer value for money. Building a station at the Airport Terminal building requires an additional heavy rail link from the existing railway line to the Airport. WYCA commissioned some outline options appraisal work in 2016. The report indicated that a heavy rail link cannot be achieved without extensive tunnelling and cuttings which would incur significant costs. There is potential for a light rail or tram-train link option to link the Airport terminal to the existing Harrogate line. However, the cost for a tram-train / light rail link would be significant and would necessitate bespoke vehicles for a tram–train system.

    Although the costs for delivering the proposed Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway Station are still being refined it is anticipated that a Parkway Station will be able to deliver significant benefits at a significantly lower total cost. 

    How will airport passengers connect between the Parkway Station and airport terminal?

    It is expected that an airport shuttle bus which serves the long stay car park will call at the Parkway Station, using a dedicated pick up point in front of the station building. We will work closely with the airport and explore other opportunities and technology. 

    What is the anticipated journey time between the Parkway Station and terminal building for passengers using the shuttle bus?

    The distance to travel between the Parkway Station and airport terminal will vary depending upon which highway option is delivered. It is envisaged that the connection time from the Parkway Station to the terminal building will be in the region of 5 minutes. 

    What is the purpose of the station?

    The project objectives are to:

    • Improve access to LBA by public transport, especially rail, which will help to meet a long-held need in the region.
    • Provide park and ride opportunities for people to travel to and from local urban centres.
    • Connecting the airport and surrounding existing and proposed office developments at LBA to employees and customers throughout the City Region and beyond.
    • Connecting existing and proposed new residential areas to local urban centres such as Leeds and Harrogate for typically commuting and leisure purposes.

    When is the station likely to be open?

    At this stage it is not possible to confirm any opening date. We are developing an integrated delivery approach for both road and rail schemes to maximise synergies of both schemes. This could see the start of construction in 2022/23, but we are also looking to maximise the opportunity for delivery of the station and the associated connector roads in advance of the LBA Link Route if timetables suggest this would be beneficial. The delivery programme is subject to the availability of funding, assurance processes of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the viability of the business case, the relevant statutory processes, and the rail industry approvals.

    How would the new station be funded?

    Development funding has been secured by Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority from the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP)

    This funding is approved to develop the station up to the completion of Outline Business Case. Further development and implementation of the scheme will be subject to the availability of funding, assurance processes of WYCA, the viability of the business case and the relevant statutory and rail industry approvals. The project is subject to approval at a number of stages prior to the start of construction to ensure the scheme continues to show value for money. The project could be funded by a mix of public and private sector funding. 

    How much will the new station cost?

    To be confirmed. The anticipated cost of the station is still being determined as part of the development process.

    What provision will the station have for car parking?

    Development of suitable car parking provision at the site will be a continuous process throughout the development of this project. Our current assumption is to achieve car park capacity of around 350 spaces. We will continue to work with Leeds City Council to develop deliver the most appropriate car park solution that meets the needs of passengers.

    Vehicle access to the station would be accommodated via a new access road, turning circle and pickup / drop-off point. The station will incorporate parking spaces for blue badge holders, with low energy lighting and CCTV.

    Will a charge be made for parking at the station?

    Most rail station car parks in West Yorkshire do not apply charging, however, some locations are charged on a case-by-case basis. Charging will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis if it is beneficial to the business case of the scheme which ultimately brings benefits to the passengers.

    No decision has been made about whether the rail user car parking will be charged or not at this stage. 

    Will a new station on the Harrogate line result in any closures of existing stations, or impact on current service provision?

    The proposed Leeds Bradford Parkway Station would be in addition to the existing stations on the Harrogate line and would not result in any station closures. 

    With regard to potential rail service, at this stage of development it is too early to know, however WYCA will work with the rail industry and Transport for the North to work out a timetable that best serves the demand for passengers on this route.

    Will buses stop in the station car park?

    Development of suitable bus service provision to this station will be a continuous process throughout the development of this project. We will continue to work with Leeds City Council and bus operators to deliver the most appropriate services that meets the needs of passengers. 

    Will the station be staffed?

    Based on the anticipated footfall of the station, the station will be categorised as a staffed station with a station building. The provision of staff at the station, however, is a commercial decision for the operator. We will be working closely with the operator to ensure that a suitable level of staff presence will be provided to the proposed station.

    What passenger waiting facilities will the station have?

    Our current intention is to provide a station building with potential to accommodate a retail unit, ticket facilities and waiting area. Covered passenger areas will be provided on both platforms.

    Will the station have toilets?

    Current proposals include the provision of passenger toilet facilities.

    All trains calling at the station are equipped with on-board toilet facilities.

    Will the station have lifts and be complaint to modern accessibility standards?

    Yes, the station will be designed to the latest accessibility standards which will include the provision of passenger lifts to be platforms. These lifts will be larger than those at other commuter stations to ensure there is sufficient capacity for airport passengers with luggage.

    How many carriages will the platforms be able to accommodate? Will this cater for future growth?

    Platforms are currently designed to accommodate 6-car trains which should be sufficient to meet the requirements of the likely services.

    Has an Environmental Impact Assessment been carried out?

    The need for an Environmental Impact Assessment will be determined during the next phase of development works as part of the statutory planning process.

    Who will be responsible for operating and managing the station?

    Our current assumption is Northern will operate and manage the station. This, however, might be subject to change as the station is more developed and this will be reviewed as part of the wider considerations for WYCA.

    Will the station have CCTV?

    The station will be covered by a CCTV system including cameras located throughout the station platforms and car park.

    What facilities will be provided for cyclists?

    The station will have secure cycle parking facilities.

    Why can’t the old railway line between Otley and Leeds via Yeadon be reopened?

    Whilst the disused railway line between Otley and Leeds remains largely intact, reopening disused railway line requires significant capital and revenue funding which is not available at the moment. At present WYCA has no plans for reopening this line and we are developing a new station to serve Leeds Bradford Airport which is more affordable. Development funding is already secured for the development of the Parkway Station up to the completion of the Outline Business Case.

    However, we will in due course be developing a new rail policy and reviewing network gaps, including reopening lines, new stations, services and infrastructure will be part of WYCA’s considerations.

    How will this serve local residents and workers?

    The Parkway Station will offer improved connectivity to local residents and those working in the area. The proposed car park facilities will provide opportunity for residents to park at the station and continue their onwards journeys by train, avoiding the need to drive in to city centres, especially Leeds or Harrogate. Equally the station will have the potential to provide walking and cycling routes with from the west along the new spur road and wider highway network, and connecting in to the existing footpath network to the east, giving residents in Cookridge the opportunity to walk directly to the station.

    What impact will the station have on Scotland Lane?

    The station will require connection to the wider highway network. Impact on Scotland Lane would be dependent upon which highway option is pursued. Should link route option A be delivered then the station would connect to this highway via a new spur road (connector road), ensuring traffic can access the station without travelling along Scotland Lane.

    It is acknowledged that Scotland Lane in its current form would not provide suitable highway access to the park and ride station. Therefore should link route option A not be delivered one option would be to undertake significant works to widen Scotland Lane to the north of the station spur road to accommodate station traffic, both rail passenger and airport shuttle buses. An alternative option may be to construct a new section of highway from Scotland Lane to the LBA long stay car park. 

    Would an upgrade to facilities at Horsforth station be a better solution as opposed to building a new rail station?

    The option of serving Horsforth rail station with an airport shuttle bus services was previously considered. The overall journey time of this option is less attractive than a LBA parkway option. Also, due to the constraints of the local highway network near Horsforth station, it would be a challenge to provide a reliable shuttle bus services between Horsforth station and LBA. Whilst it may be feasible to operate a bus link between Horsforth station and Leeds Bradford Airport, doing so would not meet all the objectives of the LBA Parkway Station.

    LBA parkway will also serve as a park and ride station, offering commuters in northwest Leeds greater opportunity to travel to urban centres without having to use their cars for the entire journey. This requires a significant car parking facility, currently shown at 350 spaces in outline designs for LBA parkway. Horsforth station currently has 69 spaces and work to investigate options to increase parking facilities here showed only 10 additional spaces could be achieved without the acquisition of third party land. The report also showed that due to the presence of listed buildings at the entrance to Horsforth station, and close to the junction of the station access, Station Road, and Troy Road, it is not possible to make the required highway improvements that would allow safe operation of a large car park at Horsforth station.

    Another objective of LBA parkway is to improve connectivity for existing and proposed businesses operating in and around Leeds Bradford Airport. An improved Horsforth station is unlikely to be as attractive to these businesses compared with a new station located closer to their operations.

    One other consideration is the passenger facilities at Horsforth station, which do not match the expectation identified by stakeholders for the Parkway Station. In order to achieve the specification for a Parkway Station Horsforth would require significant improvements to its passenger facilities and again, the space available suggests that this would not be feasible.

    Trains on this line are already very congested. Will building this station make my journey even more crowded?

    West Yorkshire Combined Authority is aware that availability of train capacity and seating is a key challenge in this area in particular during peak hours. We are working with the operators on the route through Rail North to influence their timetable and deployment of rolling stock so that trains are deployed in the way that benefits passengers. In the medium and longer terms, WYCA will work closely with the Department for Transport and Transport for the North to support a case for further investment on rolling stock and train capacity. 

    What other engagement will be taking place in the future?

    Further public engagement will follow at each step of the process on this project’s development. 

    What train services will call at the station?

    Development of a suitable train services timetable on this route will be a continuous process throughout the development of this project. Our current intention is to achieve a minimum of a two trains per hour service pattern at this location. We will continue to work with the relevant train operators and Transport for the North to deliver the most appropriate timetable that meets the needs of passengers based on the network capacity and the availability and suitability of the rolling stock. 

    Will the station have facilities to purchase a ticket?

    Ticket vending machines will be provided at the station.

    Trains on this line are already very congested. Will building this station make my journey more crowded?

    The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is aware that availability of train capacity and seating is a key challenge in this area in particular during peak hours. We are working with the operators on the route through Rail North to influence their timetable and deployment of rolling stock so that trains are deployed in the way that benefits passengers. In the medium and longer terms, WYCA will work closely with the Department for Transport and Transport for the North to support a case for further investment on rolling stock and train capacity. 

The Link Route (road)

    Have you considered a road tunnel?

    Yes, it has been considered, but the costs of significant tunnelling, especially if passing beneath the airport, would be prohibitive.

    Should a new link road progress it is possible that some tunnelling will be considered to reduce the environmental impact.

    For Link Route Option A, the alignment is particularly constrained between Layton Road and Bayton Lane where it would pass between the Horsforth Golf Club clubhouse and the residential properties on Layton Road and Layton Rise. The road would be several metres below ground level, which would reduce its visual and noise impact, requiring retaining walls to limit the amount of land used and avoid property acquisition. A short tunnelled section in this vicinity is being considered to further reduce the localised impact, although this would be very expensive (approximately an additional £20m) and therefore whether this is practical will depend on the affordability and strength of the business case.

    Is there going to be any improvement to walking and cycling facilities?

    Both Options A and B include walking and cycle facilities:

    • Inclusion of high quality Non-Motorised User provision along the length of the link road proposals –segregated footway (2m) / cycleway (3m)
    • The development of connections, including bridges, to provide continuity of access for Public Rights of Way (PRoWs) that may be severed by a proposed link road
    • Provision of upgrades, including improved connections and enhanced crossings for existing PRoW where possible
    • Potential to incorporate connections to the proposed Parkway Station and proposed employment site.
    • Provision of at-grade crossing opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians where the scheme connects to the existing highway network

    What else is being done to reduce congestion for car users? – Other junctions in the area restrict traffic accessing any link route

    Within northern and western Leeds there are proposals for the improvement of the existing highways. Junction improvement schemes at A6120/A647 Dawsons Corner, Fink Hill/Leeds Outer Ring Road and Dyneley Arms (A660/A658) are being progressed as part of the Corridor Improvement Programme (CIP). The aim is to deliver benefits for all road users with an emphasis on reducing journey times in order to improve connectivity and accessibility to economic growth sites. We have previously consulted on proposals for Dawsons Corner.

    Transport for the North (TfN) has been developing proposals for investment in transport infrastructure that will support transformational growth in the north. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Council (LCC) have been providing inputs to these studies. Suggestions for a road improvements programme in NW Leeds and vicinity including opportunities for changing a section of the A6120 Leeds Outer Ring Road to dual carriageway and further capacity enhancements at Horsforth Roundabout. West Yorkshire Combined Authority and LCC await confirmation of the proposed interventions that will be included in TfN’s Investment Programme. At the same time Leeds City Council has submitted an Expression of Interest to WYCA to progress work to investigate the strategic case, implications and opportunities arising from dualling the A6120 Leeds Outer Ring Road and capacity enhancements at Horsforth Roundabout.

    Leeds City Council are also developing proposals for the A6110 Southern Outer Ring Road between Stanningley Bypass and the White Rose.

    Improvements to the Harrogate Road/New Line junction in Bradford are being progressed by Bradford Council and will reduce congestion and offer improved and safer provision for cyclists and pedestrians. Harrogate Road is a key commuter route between Bradford, Rawdon and Harrogate, as well as being the primary access between Bradford city centre and LBA.

    In addition to the proposed LBA Parkway Station, rail based park and ridefacilities will be extended at Guiseley (200+ spaces) and New Pudsey rail stations. An extension at Apperley Bridge rail station has also been identified for a future delivery phase of the WYTF Rail Park & Ride Programme. 

    There are plans to implement new Smart City signalling improvements at 35 junctions and 20 pedestrian crossings, helping to reduce delay and improve air quality. This project is funded from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) and is focussed in North West Leeds extending from the city centre to Guiseley, covering the A65 and A657 corridors. This will complement Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme proposals for bus service improvements along A65. 

    What will the speed limit of the Link Roads be?

    The speed limit for Link Route Options A and B would need to fit with surrounding road speed limits and take into account design and safety considerations. The working assumption at this stage is that this will be around 50mph but will be reviewed through subsequent design processes.

    Will the link route be lit?

    The working assumption is that Link Route Options A or B would be unlit, except at junctions. This will be reviewed through the subsequent design processes taking account of impacts of lighting on safe operation of the airport. 

    What are the future public transport proposals?

    LBA is currently served by bus services mainly connecting to Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate. Further details of these and other services can be found here.

    These services are operated by commercial bus operators. It is possible that any Link Route (Option A or B) could accommodate rerouted or new bus services but this would need discussions with commercial bus operators once a preferred option is identified / as the scheme progresses.

    A Parkway Station proposal is also being consulted on jointly. Improving surface access, generally, to LBA is considered to be important; this includes both rail and road access. 

    Why is a new link road needed and what benefits will it have?

    There are a number of longstanding transport problems in North West Leeds currently, including congestion, which is one of the main constraints to affect accessibility to the airport. This is due to the road network within the vicinity of the airport operating at high capacity during peak times, resulting in longer and increasingly unreliable journey times. A lack of intervention will likely result in increased amounts of congestion and delay on the network, exacerbated by future passenger growth at the airport and the proposed development sites set out in LCC’s emerging Sites Allocation Plan. A new access road to LBA will provide more capacity on the road network to accommodate the current and forecast future congestion and create improved resilience and journey times. 

    Have you considered alternative routes / why are these the three preferred routes at this stage?

    A number of alternative routes in this area have been considered, with studies looking into the feasibility of a link route initially undertaken in the late 1990s.

    A wider connectivity study has recently been undertaken which considered a number of alternative link road options including those to the north, east and west of LBA. Assessment found that whilst these alternative options aligned well with some of the objectives, potential link routes in those locations generally served areas with relatively low population density and were unlikely to provide as many benefits.

    Given the various constraints such as undulating topography, location/position of airport infrastructure and environmental sensitivities, the three corridors identified are considered to be the best options. The additional work undertaken since the previous engagement has added more detail to the routing, including consideration of issues such as junction requirements, walking and cycling facilities and impacts on existing environmental sensitivities amongst others.

    How will the proposals affect congestion, traffic volumes and journey times?

    It is anticipated that traffic volumes and congestion along the main existing (A65/B6152/A658) corridor will reduce as a result of an alternative, more direct route connecting towards LBA. Further detailed transport modelling work is being finalised to establish the scale of change resulting from the different options being considered. Further details will follow when available. 

    Will other routes be downgraded e.g. Scotland Lane?

    Any possible changes to existing routes will be considered at later stages of scheme development when a preferred route is selected. Changes to other sections of the existing highway network will be dependent on the Link Route option that is proposed to be progressed to a more detailed design and pending further details in relation to the Parkway Station.

    How will the Link Route proposals affect safety?

    Initial accident analysis does not reveal a significant safety issue in the vicinity of the airport and LCC’s ‘Personal Injury Accidents in Leeds Sites for Concern 2013-2017’ report does not identify any clusters of accidents in this location. However, Bayton Lane does have a relatively poor safety record compared with national averages for similar roads. It is not anticipated that safety issues will worsen as a result of any of the proposals. Detailed traffic modelling analysis will be undertaken as part of the business case preparation and further details will be provided when available. 

    What mitigation is proposed to reduce impacts on residents and properties?

    Whilst bringing benefits to existing routes, it is recognised that Link Route Options A and B will introduce some adverse impacts. Areas have been identified and indicative mitigation measures outlined including steeply sloped verges, allowing the road to sit below eye level, and tree/hedge planting to lessen visual and noise impacts.

    Opportunities to mitigate impacts in Option C are limited given the constrained nature of the route through a relatively densely populated area. It is anticipated that Options A and B would remove some traffic from the B6152/A658 corridor. Pedestrian crossings are included along Option C.

    Will the Link Road open up the area for development?

    The Link Road scheme is not proposed to support new developments. There is currently no intention to provide junctions along the Link Route Options A and B other than those connecting to existing highways i.e. A65, A658, Whitehouse Lane and potential for access to the Parkway Station as appropriate.

    LCC’s (draft) Site Allocations Plan, expected to be adopted in Summer 2019, sets out the locations for development across Leeds. A proposed employment site is located to the north of Whitehouse Lane. There are no other proposed employment and housing sites in the Aireborough and North Leeds area that result from the provision of a link road.

    Do the scheme options represent good value for money?

    A business case for the scheme needs to be submitted to, and approved by, WYCA for funding to be allocated to the scheme. This work is underway and a value for money case will need to be presented as part of the business case. If WYCA is not satisfied that the scheme will provide sufficient value for money funding will not be awarded. Further details will be provided at the consultation in late 2019.

    Are funding contributions from LBA being provided?

    Funding, if approved, would be provided by the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund (WYPTF). A contribution will be sought from LBA (although this has not yet been agreed). It is important to note that LBA brings significant benefit to the regional economy which justifies the use of WYPTF monies for scheme(s) that improve surface access to the airport.

    Should the Link Route be a dual carriageway?

    Initial traffic modelling work was undertaken to identify the highway standard required for a proposed Link Route option. This testing considered the need for accommodating changes in demand as well as environmental and financial impacts of constructing a wider route option. The results of the tests identified that a single carriageway would be the most appropriate standard for the link route given the forecast demand resulting from growth at LBA and the wider NW Leeds area and the need to minimise impacts resulting from development of a new road. 

    What is a Green Bridge?

    Natural England define a Green Bridge as an “Artificial structure over road or rail infrastructure which is either vegetated or provides some wildlife function…. Fragmentation of the landscape, loss of its patterns and features and disruption to ecosystem connectivity are major problems. Green bridges can play a part in ensuring connectivity is retained or reinstated.”

    Green Bridges are relatively new in the UK but are being considered as part of the design strategy for LBA Link Route Option A to provide for mixed use habitat and people crossing point (maintaining connectivity of Public Rights of Way).

    Will the scheme(s) impact on trees / woodland?

    All three options include new roads or road widening that will impact on existing trees / woodland.

    Replacement of trees / woodland and supplementary provisions are being considered as part of the design strategy. Further details will be included in subsequent design stages once a preferred option is identified. 

    Will the scheme impact on Common Land?

    Option B may have some impact on the Common Land near Bayton Lane. If Option B is progressed re-provision will be included as part of the scheme.