Infrastructure in the form of disused railway stations, forgotten roads and closed car parks could be revived in an effort to aid environmental concerns amid the climate emergency being declared.
This is after calls from Green Party Councillor David Blackburn at a climate emergency meeting to get local infrastructure that has been disused for decades back into working order, in the hope of getting more people to use effective public transport with the initial aim being to cut carbon emissions.
Cllr Blackburn stated that plans to reopen and integrate old stations such as Kirkstall, Lowtown, Pudsey and Stanningley would cut out the need for the use of cars.
“I wasn’t criticizing the council, I was making the point to officers of what we need to do, what we can do and what we need different funding powers to do.”
“Lack of adequate travel links”
He affirmed that this is a problem that has always been apparent when expanding the city and building new areas without adequate travel links to shops and work.
“Some of the questions and issues, of course, come straight from government funding. If there is not public transport, the nature of it is that people will use their own cars. There is old railway infrastructure there that should be reopened where it can be and linked into existing ones to improve transport links, congestion and reduce the need to travel everywhere by car.”
Councillor Blackburn insists the ideas he has presented are not new and says he has been calling for such ideas to be implemented since his 20s. But these are more important than ever after the climate emergency was declared in Parliament in the summer.
Residents in Leeds hope that the statements made by the Green party Councillor could lead to many positive outcomes.
Locals in the Kirkstall area of Leeds have supported the calls to reopen the disused local station that was closed in the late 1960s.
Kirkstall resident Melanie Robbins said: “Re-opening the station in Kirkstall would be a great idea. Especially as it is located near the Brewery residences which would encourage the students (and everyone else of course!) to use it instead of cars or taxis etc into town. Big thumbs up from me.”
The rejuvenation of Kirkstall station in particular would not be without its issues though, as other residents have expressed their concerns.
“Rebuilding Kirkstall station by the bridge might have been a better bet short term but adequate parking must be provided along with safe pedestrian access,” Gordon Toulson, another local resident, said.
However, this is something that Councillor Blackburn mostly opposes.
“The issue with parking is it mostly comes in the form of park and ride. Though this has its positives and can be desirable, ideally it would be good to cut out the need to travel by car in the first place. That is the hope of opening these stations.”
He added: “Whereas there could be other hopes and aims I maybe would like to see in the long term, such as reintegrating the city through the use of trams, we should be looking short term at delivering longer trains with more stops and stations.”