The UK’s first fully solar-powered park and ride site is served by a fleet of zero-emission electric buses that operate shuttle services to and from Leeds city every 10 minutes.
The official opening marks the 150th anniversary of public transport in West Yorkshire. The scheme 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.
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.
Other features of the new park and ride site include 26 fast electric vehicle (EV) charging ports and four 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.
Stourton park and ride has been made possible by funds obtained from the Department for Transport to develop Leeds’ Public Transport Investment Programme, together with a grant that was awarded by the European Regional Development Fund to create a smart energy grid on site using sustainable technology.
BAM Nuttall, appointed to develop the site, started detailed designs in January 2019, to turn a field into this fully operational, sustainable park and ride today. This success is a result of strong collaboration across the construction partners, Leeds City Council, their Development Partner WSP, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Department for Transport, and underpins the ambitious programme to transform the city’s public transport system.
Martin Bellamy, Managing Director, BAM Nuttall, said: “BAM Nuttall is proud to be involved in the extensive collaboration across Leeds City Council, businesses and local communities, delivering the first fully solar-powered park and ride in the UK at Stourton. The ambition to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and save carbon has been a key focus for teams leading the design and delivery of this sustainable transport hub.”
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, said: “We provided over £170 million to help Leeds City Council provide better, quicker and greener journeys for local people and it’s fantastic to see some of that money go towards a green initiative like this one.
“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: “It was a pleasure to attend the official opening event of Stourton park and ride, the third park and ride site in Leeds which will cater for commuters coming from the South of Leeds.
“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: “It was great to see so many people attending Stourton’s official opening. Usage of this ground-breaking facility is already growing.
“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.”
Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “The Minster enjoyed for herself the speed, simplicity, and comfort of a zero-emission journey from the city centre to Stourton in less than 15 minutes. We expect this to continue as more customers see the benefits of time and money saved through sustainable travel which helps to reduce congestion and create cleaner air in the city.
“We were also able to demonstrate how, with fully electric buses, we are building on the continued success of Park & Ride in Leeds with our regional and local authority partners.”
Image: courtesy Leeds City Council