The UK’s first ever solar powered Park and Ride centre is set to open its doors this week in Stourton, south Leeds. The £38.5m scheme will be powered with energy sourced entirely from solar panels and a battery storage system, with the latter paid for by the European Regional Development Fund.
In addition, the centre will be served by electric buses from First West Yorkshire – the largest bus operator in the region.
“Being able to launch the UK’s first solar-powered park and ride is a massive achievement for Leeds and a major boost to both the local environment, economy, and the city’s public transport infrastructure” said Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire. “This is a step forward in tackling the climate emergency and our wider aim of transforming the Leeds City Region into a net zero carbon economy by 2038. We hope commuters across the region will embrace the Stourton Park & Ride and opportunity to take advantage of a zero-emission journey, reduce their carbon footprint, contribute to cleaner air in the city and save themselves both time and money in the process.”
As a further incentive for people to use public transport, bus fares will be free for the first week of the site’s opening.
“One aspect of the Stourton Park & Ride that can’t be underestimated is the impact it will have on the local economy and businesses throughout the city,” said Kim Groves, transport lead for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. “Enhanced public transport links will not only enable firms to attract high calibre staff from across the south and east of Yorkshire but also significantly improve the daily commute for those already employed in Leeds.”
While the UK is not known for its sunny days, the region is still showing itself more than willing to progress this clean energy alternative, with the IEA reporting that wind and solar are expected to reach above 50% in the UK in 2030 – a higher figure than in any other country.