COUNCIL bosses say they are determined to fight for a rail link from Bradford to the airport, as a new report warns steep hills could make any scheme very expensive.

With public transport trips to Leeds Bradford Airport expected to treble by 2030, consultants were asked to look into the long-running question of how to link it with the cities of Bradford and Leeds by train.

The report, commissioned by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, has found that a light rail or tram-train system would cost between £70m and £360m.

It says a route towards Bradford would involve "extremely challenging" hills, steeper than any currently found on any light rail route in the UK, and so would need "extensive tunnelling and associated significant cost".

It says a new high-frequency bus system would be significantly cheaper.

But Bradford Council's transport boss Councillor Val Slater, who sits on the Combined Authority's transport committee, said they would continue to fight for the rail link for the sake of the district's economy.

She said: "Quite a lot of Bradford businesses do work with companies on the continent of Europe and further afield and to have that direct link can only benefit businesses.

"I think sometimes people think, when you talk about a link to the airport, you are just talking about holiday travel but it is just as important for business.

"It is one of our key aspirations. It is disappointing, we know, that the consultants have found that the geography is getting in the way.

"We are asking for other solutions to be looked at. Obviously, there could be a link via Leeds, but for us it is a quick link to the airport that is important. That would take longer."

Cllr Slater said the costs of a direct rail link might be high, but the benefits would be too - adding that the council's Labour administration and its Conservative opposition were "united" in fighting for the new line.

Conservative group leader Councillor Simon Cooke said getting a direct rail link to the airport, without going via Leeds, was one of the most pressing transport priorities for Bradford.

He said: "Saying, 'No, it can't be done' isn't a good enough answer, from most people's point of view. There is an engineering solution, let's make it work - otherwise we will never do anything."

Tram-train technology has been under consideration in West Yorkshire for the last decade. In 2007, a delegation of transport chiefs travelled from West Yorkshire to Karlsruhe to see how the German city's tram-trains could be used in the Aire Valley also to Leeds-Bradford airport.

The developments, as well as previously announced plans to rebuild Bradford Forster Square station and lobbying under way for Bradford to be included on the HS3 high-speed rail link from Manchester to Leeds, will be discussed by the council's environment and waste overview and scrutiny committee at City Hall on Tuesday.