Will York be first city to ban pri­vate cars?

Daily Mail - - News - By Sami Quadri

YORK could be­come the first city in Bri­tain to ban pri­vate cars from driv­ing in the cen­tre.

Coun­cil chiefs have backed plans to end all ‘non-es­sen­tial’ ve­hi­cle jour­neys into the city cen­tre by 2023.

His­toric York, which at­tracts al­most seven mil­lion vis­i­tors a year, has pre­vi­ously faced crit­i­cism for gen­er­at­ing il­le­gally high lev­els of air pol­lu­tion.

To com­bat con­ges­tion and pol­lu­tion, no ve­hi­cles – apart from buses and those used by dis­abled driv­ers – will be al­lowed to drive in an area within the city walls.

The ban will ap­ply to both diesel and petrol cars. It is likely to ap­ply to elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles too.

It fol­lows news that Bris­tol is set to be­come the first UK city to ban diesel cars by 2021.

The City of York coun­cil aims to be­come car­bon neu­tral by 2030, two decades be­fore the Gov­ern­ment’s tar­get date for net zero emis­sions. Twelve lo­ca­tions in the city cen­tre ex­ceed na­tional air qual­ity stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to a pol­lu­tion map re­leased last year by Friends of the Earth.

A bus stop on Rougier Street was the most pol­luted spot in 2018, fol­lowed by a taxi rank out­side a rail­way sta­tion.

Deputy coun­cil leader Andy D’Agorne said: ‘York is com­mit­ted to be­com­ing a car­bon neu­tral city by 2030. Re­duc­ing con­ges­tion and sup­port­ing more res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to move around our won­der­ful city through walk­ing, cycling and pub­lic trans­port is es­sen­tial to meet our am­bi­tion.

‘Our largely pedes­tri­anised shop­ping ar­eas have al­ready trans­formed the city cen­tre and we are look­ing at op­tions to take this to the next level. A car-free and thriv­ing city cen­tre, which is ac­ces­si­ble to those with lim­ited mo­bil­ity like blue badge hold­ers, is achiev­able but only through de­tailed plan­ning and en­gage­ment with those most af­fected by the pro­pos­als.’

Coun­cil­lor Jonny Craw­shaw, who rep­re­sents a city cen­tre ward, said: ‘This is about re­duc­ing and re­mov­ing non- es­sen­tial car jour­neys across the whole city, while im­prov­ing the range and at­trac­tive­ness of al­ter­na­tive travel op­tions.

‘ Fewer cars on York’s roads would en­able faster, more re­li­able pub­lic trans­port from the sub­urbs and vil­lages into the city cen­tre. Fewer cars on the roads would make cycling feel safer and a more vi­able op­tion for more peo­ple.’ In Novem­ber 2019 Bris­tol City Coun­cil an­nounced plans to ban all privately owned diesel ve­hi­cles from en­ter­ing a clean air zone within the city cen­tre be­tween 7am and 3pm by March 2021.

Crit­ics said the move would make it harder for peo­ple to get to hos­pi­tals. Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor Claire Hiscott said those on low in­comes could be af­fected as ‘if you need to get to the hospi­tal and you have a diesel ve­hi­cle you will face a hefty fine if you cross that zone in an emer­gency’.

‘More re­li­able pub­lic trans­port’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.