“Non-essential” private cars are set to be restricted from York’s centre to meet climate ambitions and cut congestion and pollution.
Councillors in the UK’s City of York have voted to ban private cars from the city centre by 2023 to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution.
Under the new plans, “non-essential” private car journeys would be restricted from the centre, although people with disabilities who rely on cars would still be able to drive in the city.
The resolution also requires the council to explore opportunities to restrict non-essential cars from the roads immediately adjacent to primary schools at drop-off and pick-up times. It asks the council to work with local traders to ensure deliveries continue and businesses are not negatively impacted by the changes.
Johnny Crawshaw, the councillor who put forward the motion, told BBC Radio York it was about “opening up a discussion about how the whole city works”.
"Rather than it being a punitive ban on cars, it’s actually much more about a really positive step to say that we want to make cars the second choice.”
He commented: “What I’m hoping we can do is start thinking about ways that we can get around the city in a more sustainable way, so improving walking and cycling infrastructure but also making public transport as accessible and attractive an option as possible so that rather than it being a punitive ban on cars, it’s actually much more about a really positive step to say that we want to make cars the second choice.”
The City of York Council is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Crawshaw said that it was estimated that 60 York residents a year die prematurely due to poor air quality. He added that the city also loses up to £30 million a year from its economy due to congestion on its narrow streets.
York’s city council will now consider how to implement the motion.
In November, Bristol announced plans to become the first city in the UK to ban diesel cars as it bids to reverse illegal levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Several cities around the world are introducing similar measures on older, more polluting cars – Barcelona this week imposed a ban on pre-2000 gasoline cars and pre-2006 diesel cars during the day-time on its city streets.
In November, Bristol announced plans to become the first city in the UK to ban diesel cars.
Cities such as New York and San Francisco are bringing in no-car zones and Paris goes car-free in the centre one Sunday per month.
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