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York looks at congestion commission to ease air pollution

City of York council seeks independent commission on traffic congestion to address air quality problems

City of York council is to further discuss plans to set up a ‘congestion commission’ to tackle traffic congestion – a significant contributor to poor air quality in some areas of the city.

York council is looking at a number of measures to ease air pollution

York council is looking at a number of measures to ease air pollution

Proposals for establishing a body to look at congestion in the city were put to the council’s cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday (February 10), and were passed despite opposition from opposition from Conservative councillors – who have called the decision in for review.

Should it receive formal approval from the council, the commission would be tasked with producing a “robust evidence-based and participative approach to developing strategic recommendations for the management of congestion in York.”

Engagement

Commenting on the plans, councillor David Levene, York’s cabinet member for transport, said: “It’s time for all of us to come together, with help from the our local communities and independent, world-class experts like Terry Hill and get to grips with congestion in our city.

“Doing nothing is not an option. Through the Commission we’ll be learning from best practice across the country and Europe to engage with residents and businesses in the city.”

It is proposed that the commission would be funded through the council’s Economic Infrastructure Fund, costing up to £135k. This includes provision for external commissioners, specialist advice to support the commission’s work, a citizens Jury, and publication and engagement costs.

Proposals recommend that the Commission has no more than nine members, of which four are elected Members of the council.

City of York council has previously looked at measures to tackle air pollution including an Air Quality Action Plan, which included measures to tackle vehicle idling and a clean air zone (see airqualitynews.com story).

It is estimated that the equivalent of between 94 and 163 people die prematurely each year in York due to the impact of particulate air pollution, and “of particular concern” are emissions from buses, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and taxis.

It is hoped that if approved by councillors, the commission could start work in October 2015.

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