York to introduce a Clean Air Zone

City of York Council has proposed a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for the centre of York which will initially focus on buses.

Unlike other parts of the country where a Clean Air Zone is a mandatory requirement, the council say they are ‘proactively’ looking to introduce the new zone by 2020, in recognition of the impact that poor air quality can have.

The only detail of the CAZ so far proposes that individual buses that enter the Clean Air Zone five or more times per day must meet ultra-low emission bus standards (ULEB), such as Euro 6 diesel buses or gas powered and electric hybrid buses.

A report will be taken to Executive on Thursday January 17 outlining the feedback of the consultation, which over 250 residents and businesses responded to, including bus operators.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, said: ‘An overwhelming 90% of those who responded agreed that we should introduce a new Clean Air Zone by 2020.

‘We now need to take further steps to reduce emissions from the rest of the local bus fleet. Investing £1.6m will go a great way to tackling this issue, as well as introducing more electric Park & Ride buses across the network in 2019.

‘We understand the vital role that the city’s local bus services play in bringing people into York to work, shop and make use of key services.

‘Targeting the buses which most frequently pass through the city centre will have the greatest impact on reducing harmful pollutants by insisting on the use of electric or Euro VI diesel technology.’

Cllr Peter Dew, executive member for Transport, added: ‘The council has looked at many ways to improve air quality in the city centre, so we are delighted to be able to earmark £1.6m into working with bus operators to apply the proposed Clean Air Zone to local bus services.

If approved at Executive, the recommendations will be taken to Budget Council in February.

In December, the council approved plans to give parking discounts of up to 50% for people driving low emission vehicles.

It is thought that the changes could affect around 200 existing discounted season ticket holders and 1,100 discounted resident parking permit holders.