Improving local air quality and reducing carbon emissions are essential to the future wellbeing of the city and its residents, but this has to be balanced against opportunities for economic growth, new development and the ability of residents and visitors to travel freely around the city.
Reducing vehicle trips and achieving good levels of 'modal shift' to walking, cycling and public transport use may not be enough to deliver health-based air quality objectives all locations in York.
In recent years, vehicle emission standards have failed to reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide arising from diesel vehicles. Many of these diesel vehicles, such as buses, taxis and lorries, provide essential transport services to the city and cannot simply be removed from the road network.
To tackle this issue, the council has adopted a Low Emission Strategy (LES) which aims to reduce emissions from individual vehicles by encouraging better driver behaviour, good vehicle maintenance and the uptake of alternative fuels and low emission vehicle technologies wherever possible.
Since publication, our LES has delivered:
- electric buses across Park and Ride sites, with more electric buses planned
- a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for buses
- the world's first electric double-decker tour bus
- a Low Emission Taxi Grant Scheme for taxi drivers
- an extensive public electric vehicle (EV) recharging network across council car parks and Park and Ride sites as well as Low Emission Planning Guidance which sets minimum standards for EV charging points on new developments
- an ECO Stars Fleet recognition scheme
- increased use of low emission car club vehicles (particularly amongst our staff); the council has also agreed to move to an electric fleet for all council vehicles under 3.5 tonnes
Our current Air Quality Action Plan includes measures to help deliver the council’s Low Emission Strategy, including low emission vehicles and charging infrastructure, as well as continuing to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport.