Whilst air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and will continue to improve due to national policy decisions, there are some areas where local action is needed to improve air quality further.
Poor air quality is a significant public health issue; it can:
- put the health of our residents at risk
- create an unpleasant environment for visitors to the city
- contribute to climate change
- damage historic buildings
Where health-based air quality objectives are not met we declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and draw up Air Quality Action Plans (AQAPs) to improve air quality in the city.
Our Air Quality Action plan (AQAP) sets out the measures being taken to improve air quality and who is responsible for delivering them. It includes measures to help deliver the council's Low Emission Strategy as well as continuing to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
Through delivery of CYC’s Air Quality Action Plan, we have:
- secured funding to deliver fully electric buses and charging points at York’s Park & Ride sites; the council was also awarded additional funding in 2022 for more electric buses
- introduced a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for buses; within the CAZ, the most frequent buses are required to meet strict emission standards
- used a Low Emission Taxi Grant Scheme to encourage 30% of York taxis to change to low emission vehicles
- awarded ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and rolled out an extensive public electric vehicle recharging network
- agreed to move to an electric fleet for all council vehicles under 3.5 tonnes as part of a 4-year programme
- developed Low Emission Planning Guidance to improve air quality, reduce exposure and lower transport emissions associated with new developments
- developed measures aimed at deterring vehicle idling including the ‘Kick the Habit’ anti-idling awareness-raising campaign
- obtained DEFRA funding to carry out a feasibility study and subsequent pilot scheme to reduce emissions from deliveries
- promoted the government’s national ‘Burn Better’ campaign and worked with retailer to ensure correct certification of solid fuels
- continued to deliver on walking, cycling and public transport initiatives
Further updates on measures to improve air quality in York are provided in our Annual Status Reports.