York congestion charge off the agenda

City council committee to advise making cycling, walking and public transport more attractive

by Martin Thomas   June 11, 2010  

York Aerial view.jpg

Plans to introduce a congestion charge in York seem certain to be dropped now that a group set up to find ways to prevent future gridlock in the city has decided not to recommend it. 

Instead, the City of York Council cross-party traffic congestion scrutiny committee recommends focusing on improving public transport and making walking and cycling more attractive alternatives to car use instead of imposing London-style road charging.

Introducing some form of congestion charge was among the options presented to residents when the issue was the subject of a huge public consultation exercise earlier this year, but 39% came out against it, the largest vote for any of the options tabled.

The committee’s findings are now likely to be analysed by the council’s scrutiny review group before being formally approved by the authority’s executive.

“A cross-party consensus has been reached that we will not recommend charging at the moment,” said the congestion committee’s chairman Councillor Dave Merrett.

“Clearly, trying to get the money for schemes without charging should be looked at in the first instance, and the single most popular option included increasing the number of people walking, cycling and using public transport, particularly for journeys of less than five miles.

“We are also recommending looking at an extra park and ride site in addition to those already finalised, money for major junction improvements on the Outer Ring Road, seeking to improve rail links and looking at a freight depot. But improving local bus services has to be top priority in terms of the ability to get people about by different means.

“It also has to be recognised that some of these measures are more expensive than others, and that we are not saying charging would never be looked at again.”