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‘Public mood is changing’ says councillor as York unveils plans to ban private cars from city centre

North Yorkshire city’s council approve measure due to take effect from 2023

York City Council has unveiled plans to ban private cars from the centre of the North Yorkshire city by 2023 in a bid to cut air pollution caused by vehicle emissions.

The council – jointly run by the Liberal Democrats and Greens – is also aiming to make the city carbon-neutral by 2030, reports BBC News.

The policy, initially proposed by Labour councillor Johnny Crawshaw and now backed by the council, is aimed at eliminating “non-essential” journeys by car within the medieval centre, the area bounded by the city’s historic walls.

However, there will be some exemptions such as for disabled people who rely on their cars for transport.

Crawshaw said: “People's first response might be to be a bit anxious about what we're proposing.

“That doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. The public mood is changing, particularly in relation to climate change.”

He added that the move was aimed at tackling congestion and pollution, and would also make cycling safer and public transport quicker and more reliable.

“This is about reducing and removing non-essential car journeys across the whole city, while improving the range and attractiveness of alternative travel options,” he explained.

“Fewer cars on York’s roads would enable faster, more reliable public transport from the suburbs and villages into the city centre. Fewer cars on the roads would make cycling feel safer and a more viable option for more people.”

A plan will now be drawn up and put out to consultation ahead of the scheme being implemented.

Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Fenton said: “We need to understand the reasons for journeys into, within and around the city, to what extent they are classed as essential and where are the gaps we need to fill to make this a reality.”

Bristol has also unveiled plans to ban diesel cars from the city centre, while earlier this year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan brought in the Ultra Low Emission Zone, aimed at improving air quality in the capital.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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