To mark Clean Air Day on 17th June, York Green Party is urging residents and visitors to York to make use of the city’s new electric buses. As part of the City of York Council joint administration, York’s Green councillors have collaborated with First to expand the city’s fleet of electric buses across the Park & Ride network, making York Park & Ride the largest zero emission bus service of its kind in the country.
Air pollution has made the news again over the last year, as dramatic decreases in traffic during the first coronavirus lockdown have been followed by a resurgence of air pollution in York and other cities and towns across the country. According to the Clean Air Day campaign, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK every year.
Bus passenger volumes fell significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, with a low of around 10% of pre-covid levels in spring 2020. As restrictions ease and people begin returning to public transport, Greens on the Council are working to ensure that the city’s buses are a sustainable, efficient and accessible option for people travelling around York. Last year, 21 new all-electric double-decker buses entered service on the York Park & Ride network. Each of these buses saves almost 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilometre travelled – a combined estimated saving of 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
Green Party Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Transport, said: “This year’s Clean Air Day reminds us that the problem of air pollution has not gone away. The introduction of electric buses by First Bus in partnership with the City of York Council is an important step towards improving air quality in the city. By taking an electric bus or choosing to walk or cycle instead of driving, you can be part of the effort to reduce harmful pollution.”
As part of its commitment to improving York’s air quality, City of York Council is continuing to roll out clean air measures. The expansion of electric buses is just one part of this larger strategy. Other measures include:
- An ongoing Air Quality Action Plan and Low Emission Strategy for the city
- The introduction of the country’s first Clean Air Zone for buses in 2020
- A feasibility study looking into the use of low-emission modes of transport for deliveries within York
- Phased replacement of council’s fleet of bin lorries with electric vehicles
- The recent trialling ‘School Streets’ outside two schools in York (Clifton Green and Badger Hill) in partnership with Sustrans where access is restricted at peak drop-off and collection times to protect children from the dangers of traffic and harmful emissions.