19 May 2017
Speech by Councillor Andy D'Agorne to the Council Executive on 18 May 2015
Firstly, I must congratulate all those involved in making significant improvements on the original specification – with Euro VI diesel as a minimum this will meet the government criteria for a Clean Air Zone, which I hope the council will move on very quickly to get in place in York – as a minimum following the public transport based model that Oxford, Norwich and Brighton already have in place. This is not the ‘zero emission capability’ we stated to government in our own third Air Quality Action Plan 2015, which also stated under challenges “There is still considerable uncertainty about the on-road performance of Euro VI vehicles. If Euro VI vehicles do not perform as expected, the number of UK zones exceeding the EU limit values by 2020 may be greater than currently predicted.”
The latest government guidance it was forced to publish this month to tackle air quality is still weak, but sets a clear direction for low emission transport. CYC must now urgently consult on our own implementation policy for a Clean Air Zone and start to roll out other priorities we set ourselves in the annual status report this time last year, such as anti- idling measures. It is disappointing that while the contract can specify the maximum length of a blade of grass at park and ride sites it omits any requirement for drivers to switch off engines when waiting at timing points or changing drivers such as at the pollution hotspot on Rougier St. I would call on members and bus operators to demonstrate commitment to National Clean Air Day on Jun 15th by a ‘switch off’ campaign, including signs at all park and ride site stops and the stops on Rougier St.
It is also disappointing that while fare price is rightly regulated through the life of the contract there is no expectation to require vehicles to be upgraded to zero emission within a set timescale, meaning vehicles could be ten years old by the end of the contract (Euro VI being introduced in 2014) At the least the contract should state that York Clean Air Zone will require zero emission capability (including hybrid vehicles) by 2020.
Other aspects which we pushed for are very welcome such as overnight parking provision at Askham Bar, funding for marketing plus continuing the Park and Pedal scheme which I got introduced at the Designer Outlet and the Boxing Day service. However it is disappointing that later running on a Friday and Saturday evening hasn’t been included which would have helped the city centre evening economy and air quality – I would hope we can still convince the operator to trial this from a northern and southern site as part of the launch package.