Private cars are to be banned from York’s medieval city center by 2023, under plans approved by councilors. The City of York Council wants an end to “non-essential” car journeys within the city walls.
The authority, which is run by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, wants to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the UK government’s net zero target.
It said those who rely on cars, such as disabled residents, would be exempt. The idea was proposed by Labour councillor Johnny Crawshaw but received support from a majority of councilors, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“People’s first response might be to be a bit anxious about what we’re proposing,” Mr Crawshaw said. “That doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. The public mood is changing, particularly in relation to climate change.”
York is not the first UK city to consider some form of ban on cars – Bristol recently approved plans to bar diesel cars from entering parts of the city center.
Mr Crashaw said it was not about preventing visitors and residents from accessing the city center, but to do with improving air quality and cutting congestion. Reducing the number of cars in the city center would mean faster and more reliable public transport from the suburbs and villages and would make cycling safer, he said.