City of York Council is seeking views on the introduction of a new Clean Air Zone in York’s city centre, to help tackle traffic pollution which can be harmful to people’s health.

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Unlike other parts of the country where a Clean Air Zone is a mandatory requirement, the council is proactively looking to introduce the new zone.

This will help to reduce the amount of traffic pollutants in York’s city centre, which are mainly caused by diesel vehicles.

The council’s looking at many ways to improve air quality in the city centre. One of these options is by working with bus operators to apply the proposed Clean Air Zone to local bus services.

The authority knows (through York’s Third Air Quality Action Plan) that local bus services make up three per cent of the traffic but cause 27 per cent of the main pollutants in York.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for the environment, said: “Targeting buses which most frequently pass through the city centre would have the greatest impact on reducing harmful pollutants by forcing these to be electric or low emission vehicles.

“However, we understand the vital role that the city’s local bus services play in bringing people into York to work, shop or visit so it’s important that the public give their views on these proposed changes through this survey.”

The survey is live at or you can ask for a paper copy at West Offices.

To find out more about which bus services could be affected, or for more background on this proposal, visit:

Why we need to reduce air pollution

We don’t always see it but air pollution harms our health. Evidence shows that spending time in areas with high levels of air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms, damage lung function and cause other health problems such as heart attacks, strokes and low birth weight. This ill health means time off work and school and a cost to the NHS and our economy. Poor air quality is also linked to about 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year.
City of York Council has a legal duty to improve air quality to protect health.

What are we already doing?

City of York Council already has several long term policies in place to manage traffic levels and reduce pollution. These aim to:

• Reduce the total number of vehicle trips - by encouraging walking, cycling and public transport use
• Reduce taxi emissions - by mandating emissions standards for taxis operators
• Increase electric vehicle take up by providing electric vehicle charging points, converting some buses from diesel to electric and transferring goods from HGVs to bicycles or lower emission vehicles
• Limit further pollution – by encouraging low emission developments
• Prevent unnecessary pollution by tackling vehicle idling
• Lead by example – by reducing pollution from council vehicles

City of York Council has already assisted bus operators to obtain grants for new electric Tour and Park & Ride buses. We now need to take further steps to reduce emissions from the rest of the local bus fleet.

Clean Air Zone Proposal

The council is proposing to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ). This will require any individual bus operating on a public local bus service, into the Clean Air Zone, five or more times per day to be ultra low emission bus standard.

Ultra low emission buses (ULEBs) are those that have no exhaust emissions (e.g. electric buses) or have significantly reduced pollution emissions such as Euro 6 diesel buses, gas powered and electric hybrid buses.

If you want to find out more about air quality in York visit

To find out more about sustainable travel in York visit

Next steps

The council will consider responses to this consultation and a further report will be presented to a meeting of the council’s Executive later in 2018.