York Council has deferred publication of its Local Transport Plan, but swift action needs to be taken on transport policy if York is to solve its congestion issues and meet its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. The Trust’s Transport Strategy for York, launching February 2022, will present recommendations to encourage a dialogue so that a consensus is reached and action can be taken.
In 2019 over three quarters of residents surveyed told us that congestion, pollution and carbon emissions from transport were serious problems for York. We established a Citizens’ Transport Forum, which met in February 2020 and told us that the Council needs to be bold and visionary in its approach to transport in order to tackle these problems.
The Council agreed to start work on a new Local Transport Plan for York in January 2021, with the aim of producing a draft for consultation in January 2022. They invited York Civic Trust to provide advice on what might be included. The Council conducted its own Our Big Conversation survey in the summer, and found that among York residents congestion was a serious problem for 90% of people, pollution for 82% and transport’s impacts on climate change for 80%.
Yet the Council has decided to defer publication of its Local Transport Plan, without indicating when it will appear. The Trust have worked hard over the last year developing proposals for a new transport strategy. We do not claim to have all the answers, but we are clear that the options need to be discussed, and a consensus reached so that the Council can start to take action.
We have therefore decided to bring together our proposals in a Transport Strategy for York which we plan to launch in February 2022. We hope that this will stimulate the debate on future transport policy which is urgently needed, and that we can see significant progress on the ground within the next two years.
Professor Tony May, Chair of the Trust’s Transport Advisory Group, said:
“York’s Local Transport Plan is now over ten years old, and much has changed since then. Most other historic cities have already updated their transport strategies. The government will soon be instructing all local authorities to produce new Local Transport Plans, and to demonstrate how these will lead to reduced carbon emissions. It has made clear that future funding will be dependent on the quality of these Plans. Any new Plan will be contentious, and it is crucial that the Council starts the debate on alternative approaches soon. We hope that our new Strategy, to be launched in February, will stimulate that debate.”