News: A city in the UK wants to be 'car free' by 2023
'New year, new me.'
The mantra said by millions of people at the start of every year as they start New Year's resolutions, and one that they'll probably break 10 days later. However, for the UK city of York, their 'new me' is going to be car-free, if all goes to plan.
We've known for a while now that pollution is becoming a bigger problem for the planet, but ideas are starting to be put into action as we head into the new decade. For instance, a charity that collaborates with YouTubers 'Mr Beast' and Mark Rober known as 'Team Trees' saw 21.3 million trees be planted by the end of 2019.
York City Council has other plans. Proposals within the council suggest that private cars should be banned in the city centre unless there are 'essential journeys'. York already contains pedestrianised areas, but this approach is going to be around the whole city centre.
Cities are a huge source of pollution due to the high amount of cars within. Image: 'AWP' via Unsplash.com
The idea for this scheme follows a decision for diesel cars to be banned from Bristol city centre in March 2021, a move currently waiting for government approval. This could potentially lead to decisions that affect millions of motorists in the UK.
As to exactly what 'essential journeys' are, York City councillor Jonny Crawshaw, says "We have three years to work out exactly what we mean by 'essential', but I think it's fairly straightforward. If you have mobility issues, you're a blue badge holder or that sort of thing, then obviously we want you to be able to drive in if you need to."
York has seven million annual visitors, and the reduction in pollution from private cars would cause a hugely positive effect on the environment. On the other hand, how would it affect local businesses?
My inner business studies student can't help but notice that banning cars in the city centre could destroy the businesses that specialise in cars. A quick Google search will show that there are a large amounts of car businesses in York that could face the threat of closing down due to this prosed law. Businesses that offer services such as car wraps or used cars that are positioned in the centre of York may be forced to relocate or close.
Cycling is an efficient form of transport that is also environmentally friendly! Image: David Marcu via Unsplash.com
But can this potential law also have a benefit to the local businesses? Absolutely. Increased transport in the form of bicycles will present itself as an opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Shoppers will also be likely to go to new shops that they wouldn't have gone into if they were driving.
But what does this mean for the car enthusiasts around the world? It could be the start of something that we dread - the decline of the car. This can be turned around if technology is developed for a new type of car that has very low emissions; but only time will tell. For now, we must do everything we can in order to protect the environment before it is damaged beyond repair.
York City Council are only discussing this idea at the moment; but I wouldn't be surprised if plans go ahead. What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments below.
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