- I​mage: Christopher Burns via Unsplash.com

News: A​ city in the UK wants to be 'car free' by 2023

The potential decline in cars on the road may be starting in the next three years...

42w ago


'​New year, new me.'

T​he 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.

W​e'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. P​roposals 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.

C​ities are a huge source of pollution due to the high amount of cars within. Image: 'AWP' via Unsplash.com

C​ities are a huge source of pollution due to the high amount of cars within. Image: 'AWP' via Unsplash.com

T​he 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.

W​e have 3 years to work out exactly what we mean by 'essential'

C​llr Jonny Crawshaw, York City COuncil

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."

Y​ork 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?

M​y 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.

C​ycling is an efficient form of transport that is also environmentally friendly! Image: David Marcu via Unsplash.com

C​ycling is an efficient form of transport that is also environmentally friendly! Image: David Marcu via Unsplash.com

But c​an 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. W​hat do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments below.

T​hanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more content from me, click here to see my profile. Why not check out my recent article - '5 controversial topics from the last decade of motoring' by clicking here?

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Comments (76)

  • This can’t be ideal. At least half of the people wouldn’t go and I’ve been to York and the centre and it’s quite big. So I couldn’t be interested of having to park a car up far away, go into the desolate streets (they would be) and find all the shops and restaurants are shut

      9 months ago
    • I can totally see the frustration; but there could be some benefits! It would lower the pollution (which is the main idea), but also make people more active, which can make people more healthy.

        9 months ago
    • Don’t take it the wrong way. Online shopping will make us less healthy as well, probably more than. Environment is a big thing but this will gravely annoy a lot of York residents

        9 months ago
  • A city without cars is not a city. It is a dumpster.

      9 months ago
  • As someone who lives in York I can see the benefits of this. It is awfully congested at times and cars are just pouring fumes out over the beautiful city. However, this will also be very frustrating for those who need to get places. Thankfully it’s a very small city so going around it wouldn’t take much longer...unless everyone drives around it.

      9 months ago
    • As a person who lives in York; what do you think the solution is? Is the car-free zone the way forward, or do you think cars should be allowed if we can get emissions low enough with technology?

        9 months ago
    • Certainly allow vehicles if we can develop the technology. It would be a huge inconvenience to pretty much everyone who lives in town itself. However, a congestion charge might work for the time being? Well, at least help.

        9 months ago
  • Never been there, but considering the comments, it seems like it is quite a good solution. I mean, making London a no-car city would make no sense, but for a city that's suffering from congestion, I do see a justification.

      9 months ago
    • I asked Ben W this earlier, but do you think that banning cars altogether is the way forward; or do you think we should keep cars and work on making cars more eco-friendly (with new technology)?

        9 months ago
    • I have better ways to keep it environmentally friendly with cars without annoying the working class and keeping the environmentalists happy as well.

      1-Convert old petrol cars to cleaner energy like hydrogen, Manufacturing EVs will do...

      Read more
        9 months ago
  • This is going to backfire pretty bad, The city NEEDS transport, Freight & People alike, You cant carry 1 ton of goods in a bicycle, Carrying groceries is also going to become a nightmare, People also need transport to get to their jobs.

    Why we can´t get people who thinks with their heads on the environment departments rather than the first Thunberg they find on the sidewalk? why they don´t ask people what would be more reasonable for the majority of people? like I don´t know... Using Hydrogen, Public transport, Reutilizing our stuff until it breaks... etc.

      9 months ago
    • The point about transport to work is well put. It's ok for the nine to five point shoed muppet who came up with this idea, what about the 18 year old woman who was in work at 0500 to make his coffee on the way in? How does she get to her minimum wage job...

      Read more
        9 months ago


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