City of York Council met this week to consider approving plans for a Clean Air Zone which allows Euro III buses into the city centre.
The progressive system proposed is for only high-frequency routes to become zero-emission – effectively, electric buses – with medium-frequency buses of Euro IV or above allowed access until 2021, and occasional services of under five times a day Euro III or above.
The CAZ plan is the result of a report presented in 2016, which identified areas which needed air quality management, and analysed the bus traffic which was causing the larger proportion of the NOx pollution. The study found that 82% of the bus movements were provided by 49% of the fleet, on only 20 routes, including the Park & Ride services.
The P&R routes have already begun conversion to electric, with 11 buses already in operation, and CYC having secured £3.3 million Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme funding last August to help deliver the remainder, including charging infrastructure, by 2019.
CYC recognised the need for time to be given to operators to upgrade the fleet on medium-frequncy services (five to nine times a day) and low-frequency bus services (under five times a day) so from April is proposing Euro IV and Euro III limits (respectively) rising to Euro V and Euro IV by 2021. By 2024, the two lower limits will rise to Euro VI and Euro V.
The study’s predictions are that the proportion of medium-frequency buses (currently 11%) and low-frequency buses (7%) will reduce to 8% and 5% respectively by 2024.
The CYC executive was due to meet on Thursday (25 January) when the report is to be discussed.