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Find out about air quality in York

Welcome to JorAir - City of York Council's new air quality website.

JorAir - it's your air, help protect it!

Latest news is published below as and when it happens...check back regularly for updates!

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Latest News

New single, greener taxi licensing policy

City of York Council’s newly approved taxi licensing policy aims to cut pollution from York’s fleet.

Consolidating all previous taxi licensing decisions into one single policy, the new rules also plan to restrict harmful emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles to improve air quality in the city.

The council currently licenses 183 hackney carriage and 580 private hire vehicles in the city which have a significant impact on air quality.

York’s new policy requires new and replacement licenced vehicles to meet certain emission standards for nitrogen dioxide and particulates that damage health as well as carbon dioxide, a ‘greenhouse gas’ which affects the environment.

Vehicles applying to be licensed as taxis must meet a minimum Euro 5 emission standard for petrol, Euro 6 for diesel, or be ultra low emission vehicles from 1 June 2017 for replacement hackney carriage vehicles, and from 1 November 2017 for replacement private hire vehicles.

York introduced the UK’s first low emission taxi incentive scheme to encourage taxi drivers and firms to use greener vehicles. Currently one in ten York taxis are a hybrid or electric taxi.

An eight-week consultation with taxi and private hire operators also brought about an amendment to the policy regarding wheelchair-accessible vehicles to limit costs and choice.

Any taxi driver about to replace or renew their vehicle and who has any queries can contact taxi.licensing@york.gov.uk

Posted 12th May 2016

York secures ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status.

News image City of York Council has been awarded £816,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) after becoming the only Yorkshire location out of eight in the country to achieve ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status. The money will be used to fund a city-wide network of hubs, providing ultra fast, reliable and convenient electrical charging.

The Go Ultra Low Cities fund is one element of a comprehensive £600 million package of measures from OLEV to be used by 2020. The package also includes £400 million of guaranteed money for individual plug-in car grants,investment in low emission buses and taxis, and research and development funding for innovative technology.

The announcement follows the recent news that York has also secured £308k from DfT’s Clean Bus Technology Fund to retrofit 28 school buses used in around York with the latest Selective Catalytic Reuptake exhaust technology.

Posted 26th January 2016

York’s Third Air Quality Action Plan approved

News image City of York Council’s third Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP3) supports the “polluter pays principle”, in that it is targeted at reducing pollution from the vehicles that pollute most. Various studies undertaken in York have shown that diesel buses contribute disproportionately to nitrogen dioxide levels in York. AQAP3 proposes a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city centre with entry requirements based on a combination of bus emission standards and the frequency at which they enter the city centre. The most frequent services would be required to be ultra low emission in the city centre by 2018.

Whilst the decision to approve a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for the city has been referred to Full Executive for consideration, a number of measures have been approved for further examination by officers, including:

• A progressive approach to dealing with vehicle idling, with measures including working with bus operators to adhere to their existing anti-idling policies; erection of signage, warnings by enforcement officers and potential fines.

• A review of the taxi licensing system to further encourage the use of low emission vehicles in the taxi fleet

• Further development of the business case for a freight transhipment / consolidation centre with an associated compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling facility

• A review of council procurement policy to promote the uptake of low emission vehicles

• Raising public awareness of poor air quality and its impact on public health

Progress with measures will be reported to the Executive Member and Scrutiny Committee on an annual basis via an ‘Annual Status Report’.

The approved Air Quality Action Plan, containing a full list of measures, is
available to view here. The final revisions to the report are detailed in the minutes of the Decision Session - Executive Member for Environment, 14th December, 2015, available to view here

Posted 4th January 2016

National Air Quality Action Plan

News image The UK Government is required by the European Commission infraction proceedings and the Supreme Court ruling of 29 April 2015 to submit a revised National Air Quality Action Plan to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The new national AQAP (NAQAP) must aim to achieve compliance with the EU limit values for NO2 as quickly as possible in all UK zones via a new and improved set of air quality improvement measures. DEFRA recently consulted on the new draft NAQAP: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/draft-aq-plans

City of York Council’s air quality officers considered the measures proposed within the NAQAP. The NAQAP proposes few new measures and relies mainly on what DEFRA terms optional “Clean Air Zones” based on Euro IV petrol and Euro VI diesel emission standards. The DEFRA proposals are actually for low emission zones and should not be confused with the Clean Air Zones that have been proposed within York’s Low Emission Strategy and AQAP3 since September 2013.

DEFRA modelling assumes that the Euro VI emission standards will deliver the expected level of emission reduction from new vehicles over the next five years. There is currently limited evidence available on the performance of Euro VI vehicles. However, recent testing of Euro VI diesel cars and other vehicles has shown that many of these fail the emission tests in both the laboratory and real world driving conditions. In addition, the recent VW scandal has demonstrated that reliance on Euro emission standards for delivering air quality improvement is a risky strategy. Higher than expected levels of NO2 emissions from Euro V diesel vehicles are known to be one of the main reasons for the current continued exceedance of national airquality objectives in York. York’s detailed response to the NAQAP can be viewed here

Posted 24th November 2015

Ultra Low Emission Cities (ULEC) Bid

News image City of York Council is one of 12 local authorities that were shortlisted to become an exemplar ultra low emission city. We are currently awaiting the results of this bid.

The bid includes measures to encourage the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles and alternative fuels across the city and will build on existing measures such as York’s ‘pay as you go’ electric vehicle recharge point network, incentives for low emission taxis and the rollout of low emission buses.

Posted 21st July 2015

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