Bus operator calls to make Harrogate a “Low Emission Zone” that could see charges to drive in the town centre

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The CEO of Transdev, Alex Hornby,  is calling for a low emission zone in the centre of Harrogate.

He has said that bolder thinking is needed to ensure the ‘Harrogate Station Gateway’ scheme succeeds in cutting air pollution on the streets.

  • Low Emission Zones are schemes that cover specific areas  to tackle pollution
  • They discourage certain types of vehicles from entering a specified zone.
  • Typically, this will consist of a charge for the vehicle should it not reach a minimum standard for emissions to enter this zone
  • The idea is to encourage the use of cleaner vehicles and thus improve air quality.

Harrogate town centre currently has a number of bus operators that service the area, but Transdev is the only company to have received grants for electric buses.

A partnership of North Yorkshire local authorities has already secured a total of £31 million from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities fund for three separate projects in Harrogate, Skipton and Selby. The aim is to finalise designs and start construction work by summer 2022, with completion in 2023.

The ‘Harrogate Gateway’ forms part of a wider plan to cut emissions and tackle ever-growing traffic congestion across the town, including public transport and highway improvements. Key elements of the scheme include:

·         A better-linked public transport hub for buses and trains

·         New bus priority areas at Lower Station Parade and Cheltenham Parade

·         Options to reduce vehicle traffic to one or two lanes on Station Parade

The proposals aim to create a more welcoming town centre for bus and rail users with more safe space for pedestrians and a new area for public events.

An online consultation into the Harrogate Gateway proposals is underway and continues until Wednesday 24 March 2021.

To have your say and support The Harrogate Bus Company’s call for an ultra-low emission zone covering the bus station and Station Parade, visit: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/northyorkshire

The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said:

While we see the Station Gateway proposals as a positive step towards our shared aim of a low emission town, we must go further for our Harrogate’s future by making the most of this tremendous opportunity. Our positive experience with our ground-breaking Harrogate Electrics buses shows we can change our town’s air quality for the better if we do things differently – but we must do much more.

The creation of a low emission zone, covering the current bus station, plus Lower Station Parade which currently divides the bus and rail stations from the main shopping area, is vital if we are serious about improving Harrogate’s air quality.

The proposed bus priority measures at Lower Station Parade and Cheltenham Parade – the first such measures to be put forward in the town’s history – are a positive start, and are to be welcomed, but by themselves are unlikely to go far enough to achieve Harrogate Borough Council’s stated aim of creating a net-zero carbon economy by 2038.

Consultations on Harrogate’s 2016 Masterplan and the county council’s 2019 congestion study both showed majority public support for non-car solutions to traffic problems. Now is the time for bold thinking to make a vision of a congestion-free public transport gateway to our town a reality, with a low emission zone at its heart.

Lower Station Parade is a one-way street with two lanes of traffic, both of which are open to all road users. A low emission zone would mean access to Lower Station Parade and the bus station would still be available to the least polluting vehicles, such as hybrid and all-electric cars and vans, and all The Harrogate Bus Company’s buses, all of which meet zero or very low (Euro 6) emission standards – while making the area safer for pedestrians as well as vehicles by reducing overall traffic levels.



3 Comments

  1. As per usual we get a dis jointed set of ideas.Whilst we all realise that air polution and traffic problems need to be addressed it needs to be done with the whole of the H/gate area not just by tinkering with little small areas.By all means make walking and cycling safe but it should be rembered that there are many older people who are not able to cycle and walk.Public transport is not always an option,as not all areas have a decent service and if you have 2 or 3 shopping bags to carry there is no secure place to store them.

  2. Lockdowns have wiped out half the remaining shops in the already awful town centre, and if this charging nonsense is pushed through by the bus company it would be the final nail in the coffin of the town. It’s not London, people need to drive to the shops, or we can shift even more shopping to Amazon.

  3. Great benefit-to the retailers at St.James retail park,and of course to Transdev who want more people out of cras and onto the buses.

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