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Local Work: Leeds/York

York and Leeds City Councils are working to roll out Low Emission Strategies across the Leeds City Region, with a comprehensive strategy planned for York and a range of initiatives encouraging alternatively fuelled vehicles.

February 2015

LEP and City of York Council

The Partnership worked very closely with City of York Council during the 2013-15 work programme, including development of Planning Guidance, an Air Quality / Public Health review and a case study for a major planning application. This will be added to the Low Emission Hub when the site has been through planning. The Hub also provides details of other work undertaken by York.

May 2013

York LogoUpdate: City of York Council

Following the adoption of the Low Emission Strategy in October 2012, York is now focusing on the roll-out of the LES measures and developing a revised Air Quality Action Plan.

The Eco-stars scheme was formally launched in York on 5th March, with 12 members already signed up and more in the pipeline. Installation of a pay as you go public electric vehicle recharging network in CYC car parks has commenced and funding to secure some rapid charging facilities has been secured. Integration of low emission vehicles into the CYC fleet has begun with a large number of pool vehicles and grey fleet journeys already replaced with a low emission car club scheme to serve council’s new headquarters. Nissan Leaf pool cars are to be introduced soon at the CYCs eco-depot. An electric vehicle event for the public was held at the York Designer Outlet centre in early April and CNG refuelling and electric bus feasibility studies are underway. York’s Low Emission Zone feasibility study using a coupled traffic micro-simulation and emissions model (Paramics and PHEM) was completed in March and the results are now being considered by the council prior to a decision being taken on the potential introduction of a low emission bus corridor during 2014.

For more information on York’s LES contact Liz Bates [email protected]

November 2012

York Electric CarYork Adopts overarching
Low Emission Strategy

York’s city-wide Low Emission Strategy was formally adopted on 9th October. It proposes a range of measures for reducing emissions of air quality and green house pollutants, focusing primarily on technology based solutions.

Progress with delivery of low emission measures has been greatly aided by employing a dedicated low emission officer (Derek McCreadie). Promotion of alternatively fuelled vehicles has now been incorporated into the local LSTF programme. For more
information visit and

Work already taking place includes: LEZ bus corridor feasibility study, Eco-stars scheme development, EST/internal fleet reviews, review of taxi emission standards, development of specification for public charging in car parks, free EV recharging points for Hotels initiative, testing of electric vehicles by CYC staff for potential leasing, progress on low emission planning agreements, especially securing EV charging points.

New work in planning for next year includes: a high profile public information campaign focussed on air quality, health and reducing emissions, gas feasibility study, idling emissions study, including legislation options and low emission vehicle demonstration days.

Leeds, Bradford & West Yorkshire LES Round Up

Leeds and Bradford have combined forces in undertaking Low Emission feasibility work. Leeds collated traffic data for both authorities, while Bradford worked with the Health Protection Agency to produce a draft joint health impacts assessment. Low Emission scenarios have been developed both for individual authorities and in combination. These will now be assessed for their potential impact on Air Quality. A combined economic assessment is also planned.

Meanwhile, the West Yorkshire Transport Emissions Group has secured funding to develop a county-wide Low Emission Strategy. The group comprises: Calderdale, Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. A detailed project plan is under development.

On fleets, Bradford is undertaking a gas trial within their fleet services. Leeds’ commitment to LEVs continues with trials of various vehicles and the proposed purchase of further CNG/CBM powered RCVs. Both authorities are encouraging commercial organisations to look towards similar LEVs and refuelling infrastructure.

April 2012

Wigan Local Development Framework - Development and Air Quality Supplementary Planning DocumentYork Releases 'Overarching' Low Emission Strategy Consultation Draft

On 23rd April 2012 City of York Council took a major step towards becoming the first local authority in the country to adopt an ‘overarching’ Low Emission Strategy (LES).

A consultation draft of the LES was approved by the York Cabinet on 3rd April 2012 and is now available for public viewing and comment prior to formal adoption in September 2012.

The document is of both local and national interest, with much of the development work funded by the Low Emission Strategies Partnership in support of York’s role as a regional low emission champion (a role shared with Leeds City Council).

The draft LES sets out the measures that York intends to take to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and protect residents from the harmful effects of local air pollutants. Targets for both CO2 reduction and local air quality improvement still remain a major challenge for the city. Two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) already exist in York and a third is to be declared later this month. The main source of local air pollutants is traffic.

York’s award winning Local Transport Plan already encourages residents and visitors to minimise vehicle emissions by walking, cycling and using public transport whenever possible. In recent years this has resulted in lower levels of traffic in the city centre but emissions from the remaining traffic, including lorries, buses and taxis remain too high. The LES seeks to reduce emissions from the remaining vehicles by improving standards of vehicle maintenance, encouraging more energy efficient driving and providing incentives and infrastructure to enable the uptake of lower emission vehicles and fuels.

Many of the principles in the York LES are based on the Defra / LESP ‘Low Emission Strategies Good Practice Guidance’ (2010):

View the LES Planning Guidance

The York document takes the LES concept a step further by applying LES principles to a wider range of activities beyond development planning such as marketing, land use planning, fleet management, procurement, transport planning and economic development. The LES has been fully integrated into other York policies such as LTP3, the emerging LDF and the Climate Change Framework and Action Plan (CCFAP).

Some of the measures proposed in the ‘overarching’ LES for York include:

  • Minimising the volume of vehicles and ensuring only the lowest emission buses, lorries and taxis available can access the areas of the city with the poorest air quality
  • Promoting and incentivising the use of low emission vehicles, particularly those which run on electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), bio-methane and / or make use of hybrid technologies
  • Increasing access to low emission vehicle re-fuelling infrastructure, such as electric vehicle re-charging points and gas re-fuelling systems
  • Investigating freight transhipment and electric vehicle deliveries for the city centre
  • Providing recognition and support for those vehicle operators who are leading the way in adopting low emission technologies and adopting industry best practices
  • Using licensing controls to improve the emission profile of local taxis / private hire
  • Promoting York as a centre of excellence for low emission technologies, attracting new businesses and industries and increasing opportunities for specialist ‘green sector’ training
  • Striving to lead by example by reducing mileage and emissions from vehicles used on council business and sharing our experiences of low emission vehicles and alternative fuels with others

Once formally adopted, the measures in the LES will be delivered through a new Air Quality Action Plan for the city (AQAP3).

It is hoped that York’s overarching LES will be the first of many across the country with a longer term aim of the project being to provide a ‘framework document’ for other LAs to adopt.

Air quality practitioners and anyone else wishing to view / make comment on the draft ‘overarching’ LES for York can do so by visiting:

The consultation closes on 18th May 2012.

For more information contact Elizabeth Bates, Principal Environmental Protection Officer, on 01904 551529, or by email at [email protected]

Vehicle demo day in LeedsOctober 2010

Leeds City Region

The Leeds City Region group, led by Leeds and York City Councils, are establishing the Low Emission Strategies (LES) approach in Yorkshire. Their ambitious programme includes putting in place a LES for York, implementing low emission vehicle technologies and vehicle emission research.

A Low Emission Strategy for York

York City Council is developing an overarching LES for the City, which will provide a coherent plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The strategy will include a package of measures, including using the planning process to mitigate emissions from new developments and supporting the uptake of low emission vehicles. Work to develop the strategy was approved by the Council Executive in June 2010, and consultation will take place during 2011. Liz Bates (City of York Council) gave a presentation to the Low Emission Forum (31/01/11) on the process to develop the LES for York.

Planning Guidance

The group is pushing forward with efforts to widen the uptake of LES amongst local authorities in the City Region. A key part of this is assisting local authorities in developing Supplementary Planning Documents based on a national LES template. A workshop was held in Leeds which brought authorities and stakeholders together to discuss the key issues.

Low Emission Vehicles

Initiatives are also underway to stimulate the uptake of low emission vehicles. In York, First Group plc are trialling three hybrid buses alongside a fully electric bus. Leeds City Council has been trialling bio-methane fuelled refuse collection vehicles, and has won funding for permanent bio-methane refuelling infrastructure. A demonstration day to promote alternatively fuelled vehicles was held in Leeds in October 2010, which attracted a large number of participants and was very well received.

Although a Yorkshire and Humberside Plugged in Places bid was not successful, it highlighted the need for electric vehicle infrastructure at a regional level and improved networking opportunities. The Plugged in Places steering group is continuing to meet and other possible funding sources are now being examined.

Improving techniques for monitoring and modelling vehicle emissions

Funding has been obtained from Defra to support further in-use emissions monitoring within the Yorkshire region and development of a regional database of in-use vehicle emissions. Monitoring will commence in Spring 2011 in conjunction with the Institute of Transport Studies in Leeds. Modelling of current fleet and hybrid bus emissions are being undertaken in York to support LES development and help make the case for hybrid technology.


RGI project plan - PDF Document (10kb)

Contact details

Low Emission Strategies Partnership

[email protected]

Regional Champion - Liz Bates, City of York Council

[email protected]

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