York city wide Low Emission Strategy (LES/LEZ)

City of York[LAName] – 23 Jan 2014


Overarching Low Emission Strategy (LES) for the City of York (adopted 2012).



Overarching city wide Low Emission Strategy



CYC's LES addresses:

- the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2); and

- the need to protect residents from the harmful effects of local air pollutants, especially nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM). (p.6)


CO2 emission reduction targets include:

- reducing CO2 emissions across CYC operations by 25% by 2013

- signatory to FoE campaign to reduce (CYC) CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020


An estimated 94-163 people die prematurely in York each year due to poor air quality (Pro rata, based on national estimates). Three air quality management areas have been declared for NO2, where concentrations regularly exceed national air quality objectives. Measures in the LES are intended to improve air quality for the health of the population, the aim being to reach a situation where there are no exceedances of the air quality objectives.

[ITTypography] [IQValue] [IUTypography] [IQMethod]
  • Indicator Value Measure / Method Quality Assurance


LES Interventions: includes awareness and understanding campaigns, encouraging low emission measures at new developments, low emission vehicle incentives/infrastructure, measures for the council fleet, inward investment and sustainable transport measures.

Delivered to date: Public recharging network in CYC car parks and additional charging points at hotels via Zero Carbon World partnership, ECO Stars scheme, public EV event, funding for electric Park & Ride and other  buses, funding secured for rapid charging facilities, electric council fleet car purchased and large scale switch of council grey fleet trips to car club, LEZ feasibility completed, anti-idling study completed, bus strategy work completed, LES planning measures being obtained via negotiation but no official guidance adopted as yet, hybrid taxi project set up.


The Overall Vision of the LES is 'To transform York into a nationally acclaimed low emission city', with the following features

- Population and business / development community aware of their environmental / health impact and play active role in reducing emissions 

- New development designed to minimise emissions and maximise sustainable transport access

- Rates of walking and cycling comparable to those in exemplar European cities

- Noticeably greater numbers of alternatively fuelled vehicles (electric, gas and hybrid) than other UK cities and widespread eco-driving behaviour

- Well developed low emission vehicle infrastructure 

- Minimised vehicles accessing air quality hotspots and lorries, buses and taxis meeting minimum emission standards and embracing emission reduction technologies

- Lowest emission Council fleet affordable and minimised emissions from procured services

- Local air quality and global warming issues considered and tackled together

- Inward investment by low emission technology providers actively sought, encouraged and supported

- Innovation and investment in infrastructure and services to reduce emissions are actively sought, encouraged and promoted.

- (As a result of the above) no exceedances of air quality limits


Quantified LEZ impacts: (emissions and air quality), quantified anti-idling impact (emissions), quantified cleaner bus improvements (emissions) - all currently confidential but have emerging status and likely to be available by end 2014

[ITTypography] [BQValue] [BUTypography] [BQMethod]
  • Indicator Value Measure / Method Quality Assurance


Progress (Dec 2013, York CC): Good progress being made with delivery particularly in relation to EV charging network, cleaner buses, LEZ feasibility, ECO Stars adoption, anti-idling feasibility and fleet improvements.  Progress is regularly reported on http://www.jorair.co.uk

Noteworthy (Dec 2013, LEP): First city level LES in the UK.  Currently investigating  applying different emission standards for buses based on frequency of service - will include requirement for electric buses on some services.  York have also made good progress with EV charging provision in absence of Plugged in Places funding.  The pay as you go public charging network is a novel approach as is work with Zero Carbon World.  Have undertaken a novel approach to LEZ assessment using a coupled Paramics / Phem model

Appraisal Process:
The LES sets out measures to reduce emissions. Further work is ongoing to develop a new Air Quality Action Plan to set targets for delivery of the measures. This will involve:

(1) Collation of baseline data on current emissions and sources of emissions;

(2) Assessment of emission reduction potential of each of the proposed measures;

(3) Setting of emission reduction targets for the proposed measures.

Indicators will include:

- Awareness and understanding [resident surveys]

- Uptake of LE technologies [LE vehicles observed in traffic counts]

- Sustainable travel indicators [via LTP3 reporting]

- LES measures at new developments [no. developments meeting CSH, zero Carbon and BREEAM standards; no. developments submitting travel plans; no. EV charging points on new developments; no. developments incorporating LE technologies; value of developer contributions to wider LES measures]

- EV / gas infrastructure [no. of EV recharging points and gas re-fuelling points available]

- Reduction in emissions from public transport [observed bus and taxi fleet]

- Reduction in emissions from HGVs [observed HGV data]

- Minimising emissions from council buildings [GHG emissions from CYC building]

- Minimising emissions from council fleet [total business mileage; emission standard of vehicles; proportion of LE vehicles used or procured; no. staff undertaken eco-driving / maintenance]

- Encourage LE investment [no. people employed in 'green' jobs; no. low emission industries; no. of LE technology courses / training opportunities]

- Reduce traffic growth and congestion [via LTP3 reporting]

- Increase percentage of freight deliveries by LE vehicles [observed HGV data and Freight Study]

- Local AQ Improvement [Annual and hourly average NO2 concentrations in AQMAs]

Action details

Action: City-wide Low Emission Strategy [ACName]


Management: Internally developed policy document within a unitary authority. Aims and objectives agreed by an internal steering group, document drawn up by air quality officer. Document took approx 30 months from start to adoption. Document is integrated into Council Plan, LTP, LDP and CCFAP.

Cost: Document development and delivery supported by Low Emission Partnership regional champions funding and AQ grant 2012/13 (£54,490). A low emission officer post has been funded by LSTF and is overseeing majority of current delivery.

Further work: An LES based AQAP is in progress which will aim to assess likely impact of the LES measures and allow further prioritisation of measures.

Assessment notes


Assessment: Feasibility studies have been completed for a bus based LEZ, an anti-idling campaign and a low emission bus strategy.  These contain some emission reduction estimates. 


Adopted October 2012. Measures are classified into short (end of 2012), medium (end of 2013), long term (beyond 2014)

Main Actor

  • City of York Council

Basic details

  • Local authority: City of York [Unitary]

  • Location: York (City) [Region: North East]


  • 23 Jan 14 – Updated 05 Mar 14

Action Type

  • Policy or framework strategy / implementation