Climate assembly calls for emissions charge in Blackpool town centre
Drivers of non-electric cars should be charged for visiting parts of Blackpool town centre in future, a new report is recommending.
The suggestion is among a raft of measures put forward following the resort’s first Climate Assembly held earlier this year.
It also calls for more cycling and pedestrian lanes to enable the resort to become a pedestrian and cycling friendly town by 2023.
Around 40 residents took part in a series of discussions during January and February.
A list of recommendations has now been made to Blackpool Council which declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019, committing it to work towards carbon neutrality across its services and companies by 2030, and across the town in a similar timescale.
A report submitted to the council says: “The Assembly wanted to be bold on transport, with clear targets and a vision for a town that prioritises electric public transport, cycling and walking.”
Proposals include the council should “implement an ultra-low emissions zone in the town centre by 2027, charging vehicles that are not electric for access.”
The Assembly is also calling for further measures to include cheaper parking charges for electric vehicles, switching to a fully electric bus fleet and encouraging businesses to increase the availability of charging points.
The report says the council “should commit to public transport being the primary choice for getting around and into the town by 2022 by making it more accessible, frequent and less expensive.”
It adds: “Blackpool should implement an ultra low emissions zone in the town centre by 2027, charging cars that are not electric to enter the busiest area.
“An increase in the use of electric vehicles across the system should be encouraged.
“Businesses need to increase the charging points they provide to their staff and customers to make it as easy as possible for people to use an electric vehicle themselves.
“There should be reduced parking charge for electric vehicles in the town centre, and a fully electric bus fleet. Taxis companies should be supported and rewarded to switch to an electric fleet in the long term.”
Public transport should become “the primary choice for getting around and into the town by 2022, by making it more accessible, frequent and less expensive.
“To do this, costs across the system need to adjust to make public transport desirable.
“Innovative approaches like distance-based fares, free fares, or time-based transfers are all worth exploring.
“By 2023, Blackpool needs to become a pedestrian and cycling friendly town, with decent and accessible walking lanes that feel safe and cycle lanes that are clearly marked with good infrastructure that cannot be taken over by cars or parking.”
The Assembly also considered the environmental impact of the millions of visitors who travel to Blackpool each year and said the council should be “campaigning for more frequent/faster electric train services ” and a park and ride service on the edge of the town centre.
The report adds participants “had ideas to improve how people visited Blackpool in a more carbon neutral way, recognising that huge numbers arrive by car from elsewhere.
“This included park and ride outside the town, and campaigning for more frequent, faster electric train services to the bigger towns.
“They also wanted to make the electronic systems around public transport more reliable and transparent, including proper investment in digital infrastructure around bus timetables and routes across the city.
“Other ideas included greater use of car sharing schemes and public transport vouchers or season ticket loans via employers.”
The recommendations are now being considered by council officers with the aim of producing a viable action plan.
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