The number of buses travelling through Bond End could be dramatically reduced if Harrogate Borough Council agrees a proposal to ban non-low carbon buses from the area.
Coun Bill Hoult (Lib Dem, Knaresborough) proposed that the council applies for powers “to require service buses passing through any area that is designated as an Air Quality Management Area to be of a low carbon emission design,” at a meeting last night (Wednesday October 2).
Coun Anne Jones (Lib Dem, Scriven Park) seconded the motion, saying : “Bond End residents have been putting up with this intolerable pollution for a long time, we owe it to them to do all we can to provide positive solutions.”
Coun Christine Willoughby (Lib Dem, Knaresborough East) supported the motion and said: “We need to address the issue of low carbon buses urgently.”
Currently around 350 buses travel through Bond End each day, and the area has the highest level of NO2 emissions in North Yorkshire.
Craig Temple from Connexions buses, who run the X1 service through Bond End said: “This is not good news, as it could jeopardise our service.
He added: “I believe it is unfair to put the blame on buses - there are hundreds of cars to every bus at this junction and giving priority to buses in order to remove cars would surely be much more worthwhile.
“After all, congestion is the cause of pollution - not the vehicles themselves.”
Both Connexions and Transdev are questioning what councillors mean by ‘low carbon emission design.’
Mr Temple said: “It depends what low carbon design means. We use low sulphur diesel already and our vehicles have very low emissions at their MOT test.”
Nigel Eggleton from Transdev buses said: “If the council means hybrid or electric vehicles, they are hugely expensive and we may struggle to justify that expense.
“Buses are a very small proportion of the traffic flow and in terms of emission per passenger buses are very low.”
Knaresborough’s deputy mayor, Tony Handley, lives on Bond End and thinks the problem is the volume of buses.
He said: “The buses are an obvious contributor to the problem. There are an awful lot of them that run this route empty. I do think the route is over-serviced.
“It seems unusual that there are people across the district crying out that there are no buses when we have so many here.”
The Bond End area was first deemed an Air Quality Action Area in 2010, after tests found that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) breached recommended levels.
See next weeks Knaresborough Post for a report from the meeting.
Levels measured in 2010 were 44, while the permitted limit is 40 and in 2012, they measured at 56.98.
Last month a row erupted at a County Council Area committee meeting after the highways department revealed banning HGVs on Bond End would do little to resolve the town’s air pollution problem.