A Step Toward A Car-free Future

19 March 2019

Green Party councillor, Ben Price, is asking Norwich City Council to support World Car Free Day, which is celebrated every year on 22nd September. This year, World Car Free Day falls on a Sunday, and Councillor Price is asking the council to declare that day ‘Car Free Day’ in Norwich.


Councillor Price said:

“Declaring a Car Free Day is the first step toward showing that Norwich is ahead of the curve; a city leading the fundamental changes needed to stave off the most extreme aspects of climate change;  a healthier city where people can walk and cycle more safely.


Norwich people are forward-thinking, positive and pro-active in reducing their impact on the world around them. Today’s motion celebrates that and, I hope, will help people who still feel there is no option other than driving, to cross that psychological barrier. Car Free Day is a first step toward changing the way we live and interact within our cities.


Air quality is a huge concern now; the growth of children’s lungs is being stunted by traffic pollution. Children are suffering in other ways, too, such as through asthma. Poor air quality affects us all. One of the city council’s aims is to improve the health of residents and this motion supports that principle.


With cars off the road and the streets open to people, this motion allows us all to take more exercise and hold different events. Public space-sharing can be fun and exciting. We can have street parties, play streets, more cycling and walking events.


I believe that it’s possible to make better use of the city centre. This is a real opportunity for the Norwich business community to back, encouraging people to shop and spend locally. We could see the city centre being used differently and potentially, more local spending than on a normal trading Sunday.


Norwich needs to make itself attractive to future-facing, clean, low-carbon businesses and industries, encouraging them to locate here. By doing this we can create the jobs that the city needs for future generations. I’m confident that the future will bring solutions to many problems; technological solutions, such as automated cars, and changes in people’s habits and work patterns, which make driving less necessary.”


As well as supporting Car Free Day, Councillor Price is taking further action to improve air quality for children in the city. He will be asking the council to test the quality of air outside primary schools. He said:

“Many schools in London have air quality monitors to find out how polluted the air is that children are breathing in. Some even have green barriers of climbing plants between playgrounds and roads to help reduce pollution. This is the sort of thing we now need to consider for Norwich.”


1.      Motion – Car Free Day – proposer Cllr Ben Price, seconder Cllr David Raby

Car-free cities greatly reduce petroleum dependency, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, automobile crashes, noise pollution, urban heat island effect and traffic congestion. The Norwich 2040 vision seeks to be a livable city which has excellent air quality.

Norwich City Council has taken the bold step of removing petrol and diesel vehicles from the Lord Mayor’s Procession.

World Car-free Day takes place on 22 September.

Council RESOLVES to:

(1) declare 22 September ‘Car Free Day’ in Norwich

(2) take steps to discourage driving in the city on that day by actively promoting the event, including with the business community and partners

(3) support groups to close residential roads for community and play events on that day

(4) support cycling, and walking events across the city.


2.      Question

Councillor Price – Air Quality Outside Schools

The cabinet member will remember my question of a year ago, when I asked whether he would support the introduction of ‘pollution exclusion zones’ outside schools in the city. This  measure has now been recommended nationwide by Public Health England. As it does not appear to have been possible for air quality outside schools in Norwich to have yet been improved in this way, I am asking, today, if the cabinet member will agree to the council testing air quality outside schools in the city, beginning with the Lionwood infant and junior schools. Like me, parents of children at these schools are concerned about the effect that polluted air is having on the development of their children’s lungs, so will the cabinet member commit to the first step in improving air quality, which is to test it?

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