THE publication of a key document which will set out the vision for the future of transport in York has been pushed back until after council elections next year. 

City of York Council has said the Local Transport Plan Four (LTP4) is of “key importance”, but it has been subject to repeated delays. 

A report last year approved by senior councillors said a final version of LTP4 would be published by the end of April this year. 

But Labour leader Cllr Claire Douglas said the plan had been delayed until after the local elections in May 2023.

City of York Council did not deny this when asked to comment.

York’s current transport plan (LTP3) is still valid until 2031, but campaigners argue it urgently needs updating, given the climate emergency in particular.

There has been mounting frustration from York Civic Society, the Labour group and one of the Liberal Democrat’s own scrutiny committee chairs about the delay.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has specified spring 2024 as the final deadline for new Local Transport Plans, but has not yet published its latest guidance for local authorities.

“But most major local authorities are already well ahead with producing theirs,” said Professor Tony May, transport expert and chair of York Civic Trust’s transport advisory group. “There is no reason why the City of York Council should have to wait until the final deadline,” said Prof May, who added that a draft document could be ready by December.

Cllr Douglas said: “Confirmation that the Lib Dem-Green council intends to leave the development of a Local Transport Plan for York until after the next election shows it has already checked out, and intends to leave the council in paralysis for the next 10 months.

“Many of the big issues like this – planning how those living in new developments in the future, around Huntington and Haxby for example, can travel around freely – are crucially important. This work cannot be shelved for a year.”

Local Transport Plans are statutory documents, but the council has said it will produce a Local Transport Strategy, which has less detail, in the meantime.

The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Andy D’Agorne, said updating LTP3 had been a Green Party commitment since taking power with the Liberal Democrats in 2019.

He added: “The overall vision in this policy hasn’t changed, although addressing climate change has increased urgency and the city geography and Local Plan proposals may be different, as are some of our travel options. 

“I am committed to bringing forward a Local Transport Strategy alongside our climate change strategy and work on the statutory LTP4 over the next few months.”

James Gilchrist, director of environment, transport and planning, said: “In York we have already begun the process of developing an updated Local Transport Plan.  

“The work will be refined once the guidance is issued and to the timescales set out by the DfT. 

“If we produce a Local Transport Plan in the absence of the guidance there is a risk that the document we produce will not comply with the guidance and will therefore not be effective in attracting funds to enact York’s transport policies.”