Companies delivering to York businesses will be encouraged to get their parcels sent to a delivery hub near the city walls in a bid to cut air pollution and congestion.

City of York Council is to set up a trial for a ‘last mile delivery’ hub which will see parcels then delivered into the city centre and surrounding areas on foot and cargo bikes.

The city has been given £285,000 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the project.

The council has identified one of its own buildings, 107-109 Walmgate, as a suitable delivery hub for the nine month pilot, which is set to begin in September.

Delivery operators such as Amazon, Royal Mail, Hermes and DPD were surveyed as part of a feasibility study and the council will now look to sign operators and city centre businesses up to the trial. 

Coun Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, said: “It sounds very exciting and encouraging. We regularly discuss the constraints of a tight city centre.

“Increased last mile delivery is certainly something I think the city is going to welcome and benefit from.”

Labour’s transport spokesperson, Coun Rachel Melly, said: “Freight accounts for one third of all transport carbon emissions and van traffic has doubled in the 25 years leading up to 2019, so the council looking at alternatives is long overdue.

“Other cities are ahead of York on this, so I’ll hope you’ll learn from other places that have operated these sorts of distribution hubs.

“I support this trial in principle but I feel it will be a missed opportunity unless more work is done on realising the potential benefits

Coun Melly also said the scheme should look to include pick-ups as well as drop-offs, which the council’s head of highways and transport, Dave Atkinson, said would be possible if companies agreed.

“We will seek to monitor other benefits where we can as we undertake the trial,” he added.