THE brakes have been put on any plans to bring in congestion-charging on the streets of York.

A group set up to devise a blueprint for preventing future gridlock in the city has recommended focusing on improving public transport and making walking and cycling more attractive alternatives to car use instead of imposing a London-style tax on drivers.

City of York Council’s cross-party traffic congestion scrutiny committee also says the possibility of a new Park&Ride site at Wetherby Road, updating junctions on the Outer Ring Road, fighting for enhanced rail links and bringing a freight depot to the city should be explored.

Introducing some form of congestion charge was among the options presented to residents when the issue was the subject of a huge public consultation exercise earlier this year, but 39 per cent came out against it, the largest single vote for any of the options tabled.

The committee’s findings are now likely to be analysed by the council’s scrutiny review group before being formally approved by the authority’s executive.

“A cross-party consensus has been reached that we will not recommend charging at the moment,” said the congestion committee’s chairman Coun Dave Merrett.

“Clearly, trying to get the money for schemes without charging should be looked at in the first instance, and the single most popular option included increasing the number of people walking, cycling and using public transport, particularly for journeys of less than five miles.

“We are also recommending looking at an extra Park&Ride site in addition to those already finalised, money for major junction improvements on the Outer Ring Road, seeking to improve rail links and looking at a freight depot. But improving local bus services has to be top priority in terms of the ability to get people about by different means.

“It also has to be recognised that some of these measures are more expensive than others, and that we are not saying charging would never be looked at again.”