YORK’S transport chief has claimed a survey of the city’s traffic network which ruled out congestion charging did not give residents enough choice.

A public consultation exercise on tackling gridlock has decided imposing a drivers’ tax should not happen and ways of making walking, cycling and public transport more attractive should be looked at instead.

A report presented to City of York Council’s executive this week, stated providing better bus services and looking at creating a central freight depot received widespread public support.

But Coun Steve Galloway, the authority’s executive member for city strategy, said the survey was “flawed” because it offered “limited” options, claiming residents only had one choice if they did not support road-charging measures.

He also said the findings placed insufficient importance on upgrading the outer ring road and that this must remain a priority under the council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP).

“If the public had been allowed to say they did not favour any of the options, we would have had an indication of whether they preferred something else,” he said.

“The recommended option does not allow for any improvements to the highway network or include proposals to support York’s northern by-pass, so we cannot say the findings should become a cornerstone of the Local Transport Plan.

“I don’t believe there is any chance this city is going to get hundreds of millions of pounds in Government funding for transport, so the emphasis must be on getting the best value for each pound invested.

“The report is a valuable and interesting contribution to the LTP, but I don’t believe residents’ real priorities have been correctly identified.”

Scrutiny committee chairman Coun Dave Merrett said the recommended option reflected “the most important issues residents identified with”.

He said: “We should continue to examine innovative and creative ways of delivering it, such as looking for additional funding sources.

“We felt the special nature of York meant there would be a good case to put to the Government for it to receive special consideration in terms of funding. If we are only partially successful, we must look at how we prioritise what we take forward.”