THE voting system of a project designed to help tackle future issues in York has been criticised after only 54 people took part.

GeniUS, an innovation forum launched by City of York Council and Science City York in January, aims to gain the views of residents, businesses, visitors and community groups on tackling social and environmental issues.

The team behind it will head to a global summit and awards ceremony in Rio de Janeiro next week.

But details obtained by Fishergate councillor Dave Taylor have shown that after the public was invited to rank a list of ideas which could be considered under the scheme, only 54 responses were received.

Coun Taylor, the council’s former heritage champion, believed many residents may have felt excluded because the poll was only available online.

“I hope something can come of the ideas, but if only 54 people could be bothered to vote, it’s hardly a great endorsement from the people of York,” he said.

“Doing this through a website excludes people who don’t have computers, and when you have to become a member of the forum and log on, it is more inaccessible and puts people off. It’s a good idea, but I believe it has been poorly executed.”

If GeniUS wins the award it has been nominated for at the Living Labs Global Awards in Rio next week, representatives will be invited to help run a pilot project in Cape Town later this year, while the summit will allow them to pitch the scheme to 21 other cities and 150 innovation experts from around the world.

Ideas from the public vote included energy-generating pavements, a free city-centre shuttle bus service, cycle counters and real-time air pollution displays.

Ian Graham, the council’s head of performance and innovation, said: “GeniUS is still in its early stages and the web forum pilot is giving the council valuable opportunities to learn and develop a platform which can be taken to much wider audiences in the future.

More than 300 users have registered on the forum and @GeniUSYork has now also reached more than 320 followers on Twitter.”