A motion has been floated by Belfast’s Green Party Councillors to give all young people free public transport to help reduce the city’s air pollution.
A motion has been tabled by Belfast City Council that could see all young people within the city receive free public transport in a move designed to combat rising levels of air pollution in the city.
Current research suggests one in twenty-four deaths in Belfast are linked to air pollution.
If successful, the council motion would call on Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and Translink to create a free public transport pilot scheme for all young people in Belfast.
The motion has been tabled by Green councillor Brian Smyth and reads…
This council supports the promotion and expansion of sustainable transport in Belfast as a critical step to averting climate change, address the significant levels of air pollution, reduce congestion and improve public health. Extending and improving uptake of sustainable transport is key to our city playing its part in averting climate breakdown. In order to create a societal shift in how people access public transport, this council therefore calls upon the Minister for Infrastructure and Translink to introduce a pilot of free public transport for young people in Belfast.
Last November Nichola Mallon was quoted as saying she was open to exploring the idea of congestion charges within the city of Belfast to help reduce emissions and move people away from a reliance on cars for transport.
I think we are going to have to look at incentivising people out of their cars and I am mindful that, in other places, they are looking at issues like parking charges and congestion charges. That would be an issue that would have to be brought to the Executive, but certainly I am open to considering a range of things. We’re in the middle of a climate crisis and we need to be bold in our thinking.
Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs has also been consulting on a Clean Air Strategy, with two Climate Change Bills currently making their way through the Assembly.