Zero emission zone: Could Norwich ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from its city centre?

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell

Petrol and diesel vehicles could be banned altogether from Norwich city centre if plans to make the area one of the first zero emission zones get the green light.

Norwich is one of just three cities in the country to be given £500,000 of government funding to look at whether the idea could work.

The city centre already has a network of streets where access is restricted to general traffic, several of which allow no vehicles at all.

Norfolk County Council hopes the move could reduce pollution and encourage more people to use more eco-friendly forms of transport.

"I would love to see Norwich without fossil fuel burning cars," said Cllr Lana Hempsall.

"I thought I was going to lose my eldest son to an asthma attack when he was still an infant. That was because we lived under a flight path and next to a busy road, which in the scheme of things because it was a pretty suburb, I never gave any thought to.

"But the fact that my child almost died because of pollution really gives me serious thought as to where the future is."

Norfolk County Council will spend the summer speaking to businesses, resident and transport bosses to gauge their reaction to the idea. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The zero emission zone might mean a fleet of electric buses are needed to drop people in.

Critics fear it might be damaging to trade for city centre shops, create more roadworks and isolate those not served by good bus services.

It comes as the Government promises a ten-fold increase in the number of electric charging points by 2030, when sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned.

The no emission zone would build on the city centre streets that are already partly or completely closed to traffic. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cllr Martin Wilby, Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport, said: "We're very pleased to be selected as this innovative pilot programme aims to demonstrate practical ways to decarbonise transport systems in city centres.

"A zero emission zone would link in well with plans which aim to cut carbon, reduce congestion, improve air quality, and build on some of the great work to boost our cycling and public transport network."

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison, said: "I am delighted to confirm Norfolk County Council has received development funding for this exciting project.

I look forward to seeing their proposals for accelerating the transition to green transport and realising the Government's vision for a Zero Emission Transport City."