Sheffield Clean Air Zone: free electric bus for city centre as Pinstone Street remains mystery

Sheffield Council approved free electric bus plans, with routes through the city centre including Pinstone Street, which has been pedestrianised for more than a year.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 9:02 am

Members of the co-operative executive gathered for a special meeting today to make two historic decisions to give a green light to: a Clean Air Zone and a city centre strategic vision.

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Part of the plans include enabling electric buses to reach Pinstone Street, which has been pedestrianised since June 2020 in response to Covid-19 and rules around social distancing.

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Sheffield Council approved plans for free electric bus travelling through the city centre including a major road that has been closed off to traffic for more than a year.

The decision to close this part of the city centre has been controversial, receiving support from some and criticism from others.

Councillor Terry Fox, leader of the council, said: “I’ve stated very publicly over the last few weeks that the changes to Pinstone Street and Leopold are no longer appropriate, and the negative impact of these changes has disproportionately fallen on the disabled.

“If we want to be an inclusive city, we have to ensure that everyone can get around it – whether they’re able-bodied or not. It’s clear there has been a great deal of misery to some bus passengers and this was even putting people off coming to the centre.

“The changes enacted last year helped to ensure social distancing, but this is no longer necessary. People need to be able to get to the centre, but we also need to ensure we are taking action to tackle poor air quality – to benefit the health of everyone.

Sheffield Clean Air Zone map showing where the most polluting vehicles will be charged under Sheffield Council plans for the city centre. © Crown copyright and database rights 2021 OS licence number 100018816.

“That is why I proposed the idea of looking again at how we get low emission buses to Pinstone street again.

“The current arrangement is not working for Sheffielders, and we need electric buses to actually take people to where they need to be. The details need to be worked through, but this principle will remain – we will have a bus going to Pinstone street, rather than a quarter of a mile away and at the bottom of a hill at Arundel gate, as it is a present.”

A long-awaited decision on whether Pinstone Street will remain closed to traffic indefinitely has still not been taken.

Nalin Seneviratne, director of city centre development, said in a report on the city centre strategic vision that further work was needed before a decision is made and that they were still considering the options, including re-opening it to traffic.

Councillor Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield Council, welcomed the decision to fund a free electric bus travelling through the city centre to Pinstone Street.
Councillor Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield Council, welcomed the decision to fund a free electric bus travelling through the city centre to Pinstone Street.