When the world locked down in 2020, one of the few positive effects was a cleaner environment. Within a short time, the impact of fewer cars on the roads and reduced pollution was visible. 

Now, as we come out of the latest lockdown in 2021, whilst longing to return closer to normality, we should also try to learn lessons and retain these accidental benefits. In a collective effort towards clean air and reduced carbon footprints, there are simple changes that individuals can make, and York is helping you on your way. 


York is such a beautiful city to walk around, taking in its history and scenery, that it shouldn’t take much encouragement to ditch the polluting vehicle and travel short distances on foot. And for longer and speedier journeys, you can still keep the carbon away by getting on your bike. 

With cycle lanes and traffic free areas, York is a bike-friendly city, and whether you’re starting out or an experienced rider there are shops to buy your gear and lend advice. Enthusiasts head to Cycle Works for all they could wish for. And the largest in the city is Cycle Heaven in Fulford, who also provide folding bikes at York train station and a repair workshop on Bishopthorpe Road. 

Perhaps the most environmentally conscious is ReCycle York, who not only encourage folk to get cycling by offering quality affordable bikes, but also collect and recycle thousands of bikes in a drive to reduce waste. Or as an eco-friendly alternative to a scooter, motorbike or car, how about picking up an electric bike from The Electric Transport Shop on Walmgate?

Public Transport

One easy way to get fewer cars on the road is for the people in them to use public transport instead. A train carrying hundreds of passengers or a bus of about 50 makes a notable difference in the amount of harmful emissions that would otherwise add up from the equivalent vehicles. Similarly, the promotion of car shares, to avoid single person journeys, could be considered with car share apps to help you organise. 

iTravel York is a great place to start, as a useful tool to find out about information news and advice on sustainable travel in the city. And to get in and out of York, the city has one of the UK’s busiest train stations, thanks to fast routes to Leeds and easy journeys to London amongst many more destinations. 

For travelling around the city, there are bus services which offer affordable and efficient movement to wherever you want to go. First Bus are being fitted with latest clean air technology and provide several routes and offers, including a free ride across the expansive university campus, and their First Taste of Freedom ticket, for up to 5 adults to travel all day – easily available by downloading their app

Zero Waste

There has been an admirable drive in recent years towards reducing waste, and one of the vital knock-on benefits is improved air quality. The whole process, from production to landfill, emits air pollutants, and every seemingly small action makes a massive collective difference. 

In York, shops such as The Bishy Weigh and The Little Green Weigh are leading this movement. A friendly and fun shopping experience with an array of practical and quality goods, each plastic-free purchase and zero waste buy is a step closer to a cleaner environment.  

Images: First Bus, ReCycle, The Little Green Weigh