Green Party representatives Cllrs Rachel Woods and Stephen Dunlop have passed a motion calling for a pilot of car free days across our Borough’s towns, villages and City. 


Rachel Woods, who represents Holywood and Clandeboye said, “Our towns, city and villages are full of cars. We have designed our streets to facilitate the movement of vehicles and prioritised them, and in doing so has led to the detriment of others. Our streets should be for people.  


Conversations on access and use of our city and town and village centres have been happening for decades. However, focus on this has spurred on by the pandemic, which saw a need for greater mobility and social distancing, with a focus on bringing business back to local areas and recognising the ever changing use of our towns away from the traditional. Recently myself and Cllr Dunlop visited Brussels and saw first hand how main roads has been turned into a space for people and community, which was well used. 


Cllr Stephen Dunlop said, “Having centres dominated by vehicles creates air pollution, noise pollution, traffic unsafety and traffic jams that also slow down public transport.  Car Free Day is on 22nd September every year, perhaps this is something we could look at to join in with other cities and implement across the Borough - we could have events on and encourage people to rethink our streets and who they are for - our public space is not just for cars. Have local and independent businesses showcased, encouraging increased spending, and promoting active travel for all.” 


Rachel concluded, “We have a shameful record here in NI on promoting active travel - this is a fact. It is not about Greenways, this is about placemaking, and access, and health and wellbeing. COVID-19 was a massively missed opportunity, where we all talked a good talk about doing things differently, yet nothing really changed. Cars are still king, to the detriment of people and place, to happy and healthy communities.” 


What we would like to see is a viability report, which we know can happen, and inconjuction with stakeholders, forward planning and getting everyone on board. Bizarrely some members voted against a report being brought back on a potential pilot scheme, stating they were 'pro-car'.


"We are glad that the majority of Members of the Committee have agreed to this, and look forward to the next stages progressing, should it pass Council at the end of the month.”