Creating an ultra-low emissions zone in Blackpool town center could put tourists off visiting the resort, a councilor has warned.
Coun Gary Coleman said it was “a very difficult balancing act” to adopt measures aimed at tackling climate change while competing with other holiday destinations.
He was responding to suggestions made by the Blackpool Climate Assembly that drivers of non-electric cars could be charged for visiting parts of the town centre in future.
Among recommendations made by the assembly, which was held earlier this year, is the council should “implement an ultra-low emissions zone in the town centre by 2027, charging vehicles that are not electric for access.”
Coun Coleman told a meeting of the tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee: “It’s a very difficult balancing act that we need.
“We don’t want to put people off by them thinking Blackpool’s got this charge now so I’m not going to go to Blackpool, I’m going to go to Morecambe or Skegness or wherever it might be.
“On the whole this is an excellent report, it’s just this side of things that concerns me a little.”
Scott Butterfield, strategy policy and research manager at the council, said assembly members had been asked to make recommendations which were challenging, but some ideas needed ‘a lot of consideration’.
He said while an ultra-low emissions zone would work in some places, in Blackpool the knock-on effects needed to be investigated.
He added: “As we’re at the start of the process we’re starting to unpick the box and come to a reasonable view.
“Is that the right thing to do with the resources we’ve got, given the impact and the knock-on effect it will have?
“Or is there a different way we can make a big statement about this issue without necessarily going down that particular route.
“It will be thought about very carefully and that’s where we need to look at the implications.”
The committee agreed to note the recommendations of the assembly which saw around 40 residents taking part in a series of discussions during January and February.
The council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019, committing it to work towards carbon neutrality across its services and companies by 2030, and across the town in a similar timescale.