A PROPOSAL has been put forward to ban cars from the city centre.

Brighton and Hove City Council will be debating and voting on the proposal for private vehicles next week.

It has been put forward by Green Councillor Amy Heley, who represents Preston Park ward. She wants council officers to look into the feasibility, costs and rules for exemptions of banning private vehicles from the centre of Brighton.

The proposal says “the climate emergency, the environmental and public health crisis caused by air pollution, and dangerous roads can and must be tackled by drastically reducing private car use in the city centre”.

The Argus has previously reported the council was looking into ways to respond to Government requirements to improve air quality.

Scientists have found up to 54 people living in the centre of Brighton die prematurely every year due to exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas emitted by traffic.

It comes after York City Council pledged to become the UK’s first car-free city centre. And Bristol has pledged to become the country’s first city to ban diesel cars from parts of its city centre. The idea that Brighton could follow suit proved controversial when it was suggested informally after York’s ban.

One supporter, Neil Reggae, said: “Good idea. Driving in Brighton is daft – you’re in a queue for ages and there’s nowhere to park when you get to your destination. Plus the air quality is dire thanks to the slow-moving traffic clogging up the town.”

Others argued it may affect businesses. Justin Hill said: “If they do, just watch how fast the shops and restaurants start to close down.

Concerns have also been raised online that the ban may disproportionately affect people with disabilities.

Twitter user Alex Tulip said: “Car-free city centres are a nightmare for disabled people – they are cut off from shops, cafés etc unless there is a frequent, free, electric ‘golf cart’ system or permitted access to cars and taxis.”

Responding directly to the concern, Cllr Heley said: “I have always made it clear that people with disabilities should be exempt.

“I will continue push for this issue to be considered as a top priority.”

The proposal will be discussed by the environment, transport and sustainability committee on Tuesday.