LABOUR and Green group councillors are planning to work together to make the city centre car-free by 2023.

Councillors plan to discuss the feasibility of banning cars from the centre of Brighton at a meeting of the environment, transport and sustainability committee (ETS) this afternoon.

The committee's chairwoman, Labour Councillor Anne Pissaridou, said: "We were elected on a manifesto pledge to make our city carbon neutral by 2030.

"We have declared a climate emergency and are making progress on decarbonisation.

"But, we must take major steps to reach our ambitious target, so we are proud to work cross-party and champion a car free city centre.

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"Crucially, though, this will be for the climate assembly to decide, as our residents must lead on how we combat the climate crisis.

“We will continue to listen to and work with residents, stakeholders and campaign groups like Extinction Rebellion – as we must all come together to save the planet, and the work starts at home."

The councillors will call for a feasibility report of the plans by the ETS.

If passed, this motion will lead to a report being presented to a future ETS committee meeting that will "outline the feasibility and impact of developing a city centre that is free of cars by 2023".

This follows a similar pledge made by York City Council late last year.

Campaigners from environmental action group Extinction Rebellion are attending the meeting.

They gathered outside Hove Town Hall, where it is being held, and unfurled a large banner with the group's logo and the words "Brighton and Hove City Council, do the right thing".

The motion will be considered by the ETS alongside a range of proposals made by the city-wide climate assembly, which is being set up in the coming weeks.

The assembly aims to "give residents their say on how the council meets its target of making the city carbon neutral by 2030".

Green councillors said the "time is right" to "give residents details on the potential options for car-free spaces".

The group added that it "wants the report to emphasise the importance of exemptions, such as for people with disabilities, emergency service vehicles and traders".

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Green councillors said it "will be critical for the council to work with communities to identify the best possible solutions".

Referencing the success of existing car-free zones in areas of the North Laine and Lanes, party leaders also urged the council to "explore the possible economic impacts on local shops and traders".

Green Cllr Amy Heley, who is calling for the report, said: "European cities such as Amsterdam and Oslo have demonstrated that a car-free city centre can be beneficial for all.

"What’s more, limiting car use in city centres makes them safer, more accessible and more attractive to visit, and brings economic benefits as a result.

"Having a greater understanding of city-centre traffic is a realistic response to the emergency of the climate crisis. 

"And it offers an opportunity to deal with congestion, road safety, and dangerous levels of air pollution which is causing a public health crisis.

"It’s vital that all communities in our city feel engaged and informed about what the options are – and we want to see the Labour Council explore several possibilities. 

"This could include a trial in a specific area of the city, for example.

“At this stage, it will be useful for a report to help the city understand what the proposals emerging from other UK cities could mean.

"Brighton and Hove has set ambitious climate targets, and our pledge to tackle emissions directly connected to transport use.

"We are calling on the council to explore thoroughly how we can become the next city to take positive action."