Sheffield council makes ice cream van U-turn

Rosita Hunt pictured in Millhouses Park, Sheffield, with her Granelli's ice cream van
Rosita Hunt pictured in Millhouses Park, Sheffield, with her Granelli's ice cream van

Licensing bosses have agreed to freeze implementation of rules banning old ice cream vans in Sheffield - as a study is launched to monitor pollution.

Members of Sheffield Council’s licensing committee have made the U-turn after announcing a blanket ban on ice cream vans over five-years old - to reduce the city’s ‘carbon footprint’.

A month-long study into air quality will begin in Sheffield next week with monitoring equipment being placed at five locations.

Sheffield Council said a crackdown on vehicle emissions, including ice cream vans, was needed to comply with European Union rules - although the EU does not state any age requirement.

Old ice cream vans could still operate if fitted with equipment to filter emissions and the licensing committee has now accepted there is no need for a five-year rule.

Rosita Hunt, of Granelli’s ice cream firm - Sheffield’s second oldest ice cream firm behind 149-year-old Cuneo’s - said the cost of new ice cream vans ‘could send some firms to the wall’.

The ban on old vans - proposed to take effect this summer - provoked a huge outcry with people making their feelings known on The Star website.

Neville Martin, from the Federation of Small Businesses, described the ban as ‘pathetic and senseless’.

He added: “It represents just another piece of council idiocy which discriminates against the self-employed.”

Stephen Rich, of Greenhill and Bradway tenants’ and residents’ association, added: “If ice cream vans need replacing every five years, what about clapped out taxis and buses?”

But Jennifer Ludlam, a website reader, said: “Here in Canada if your car is older then five years old it has to have an emissions test every two years. And you are not allowed to let your engine run if you are stopped.”

Coun Clive Skelton, deputy chairman of the licensing committee, said: “Emissions need to be brought down but implementation of rules to achieve this should be done more slowly.”

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Each year, poor air quality costs the Sheffield economy £160m and results in up to 500 early deaths.”

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