Sheffield ice cream van ban ‘madness’

Rosita Hunt, of Granelli's ice cream
Rosita Hunt, of Granelli's ice cream

Almost all of Sheffield’s ice cream vans are set to be banned from the roads - under a move to reduce the city’s ‘carbon footprint’.

Sheffield Council’s licensing board has approved a ban on ice cream vans more than five years old ‘to reduce emissions and improve vehicle standards’.

Angry traders say 90 per cent of ice cream vans would be too old for the new rules - and replacing them could force firms out of business.

Rosita Hunt, of Sheffield’s oldest ice cream firm Granelli’s, which has been going for 138 years, said: “If a vehicle is roadworthy and up to required standards I see no reason for an age restriction.

“This change will have a big impact. Replacing vehicles is not cheap and it might send some firms to the wall.

“We haven’t received a proper explanation for why it is even necessary. If a vehicle is suitable, why change it?”

Another ice cream seller, who did not want to named, said: “There is a riot going off between ice cream companies and the council.

“The council must have brainfreeze to keep coming up with more stupid rules and regulations.

“Around 90 per cent of the ice cream vans on the road in Sheffield are over five years old, and it costs thousands of pounds to replace each one.

“It will drive firms out - just as the spring and summer season is getting going.”

Another restriction brought in by licensing bosses is to force ice cream van owners to ask permission from headteachers to trade within 500 metres of schools - even in the evenings, holidays and at weekends.

Ice cream vans are already banned from trading near schools from one hour before and until one hour after lessons.

Coun Ian Auckland, opposition Liberal Democrat spokesperson for local businesses, said: “We like to joke about Labour councillors taking candy from a baby but here we quite literally have Labour snatching ice cream from Sheffield children.

“This is yet another example of the Labour council sending out an ‘anti-business’ message. At a time when we need to create jobs, this is the wrong attitude.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “Labour are going to have cold war on their hands this summer if they go ahead with plans to take ice cream vans off Sheffield’s streets.

“While I would support efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, this should be done in a sensible way that doesn’t wipe out small firms.”

Sheffield Council said it will now review the policy before it comes into force.

It said it received no responses from traders to paperwork outlining the age restriction on vehicles before the decision was made - but ice cream sellers said the new rule was ‘hidden in the small print’.

A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “The licensing committee approved a new policy and as part of this agreed ice cream vehicles must be under five years of age. It is part of the commitment to reduce emissions city-wide.

“We have now reopened the consultation on this policy as we have since been contacted by traders.”

n Opinion: P8