Monks Cross II – unsustainable and bad for York’s environment
Monks Cross II will put more cars on the road, meaning more pollution, more congestion and more carbon emissions.
The huge majority of shoppers visiting Monks Cross arrive by car. The planning application includes about 1,500 new (free) car parking spaces.
According to the developers’ own study:
- The development will create over 9,000 additional vehicle trips per day, with an additional 500 on match days (assuming supporters follow their transport plan!)
- During matches, six nearby junctions would reach capacity and all parking facilities on the site and nearby are likely to become totally full.
York is trying to reduce levels of car use, and with good reason. A recent study found that air pollution, largely due to road traffic, results in around 150 premature deaths each year in York – an average of three per week1. Shopping accounts for around 20% of all UK car journeys2.
Transport accounts for around 715,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions from York residents – after heating, this is the biggest contributor to our carbon footprints.3
Large out-of-town retail is a huge consumer of energy
We are used to cheap fuel prices and ready access to energy. But as fossil fuel sources deplete, energy prices rise. We are seeing the effects of passing 'peak oil' in fuel prices now, and in the increasingly damaging technologies used to extract fuels from tar sands and by 'fracking' of shale gas deposits. Until we make the transition to a renewable energy economy, we need to work to conserve energy wherever possible.
Large out-of-town 'big box' retail units are usually extremely inefficient. In general they are poorly insulated and have very little natural light. A survey by Sheffield Hallam University found that large superstores are the most energy inefficient buildings in the retail/light industrial sector, despite the relatively new building stock. It would take more than sixty greengrocers to match the carbon dioxide emissions from a single average superstore4.
Relocating 'community facilities' to this site will jeopardise real communities
Much has been made of the 'community facilities' that will be provided on the site. But there is an open question about the 'community' that these would serve. Huntington and New Earswick both have libraries and medical centres in the heart of these communities. There is no other significant residential area within walking distance. The proposed facilities would seem to serve (and encourage) people driving in from further afield. They are not 'community' facilities at all, and may jeopardise those existing facilities serving communities in Huntington, New Earswick, Heworth, Clifton, Haxby and across the city.
The City of York Council is trying to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce congestion, and improve air quality. All these efforts will be undermined by the Monks Cross II development. In the words of the Council's own Sustainability Officer: "An out of town location is inherently unsustainable".
- "A Low Emission Strategy For York" - http://democracy.york.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=40266
- Department for Transport, 2005. Transport Statistics Bulletin, Section 7, Table 7.2
- Green Streets Final Report, Stockholm Environment Institute
- Elsayed MA, Grant JF & Mortimer ND (2002) Energy use in the United Kingdom non-domestic building stock: 2002 catalogue of results Resources Research Unit, School of Environment and Development, Sheffield Hallam University. Average supermarket area in survey 1534m2, average CO2 emissions per m2, 330 kg/m2/yr. Total CO2 per average supermarket unit: 509,109 Kg CO2/yr. Average greengrocer size in survey 76m2, average CO2 emissions per m2, 105 kg/m2/yr. Total CO2 per average greengrocer unit: 7980 kg CO2/yr.