World Car-Free Day happens in September every year. It is a worldwide demonstration of how pleasant it can be to occupy spaces which are temporarily less dominated by traffic.
Ilkley will be taking part in these international celebrations for the fourth time this year, and on Sunday 17th September, the Grove will be closed to traffic between 9am and 5pm, with events happening between 11am and 4pm. This year’s theme will be Active Travel – that is to say, walking, wheeling and cycling.
A spokesperson for organisers Climate Action Ilkley said: “Amongst some exciting new participants, the day will be attended by Experience Community, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that helps disabled people access the outdoors. They will be bringing their all-terrain mountain trike and handcycle for people to try out. People will be able to try out Climate Action Ilkley’s e-bikes and e-cargo bikes and find out how to loan these. Capital of Cycling will be offering people the chance to sign up to adult cycling lessons and will also be giving away good quality second-hand cycling clothing in return for a small donation. A bike mechanic will also be on hand to offer simple bike repairs on the day – and advise on what might need doing in the case of more complex ones. A walk focused on Ilkley’s trees led by Sue Stevens, author of the popular ‘tree trails’ guides, will leave from the Climate Action Ilkley stand at 2pm.
“Also at the Climate Action Ilkley stand, you can find out about what we can do, as individuals and as a community, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle the biodiversity crisis. You will have the opportunity to 'Ask a Scientist'. Professor John Marsham of the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures, University of Leeds will be on hand to summarise what is happening to climate and answer questions, at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30. Pollinator-friendly plants will be available to buy. We will also have an Artist in Residence. James McKay, 'The Man who Draws the Future', will be painting a picture based on the theme of Active Travel. James is well known for books such as Dreams of a Low Carbon Future in which he uses art to help people understand climate change and find solutions.
“The children’s play area is back by popular demand and there will be opportunities for children to do art and craft activities. Martinez are providing a bar and entertainment and there will be music at Canker Well, 11am to 4pm. As usual, there will be food and drink stalls and places to sit and eat, and meet or make friends. Community Groups, particularly environmental groups, will have stalls and will be happy to advise on such things as active travel, solar panels and heat pumps, car clubs and car-sharing schemes, and so on. The Town Council will also be taking part so that residents will be able to find out what local councillors are doing to promote active travel in Ilkley.”