A Green Party councillor in Sheffield has sparked outrage after proposing stricter rules on ice cream vans.
Councillor Douglas Johnson said ice cream vendors are pumping out harmful fumes while keeping their engines running to power freezers and the soft ice cream machines.
He has called upon Sheffield City Council’s licensing department to stop ice cream vendors running their engines while parked to avoid pumping out pollutants, forcing vendors to either upgrade their vans to ultra-low emitting vehicles or sell scooped ice cream.
“If people are serious about air pollution this is an ideal opportunity to reduce it as the council approves licenses for ice cream vendors,” he said.
“There is only a small amount of ice cream vans in comparison to cars so it would make a small difference to overall air pollution but a big difference to parks packed out with children and families.”
He added: “No one wants to sit in a park with the fumes and the noise of an engine.”
The proposal has whipped up anger from vendors, who said the soft 99 ice cream was a staple of British summertime.
Andrew Cuneo owns 155-year-old family business Cuneo’s Ice Cream, and said the proposal was “interfering with a great British tradition.”
“We are the oldest ice cream company in Yorkshire and in 155 years have never heard of such codswallop,” he said.
“If he thinks he is going to pick on us then he is greatly mistaken. There will be such a backlash.”
Locals have also taken sides over the proposal.
Michael Barley from Chesterfield said he had “mixed feelings”.
“On one hand we are trying to be green aware and environmentally friendly but on the other hand, an ice cream van seems like a small part in the bigger picture,” he said.
“Go after large scale corporations and companies rather than smaller businesses who are just trying to get by and make a living.”
Ryan Ellison from Sheffield said there were “much bigger things to tackle” in Sheffield.
“It seems like the Green Party is the bully in the playground and all they want to do is pick on the small person to make themselves feel better,” he said.
The Sheffield City Council is currently moving forward with plans for a clean air zone to reduce pollution and work towards a target of becoming carbon neutral.