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High Street

Drive for net zero could harm high street accessibility, says Bira

Measures such as high street pedestrianisation and a reduction of car park spaces have been highlighted by the organisation as potential issues for indie shopkeepers

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has raised concerns over the impacts that local councils’ drive to achieve net zero could have on independent retailers.

The industry body claimed that despite being “committed” to supporting its members in acting sustainable, it is “concerned” that schemes introduced by local authorities could reduce the accessibility of the high street.

Measures such as high street pedestrianisation and a reduction of car park spaces have been highlighted by the organisation as potential issues for indie shopkeepers.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO at Bira, said: “Bira supports a more environmentally friendly high street and is helping members to become sustainable retailers.

“However, we are seeing a race to ‘net zero’ in some local authorities, and our fears are that retail is not being considered with plans being developed that may be detrimental to the high streets.”

The question of increased cycle paths was raised by the body, which claimed that while they “may reflect current trends”, it does not necessarily lead to “more shoppers in the shops”.

Goodacre added: “We need planners to talk to retailers about the plans and share ideas for reducing carbon whilst retaining use of the high streets for everyone.”

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