A Green party councillor has sparked outrage by proposing to ban a city’s Mr Whippy ice cream vans – over air pollution concerns.
When static, vendors need to have the engine constantly running to power freezers and the soft ice cream machines which whip up the beloved 99 flake.
Green party councillor, Douglas Johnson, has urged Sheffield City Council’s licensing department to stop ice cream vendors running their engines while parked to avoid pumping out pollutants.
Under this proposed change, ice cream vendors would have two options – to upgrade their vans to ultra low emitting vehicles or only use scooped ice cream.
‘There will be such a backlash’
Vendors have hit back claiming soft 99 ice cream is a staple of British summertime and have also accused the councillor of targeting their livelihood.
Andrew Cuneo, 55, owner of 155 year old family business, Cuneo’s Ice Cream said, “The councillor is interfering with a great British tradition. It’s like a Monty Python sketch.
“We are the oldest ice cream company in Yorkshire and in 155 years have never heard of such codswallop. We are not breaking any rules or regulations. There will be uproar if this is passed.
“At the end of the day, if the customer doesn’t want to buy the soft ice cream product then we don’t have a business, but they do because they love it.
“If he thinks he is going to pick on us then he is greatly mistaken. There will be such a backlash.”
The end of the 99?
Andrew is the fifth generation in the family to head up the business which was established in 1864 and is the oldest Ice Cream Company in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire area.
Luigge Cuneo, the founder of the company, was an Italian immigrant that came to England with his brother in search of a better life.
Locals have criticised the proposal and said it would be “tragic” if the 99 flake was lost.
Michael Barley, 52, a graphic designer, from Chesterfield, South Yorkshire, said. “Like most people, I have 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.
“I can’t see that a few ice cream vans will make that much of a difference. It seems wrong. Go after large scale corporations and companies rather than smaller businesses who are just trying to get by and make a living.
“A lot of people, especially on a summer’s day enjoy an ice cream from a cone, it’s part of what makes us British.
“I would always buy a 99 flake or cornet from an ice cream van. That’s the whole draw of ice cream vans because you can buy a magnum or twister anywhere but you go to vendors for a Mr Whippy.
“If it’s the end of the 99 then that’s tragic. It’s like a little bit of my childhood that will just go.”
‘Out of touch with the community’
Ryan Ellison, 33, from Sheffield, added, “You are talking about two vans and sit still that bring joy to children and adults alike.
“I think we have much bigger things to tackle in Sheffield and it’s silly we are talking about potentially banning a small number of ice cream vans.
“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.
“The fact the Green Party is proposing this shows they are out of touch with the community. They are not down with the kids.”
Councillor Douglas Johnson, City ward representative and speaker for the Green Party, said he has asked the licensing department to review its policy to stop ice cream vendors running their engines while parked.
He said, “If people are serious about air pollution this is an ideal opportunity to reduce it as the council approves licenses for ice cream vendors.
“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.
“No one wants to sit in a park with the fumes and the noise of an engine. This would help to tackle air pollution and we can still enjoy ice cream.”
The council is currently moving forward with plans for a Clean Air Zone to reduce pollution and work towards their target of becoming carbon neutral.