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Mr Whippy ice cream van ban proposed for city over air pollution concerns

‘There will be uproar if this is passed – such a backlash,’ says owner of 155-year-old family business

Adam Forrest
Monday 10 June 2019 18:38 BST
Green councillor accused of targeting vendors’ livelihoods
Green councillor accused of targeting vendors’ livelihoods (

A Green party politician has proposed banning his city’s Mr Whippy ice cream vans over air pollution concerns, sparking anger from small business owners.

Councillor Douglas Johnson has urged Sheffield City Council’s licensing department to stop ice cream vendors from leaving their engines running while parked to avoid pumping out pollutants.

Mr Whippy vendors need to have the engine constantly running to power freezers and the soft ice cream machines which whip up the popular 99 flake.

Under Mr Johnson’s proposed change, ice cream sellers would have two options – to upgrade their vans to ultra-low emitting vehicles or only use scooped ice cream.

Vendors have hit back by accusing the councillor of targeting their livelihood. Andrew Cuneo, owner of 155-year-old family business Cuneo’s Ice Cream, said he had “never heard of such codswallop”.

The 55-year-old business owner said: “The councillor is interfering with a great British tradition. It’s like a Monty Python sketch. We are not breaking any rules or regulations. There will be uproar if this is passed.

“If he thinks he is going to pick on us then he is greatly mistaken. There will be such a backlash.”

Mr Johnson, speaker for the Green Party in Sheffield, explained that he wanted stop ice cream vendors running their engines because it was an “ideal opportunity” to cut pollution.

An ice cream vendor in Sheffield city centre (Dan Rowlands /

“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.

“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.”

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Some local residents have criticised the idea and said it would be “tragic” if small businesses suffered as a result of the proposed changes.

Ryan Ellison, 33, from Sheffield, added: “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.

“The fact the Green Party is proposing this shows they are out of touch with the community. They are not down with the kids.”

Sheffield Council is currently moving forward with plans for a Clean Air Zone to reduce pollution and work towards their target of becoming carbon neutral.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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