Oxford city centre to become world's first Zero Emissions Zone by 2020

Andrew Cummings
October 13, 2017

In the first stage of its plans from 2020, taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses which are non zero-emission, will be banned from six streets in the city centre, including near the world-famous Oxford Union debating society. Starting in 2020, diesel and petroleum-fueled taxis, buses, light commercial vehicles, and taxis will be prohibited from using certain streets. I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation.

The ban will reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the city's worst pollution blackspot, George Street, by 74%, returning it to natural levels of pollution. Over 40,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom are caused by air pollution according to a 2016 report by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The Oxford City Council aspires to ban all non-electric vehicles, including HGVs, in the whole city centre by 2035.

Oxford City Council has been awarded £500,000 of government funding to install charging points for electric taxis, as well as £800,000 to pay for 100 electric vehicle charging points for use by residents. Further funding was requested in June to progress the ZEZ proposal.

Over the last decade, Oxford says it has reduced NO2 levels by almost 37 percent, but council member John Tanner told The Telegraph that a ban is "urgently needed".

None of this is to say that Oxford's intention to create a zero-emissions zone isn't well-intentioned.

Oxford isn't the only European city to step up its "clean air" policy game, however.

The City and County Council will be holding a six-week consultation period with the public and businesses on how the plans will be implemented.

Oxford City Council also declared that it would be the first zone of its type in the world. Tell us what you think in the comments area below!

The modelling underpinning the zero emission zone proposals comes from a new study, which was commissioned jointly by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, and was carried out by Ricardo Energy & Environment.

Leeds City Council Councillor Richard Lewis heralded the move as the start of a "revolution in bus travel".

"We know that there will be a wide variety of views and we want hear them all". More recently, Transport for London announced an extension of their current low-emissions zone to become and ultra-low emission zone from 2020.

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