Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Oxford plans to introduce world's first zero-emission zone

Nellie Chapman | 13 October, 2017, 18:28

Oxford City and County Councils will ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre under new measures created to dramatically decrease the city's carbon emissions. A step change is urgently needed; the new Zero Emission Zone is that step change.

Parts of Oxford city centre are failing to meet the EU's legal air pollution limit, with average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels falling by just 3.9% between 2014 and 2016.

According to the council, the new zero-emissions zone has the potential to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide, - much of which comes from traffic fumes especially from diesel engines, by 74 percent by 2035.

The councils are seeking responses from local residents, businesses and fleet operators to help shape the final scheme, expected to be published nex year.

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".

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 is the first council to introduce plans of this nature, though the council has said that the proposals are "contingent on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical".

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.

You can read the complete Press Release with the list of all the roads that will be affected here, and the Zero Emissions Zone Feasibility Study here.

The City Council recognises the need for further funding to install EV charging infrastructure in the city.

"The county and city together are proposing a staged zero emission zone from 2020 in the city centre, with additional measures to bring down chronic pollution in St Clement's Street, High Street and St Aldate's".

'This will also mean that local residents who have invested in cleaner hybrid vehicles will now be targeted, which seems both unfair and an unwelcome disincentive as the use of these vehicles should be being encouraged'. The zone, which requires buses to be low-emitting vehicles, was the first of its kind outside London and won the Local Authority Air Quality Initiative of the Year at the National Air Quality Awards 2015.