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

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 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.

A move to ban all non-EVs across the city will follow in 2035, five years before the Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles nationwide.

According to proposals set out by Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council, Oxford is initially planning to prohibit all petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre's streets, including cars, taxis and buses.

Despite NO2 levels dropping by 36.9 per cent across Oxford, certain parts of the city centre are still highly polluted.

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.

Oxford city councillor John Tanner said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents". A step change is urgently needed; the new Zero Emission Zone is that step change.

Since German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating USA emissions tests, politicians around the world have unveiled plans to clamp down on diesel vehicles in a bid to improve air quality and meet more stringent targets.

The introduction of the zero emissions zone could see levels of nitrogen dioxide, much of which comes from traffic fumes, particularly diesel engines, fall by up to three quarters by 2035, the councils said.

Local politicians will draw up the final plans after a consultation closes on November 26. But Oxford is looking to be world's first Zero Emission Zone.

Tanner has urged everyone who uses the city centre to take part, adding: "We need to know what people's needs are, so that we can plan a Zero Emission Zone that minimises impact on business and residents while maximising impact on the city's health". Tell us what you think in the comments area below!

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