Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have jointly proposed the establishment of a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford City by banning petrol and diesel vehicles ban from parts of the city centre.
The proposed Zero Emissions Zone will be introduced in phases.
First, there will be a ban in non-zero emissions taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles, and buses, non-allowing them to use a small number of streets in 2020.
The zero-emission areas will start expanding over time, as low-carbon vehicle technology develops and the deployment of electric vehicles spreads.
The Oxford City Council aspires to ban all non-electric vehicles, including HGVs, in the whole city centre by 2035.
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.
John Tanner, Councillor of Oxford City Council 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 zero emissions zone is that step change”.
“All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city’s toxic air. Everyone needs to do their bit, from the national government and local authorities to businesses and residents, to end this public health emergency”.
Oxford has been classified as one of the eleven cities in the UK to have surpassed safe limits set for PM10s toxic particles, as well as limits set for PM2.5s.
The Oxford City Council has already won £500,000 of Government funding to install charging points for electric taxis and £800,000 to install 100 electric vehicle charging points for Oxford residents.
The City Council is also considering setting up additional schemes to support the Zero Emission Zone, including offering reduced parking fees for electric vehicles, electric taxi-only ranks and electric delivery vehicle-only loading areas.
The plans will be put out for public consultation on Monday 16 October, a process that will last six weeks seeking views on the speed of the implementation, vehicles types and roads affected.
The final scheme will be published in 2018.
Meanwhile, Transport for London is planning to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in September 2020.
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