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Oxford to set up world's first zero emissions zone

13 October, 2017, 22:09 | Author: Jeff Stephens
  • GETTYAnyone caught filling the city with pollution will be handed an estimated £60 fine

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.

The proposals would see the ban being rolled out slowly, starting with all petrol and diesel cars, taxis and buses being excluded from six streets in 2020. I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation.

Oxford city centre now has illegally high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which contributes to diseases and contributes to around 40,000 deaths in the United Kingdom every year. 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.

"However, the City Council's own feasibility study indicates that the planned measures will be insufficient in the short term and that air pollution levels will remain illegally high in the city centre for the next 8 years".

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Some of Oxford's busiest roads now exceed European regulations on safe limits of pollution - George Street, the worst offender in the city, averages at nearly 150% the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide. Further funding was requested in June to progress the ZEZ proposal.

“All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air, ” said city council board member John Tanner. A step change is urgently needed; the Zero Emission Zone is that step change. "Everyone who uses Oxford centre has the right to breathe clean air".

On Monday, a six-week public consultation will be launched that will look at views on the speed of the implementation, as well as the roads and vehicle types included in the scheme.

The European cities of Paris, Oxford, as well as the whole of the Netherlands, have recently announced separate proposals to phase out cars powered by fossil fuels. Tell us what you think in the comments area below! Transport for London is aiming to introduce a Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London in September 2020, but Oxford is looking to introduce a Zero Emission Zone at the beginning of 2020 which would ban emitting vehicles from city centers.

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We await more details about Oxford's zero-emissions zone, which promises to set an earth-friendly example that could help trigger stricter "clean air" policies around the globe.

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 to hear them all.

He said: "It is very pleasing to see this, locally-built, first fully electric and zero emissions bus being trialled in Leeds and we look forward to seeing it in action on our park and ride services".

Oxfordshire County Council is also exploring demand management options for Oxford including a potential congestion charge and workplace parking levy.

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