Oxford councils propose a Zero Emission Zone

A joint proposal from Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council is seeking to introduce a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.

The Zero Emission Zone proposal, thought to be the world’s first Zero Emission Zone, would ban emitting vehicles from the city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

If put in place, the city centre’s most polluted street, George Street, is predicted to see a 74 per cent reduction in toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels by 2035.

John Tanner, Oxford City Council executive board member for A Clean and Green Oxford, 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 Emission 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 national Government and local authorities, to businesses and residents – to end this public health emergency.

“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. Everyone who uses Oxford centre has the right to breathe clean air. I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation. We need to know, in detail, 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.”

The councils are undertaking a six week public consultation on the proposals. The proposal is contingent on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical.

Transport for London is planning to introduce the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in the capital in September 2020.

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