First city-wide air pollution reduction target in Oxford

Oxford City Council’s cabinet has approved its Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025, which will see the council become the first UK local authority to set out a city-wide air pollution reduction target.

The new Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025 outlines a list of 30 actions that Oxford City Council and its partners will take to improve air quality in Oxford City between the years 2021 to 2025. The authority has set its own voluntary target for 30 µg/m3 of NO2 to be achieved, by 2025 at the latest- going beyond the current legal target set out by the government of 40 µg/m3.

The main priorities for the period 2021-2025 are focused on the delivery of Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) and Connecting Oxford - two major schemes which have been developed to tackle road traffic emissions and the dominance of the car on our roads.

Among the 30 actions are plans to: working with schools to promote active travel; increasing the amount of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Oxford; expand the city council EV fleet; improved energy efficiency measures in the city’s housing stock; encourage the development of local heat networks; Controlled Parking Zones; and Bikeability lessons for students.

Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “We all have a right to breathe clean air. However, harmful levels of air pollution are harming people’s health and cutting lives short, with poorer and more disadvantaged people disproportionately affected. Air pollution is, at its heart, a social justice issue.

“By setting a new Air Quality Action Plan, and a city-wide air pollution reduction target, we go further and faster than the government's national legal target, and we'll be the first council to do so with an Air Quality Action Plan. We want to race to our nitrogen oxide target of “30 by 25. Approval of our Air Quality Action Plan is an exciting and significant step in our journey to tackle emissions in the city, and I want to thank everyone who responded to our consultation and shape the final version of the plan."