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Oxford unveils plans for zero emission zone

13 October 2017

Oxford will ban petrol and diesel cars from its city centre from 2020 onwards in the latest round of air quality plans.

In George Street, the city's most polluted area, NO2 emissions could be reduced by as much as 74 percent under the new plans. 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. Despite a 36.9% reduction in NO2 levels across Oxford in the last decade, parts of the city centre are still failing to meet this legal limit.

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.

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. Further funding was requested in June to progress the ZEZ proposal.

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Oxford city councillor John Tanner said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents".

As vehicle technology develops, the zero-emission zone would extend to all vehicle types across the whole city centre by 2035. This move could establish the world's first zero-emissions zone. "Everyone who uses Oxford centre has the right to breathe clean air".

The City and County Council will be holding a six-week consultation period with the public and businesses on how the plans will be implemented.

“Everyone needs to do their bit – from national government and local authorities to businesses and residents – to end this public health emergency.”.

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In 2035 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will also be banned from the same area.

"I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation".

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.

You can read the complete Press Release with the list of all the roads that will be affected here, and the Zero Emissions Zone Feasibility Study here. "However, zero emission bus and coach technology is still evolving so we will work with the City Council to identify the possible solutions for Oxford and the time frame in which they might be able to be deployed".

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"We support the principle of a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford".

Oxford unveils plans for zero emission zone