Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Oxford city centre to become world's first Zero Emissions Zone by 2020

Oxford city centre to become world's first Zero Emissions Zone by 2020

"Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents", said Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for A Clean and Green Oxford.

The proposed Zero Emissions Zone will be introduced in phases.

Oxford has recently won £500,000 of Government funding to install charging points for electric taxis, as well as a further £800,000 for residential electric vehicle charging points, but the council says more will be needed to support the zero emissions zone. A move to ban all non-EVs across the city will follow in 2035, five years before the Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles nationwide.

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.

As vehicle technology develops, the zero-emission zone would extend to all vehicle types across the whole city centre by 2035.

However, Oxford's plans are essentially a done deal since the United Kingdom intends to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles from sale by 2040.

Oxford city centre could be closed to all conventional petrol and diesel cars from 2020, under plans about to go out for public consultation. To date, the Government has provided Oxford £1.3m to install charging points for electric taxis and cars.

From 2030, non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses would be excluded from all roads within Hollybush Row, Hythe Bridge Street, Worcester Street, Beaumont Street, St Giles', part of Parks Road, South Parks Road, St Cross Road, Longwall Street, Merton Street, Blue Boar Street, St Aldate's and Thames Street. Other schemes such as reduced parking fees for EVs and electric delivery vehicle-only loading areas are under consideration, the City Council said.

Oxford isn't the only European city to step up its "clean air" policy game, however. Traditionally, though, Oxford is an environmentally aware city, so the proposal is expected to face less opposition than the capital's upcoming T-Charge. All of our fleet was upgraded to at least Euro 5 standard for the introduction of the Low Emission zone in 2014, and today we already have 70 Euro 6 vehicles, as well as 90 vehicles with hybrid systems fitted.

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