Oxford to ban polluting cars in 'world's first' zero emissions zone

13 October, 2017, 18:26 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • GETTYAnyone caught filling the city with pollution will be handed an estimated £60 fine

Initially, the city hopes to ban gas and diesel cars, taxis, and buses from six streets in the college town's historical center by 2020.

A proposal from the Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council would ban most internal-combustion vehicles from certain areas of the city centre in 2020, ahead of a total city-wide ban in 2035.

The council has won £500,000 ($847,600) in Government funding to install charge points for electric taxis, and another £800,000 ($1,350,000) to supply 100 charge points for residents ahead of the proposed Zero Emission Zone. The Oxford ZEZ is part of the larger plan throughout the country created to tackle illegal levels of air pollution; many streets in Oxford are past the legal limit set by the European Union for Nitrogen Dioxide.

The introduction of the zone is expected to reduce NO2 levels in George Street by 74% by 2035.

The Councils are taking other measures to help residents and visitors lower emissions.

Councillor John Tanner of Oxford city council expressed the city's endorsement of this eco-friendly change: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents..."

Beginning next week, councils for both the city of Oxford and its county will begin a six-week comment period to gauge the public opinion.

However, the proposal for a zero emission zone relies on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical. The City Council is looking for funding for more battery charging infrastructure. 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.

Other schemes under consideration to support the emissions-free zone include: offering reduced parking fees for electric vehicles, electric taxi-only ranks, and electric delivery vehicle-only loading areas. "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".

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

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".

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