Oxford unveils plans for zero emission zone

Oxford unveils plans for zero emission zone

Oxford is poised to introduce the world's first zero-emissions zone.

First, there will be a ban in non-zero emissions taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles, and buses, non-allowing them to use a small number of streets in 2020.

The Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council put forward their proposal for a Zero Emission Zone in the Oxford city center on Wednesday in an attempt to yield "historic reductions in air pollution".

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..." By implementing the two stages of the ZEZ, George Street, Oxford's most polluted street, will reduce its nitrogen dioxide levels by 74 per cent in 2035, placing it below the legal limit.

The government has already announced its plans for all conventional petrol and diesel new cars to be banned from 2040, meaning new vehicles would have to be hybrid or fully-electric.

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According to the city council, Oxford city centre now has illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a leading cause of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The next phase of the plan will involve a more comprehensive ban, which will usher in the zero-emissions zone in its entirety.

Tanner has urged everyone who uses the city centre to take part, adding: "We need to know 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 affected areas will expand further in 2025 and 2030 where the latter will see a city entirely rid of petrol and diesel vehicles excluding HGVs, which will be banned in 2035.

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.

The initiative is part of the city's efforts to encourage the use of electric cars with six central streets bidding farewell to fossil fuels by 2020. According to the Oxford Mail, adjusting for the ZEZ would cost city councils, bus operators, haulage companies, and taxi firms approximately £14 million ($18.5 million). The zone, which requires buses to be low-emitting vehicles, was the first of its kind outside London and won the Local Authority Air Quality Initiative of the Year at the National Air Quality Awards 2015.

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