Oxford to set up world's first zero emissions zone

14 October, 2017, 00:49 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • GETTYAnyone caught filling the city with pollution will be handed an estimated £60 fine

It's worth noting that whether people are eager to accept the Oxford ZEZ or not, the national government has already announced that the United Kingdom will ban the sale of all fossil fuel cars starting in 2040; the final roll-out of the ZEZ will be only five years before that anyway.

Every five years after that, the proposal suggests widening the size of the area where gas and diesel vehicles are banned.

The ban will reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the city's worst pollution blackspot, George Street, by 74%, returning it to natural levels of pollution.

On Monday (October 16), the city and county councils will launch a six-week public consultation on the proposals - seeking views on the speed of the implementation, and the vehicle 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.

In a joint proposal by Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council, the plan is to ban conventional fuel vehicles in certain parts of the city centre in 2020.

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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. "We know that the future is electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions; this is the beginning of a revolution in bus travel". The City Council is looking for funding for more battery charging infrastructure.

The university city of Oxford, England has an even more aggressive goal than Paris.

"The county and city together are proposing a staged zero emission zone from 2020 in the city centre, with additional measures to bring down chronic pollution in St Clement's Street, High Street and St Aldate's".

Over the last decade, Oxford says it has reduced NO2 levels by almost 37 percent, but council member John Tanner told The Telegraph that a ban is "urgently needed". "Everyone needs to do their bit, from the national government and local authorities to businesses and residents, to end this public health emergency". Traditionally, though, Oxford is an environmentally aware city, so the proposal is expected to face less opposition than the capital's upcoming T-Charge.

Leeds City Council Councillor Richard Lewis heralded the move as the start of a "revolution in bus travel". 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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