Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Oxford plans to become world's first Zero Emission Zone

Oxford plans to become world's first Zero Emission Zone

Starting in 2020, diesel and petroleum-fueled taxis, buses, light commercial vehicles, and taxis will be prohibited from using certain streets.

Oxford City and County Councils will ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre under new measures created to dramatically decrease the city's carbon emissions.

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.

Parts of Oxford city centre are failing to meet the EU's legal air pollution limit, with average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels falling by just 3.9% between 2014 and 2016.

Tanner said that George Street, one of the city's main commercial arteries, could see NO2 levels drop by as much as 74 percent.

Oxford city councillor John Tanner said: "Everyone who uses Oxford centre has the right to breathe clean air".

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.

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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.

Oxford is the first council to introduce plans of this nature, though the council has said that the proposals are "contingent on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical". "Everyone needs to do their bit - from national Government and local authorities, to businesses and residents - to end this public health emergency".

Going forward, it will need to be supported with further funding to install more electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Oxford.

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. The next phase of the plan will involve a more comprehensive ban, which will usher in the zero-emissions zone in its entirety.

The zero-emissions zone plan will be implemented gradually.

Oxford isn't the only European city to step up its "clean air" policy game, however.

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

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