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

New proposals from Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council could see the city become the first in the United Kingdom to ban petrol and diesel cars from the centre. The 2020 ruling would see all petrol and diesel cars, taxis, light commercial vehicles and buses banned from a small area of downtown.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have proposed a "zero emission zone" in Oxford city centre.

John Tanner, Councillor of Oxford City Council said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents". 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 councils are seeking responses from local residents, businesses and fleet operators to help shape the final scheme, expected to be published nex year.

In 2035 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will also be banned from the same area.

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 zero-emissions zone plan will be implemented gradually. It is hoped these improvements to infrastructure will support the introduction of the Zero Emission Zone.

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.

Does the Zero Emissions Zone make sense for Oxford city centre?

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 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. The surprise news came after Sadiq Khan announced that London will have the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 - a year ahead of schedule.

You can read the complete Press Release with the list of all the roads that will be affected here, and the Zero Emissions Zone Feasibility Study here.

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