Oxford to ban petrol and diesel cars from centre by 2020

Oxford to ban petrol and diesel cars from centre by 2020

Oxford has announced plans to ban all polluting vehicles in the city centre as it hopes to introduce the world's first zero-emission zone.

The proposal would see diesel and petrol vehicles banned from Oxford city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020, potentially moving to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

For example in the city centre's most polluted street, George Street, a 74% reduction in toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels is expected by 2035.

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..." 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. Back in 2016, Madrid's city council ordered 50% of the city's vehicles to be banned. In 2015, the council says levels were at 152.5 per cent of the legal maximum for NO2. "Everyone needs to do their bit, from the national government and local authorities to businesses and residents, to end this public health emergency". "We know that the future is electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions; this is the beginning of a revolution in bus travel". "A step change is urgently needed; the Zero Emission Zone is that step change".

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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The councils have acknowledged that more funding will be required to implement these new measures.

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. 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.

The modelling underpinning the zero emission zone proposals comes from a new study, which was commissioned jointly by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, and was carried out by Ricardo Energy & Environment.

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

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