Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Oxford proposes banning diesel and petrol vehicles from city centre

Oxford proposes banning diesel and petrol vehicles from city centre

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

On Monday, a six-week public consultation will be launched that will look at views on the speed of the implementation, as well as the roads and vehicle types included in the scheme.

Rupert Stuart-Smith, President of the Oxford Climate Society, said: "Oxford Climate Society welcomes Oxford City Council's proposed Zero Emissions Zone to cut the amount of toxic air breathed in by students and residents in central Oxford".

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.

According to the city council, latest monitoring data has found that air pollution appears to have plateaued above the legal limits in some parts of the city.

Councillor John Tanner said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents". Green Transport Spokesperson Cllr Dick Wolff said in an emailed statement: "Planning for better air quality in 2020 and 2025 is all very well but it is hard to take such proposals seriously when the Council is taking decisions NOW which are significantly worsening air quality". The City Council is looking for funding for more battery charging infrastructure.

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

"The council would be better placed to first identify those vehicles that are most responsible for creating city pollution rather than simply implementing an outright ban on all non-zero-emissions vehicles from certain streets".

"I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation".

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. "However, zero emission bus and coach technology is still evolving so we will work with the City Council to identify the possible solutions for Oxford and the time frame in which they might be able to be deployed". "Pragmatism will be an important part of anything we plan but we have set the ambition and now we would like to hear people's views on our proposals".

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