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Oxford to ban polluting cars in 'world's first' zero emissions zone

12 October 2017

Polluting vehicles could be banned from Oxford city centre under plans to bring in what officials believe would be the world's first "zero-emissions zone". Last year, Oxford was one of 11 British Cities that had dangerously high PM10 and PM2.5 levels, according to The World Health Organization.

It would apply to all vehicles - including taxis and buses, with the plan being to start by restricting the inner city centre, before expanding outwards in two waves in 2025 and 2030.

The upshot is that it could apparently cut nitrogen dioxide (which is bad) in the area by up to 74%.

Stagecoach Oxfordshire managing director Martin Sutton said: "There is still some way to go before zero-emission technology for buses is fully developed and we look forward to working with both city and county councils to explore what can be achieved and in what timescales".

It all sounds very sensible to us. Between 2011 and 2013, average NO2 levels across the city centre fell by 18.9%; but between 2014 and 2016 they fell by just 3.9%.

Experts claim that the plan is being introduced could reduce the risky levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) present in the city centre by up to 70 per cent.

"All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air". Further funding was requested in June to progress the ZEZ proposal.

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Oxford city centre now has illegally high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which contributes to diseases and contributes to around 40,000 deaths in the United Kingdom every year.

Oxford could be the first "zero emission zone" in the UK.

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

Since German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating USA emissions tests, politicians around the world have unveiled plans to clamp down on diesel vehicles in a bid to improve air quality and meet more stringent targets.

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".

On Monday 16 October 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. Tell us what you think in the comments area below!

Oxford to ban polluting cars in 'world's first' zero emissions zone