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Oxford proposes 'world first' Zero Emission Zone in city centre

Fri 13 October 2017 | Back to news list

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are proposing to introduce what they say is the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre. The authorities are consulting on proposals which will see a phased introduction, beginning with several city centre streets from 2020. Meanwhile, proposed bans on petrol and diesel vehicles in Holland and in cities including Paris would appear to be hastening the automotive technology transition.
The Oxford 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.
The authorities say that the proposals would cut the nitrogen dioxide level in Oxford city centre’s most polluted street, George Street, by 74% by 2035, bringing it well below the legal limit.
Recent data suggests nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have been steadied but are not falling fast enough. 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%.
The proposals would see:
  • From 2020: Non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses excluded from Queen Street, Cornmarket Street, New Inn Hall Street, Market Street, Ship Street and St Michael’s Street
  • From 2025: Non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses excluded from roads including New Road, the southern part of Worcester Street, George Street, Magdalen Street, Magdalen Street East, Pembroke Street, Speedwell Street, Norfolk Street and Castle Street
  • From 2030: Non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses 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
  • From 2035: All non-zero-emission vehicles, including HGVs, excluded from within the above area

Meanwhile the authority in Paris has announced plans to ban petrol andand diesel-fueled cars by 2030 with a target date of 2040 for a transition to electric vehicles. Paris will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2024, and has been considering an end to diesel cars by that date.

Last year, Holland joined Norway in announcing a ban on the sale of new cars powered by internal-combustion engines (ICE) after 2025. Now, the Dutch government has gone further by announcing that all new vehicles operating in Holland must be zero-emission by 2030.

France itself had earlier announced plans to ban on the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels in 2040, but it has not so far moved to ban the ICE nationwide to parallel the move in its capital city.

Britain has followed France with its own 2040 phase-out of 'conventional ICE vehicles' and China and India are reported to be planning their own timelines for removing vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

London has recently introduced its own Toxicity (T-) Charge of £10 a day. (See related story)

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