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.
Bad news if you like burning oil to make your auto move, as Oxford City Council is launching a consultation on banning petrol and diesel vehicles entirely from the city centre, as early as 2020.
The goal is to decrease air pollution in the city. Over 40,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom are caused by air pollution according to a 2016 report by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. By implementing the two stages of the ZEZ, George Street, Oxford's most polluted street, will reduce its nitrogen dioxide levels by 74 per cent in 2035, placing it below the legal limit.
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Whilst London is rolling out an "ultra low emission zone", which will see the most gas-guzzling vehicles pay daily charges to enter the city centre from 2020, Oxford's "Zero Emission Zone" will ban emitting vehicles from entering part of the city centre from that date. Further funding was requested in June to progress the ZEZ proposal.
John Tanner, Oxford city council cabinet member for environment, said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents. Everyone who uses Oxford centre has the right to breathe clean air".
However, as the plans are due to be gradually rolled out over 18 years, the council has pointed out that there's plenty of time to budget, with the majority of the cost taken up by the second half of the plan.
Beginning next week, councils for both the city of Oxford and its county will begin a six-week comment period to gauge the public opinion. Last year, Oxford was one of 11 British Cities that had dangerously high PM10 and PM2.5 levels, according to The World Health Organization. "Everyone needs to do their bit - from national Government and local authorities, to businesses and residents - to end this public health emergency". Tell us what you think in the comments area below!