New proposals from Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council could see the city become the first in the United Kingdom to ban petrol and diesel cars from the centre. Starting in 2020, diesel and petroleum-fueled taxis, buses, light commercial vehicles, and taxis will be prohibited from using certain streets.
The zone will be gradually widened to include more streets and further vehicle types until 2035 when all emitting vehicles, including lorries, will be banned from the centre.
Councillor John Tanner of Oxford city council said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents".
According to the council, the new zero-emissions zone has the potential to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide, - much of which comes from traffic fumes especially from diesel engines, by 74 percent by 2035.
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The councils are seeking responses from local residents, businesses and fleet operators to help shape the final scheme, expected to be published nex year. In 2015, the council says levels were at 152.5 per cent of the legal maximum for NO2.
From 2025, non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses would be 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.
Transport for London is planning to introduce the world's first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in the capital in September 2020. "We know that the future is electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions; this is the beginning of a revolution in bus travel".
Since German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating US 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.
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Driving petrol and diesel cars could soon be a no-go in parts of Oxford, UK.
The councils have acknowledged that more funding will be required to implement these new measures.
Does the Zero Emissions Zone make sense for Oxford city centre?
You can read the complete Press Release with the list of all the roads that will be affected here, and the Zero Emissions Zone Feasibility Study here.
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Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for environment, said: "We want to hear from everyone who uses the city centre - including businesses, bus and taxi firms and local residents so that we get the fullest possible picture. 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".