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. Taxis, cars, light commercial and buses will be restricted access to a small number of streets in 2020, before the 2035 ban of all vehicle types across the whole city centre.
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.
Experts who back the scheme say it could cut harmful nitrogen dioxide levels by as much as 74 percent in one street, the Telegraph reports. Rather than encouraging drivers to pay a fee, as in London, the city will completely ban all but pure-electric vehicles in a bid to halve nitrogen oxide emissions, which have risen above legal limits in certain areas of the city.
According to the city council, Oxford city centre now has illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a leading cause of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
John Tanner, the Oxford City Council environment chief claimed the electric initiative is "urgently needed".
Driving petrol and diesel cars could soon be a no-go in parts of Oxford, UK. The next phase of the plan will involve a more comprehensive ban, which will usher in the zero-emissions zone in its entirety.
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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.
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"All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air".
The City Council recognises the need for further funding to install EV charging infrastructure in the city.
"I would urge everyone who uses Oxford city centre to take part in the consultation". According to the Oxford Mail, adjusting for the ZEZ would cost city councils, bus operators, haulage companies, and taxi firms approximately £14 million ($18.5 million).
"We know that there will be a wide variety of views and we want hear them all". All of our fleet was upgraded to at least Euro 5 standard for the introduction of the Low Emission zone in 2014, and today we already have 70 Euro 6 vehicles, as well as 90 vehicles with hybrid systems fitted.