Oxford city centre to become world's first Zero Emissions Zone by 2020

GETTYThe initiative will cost Oxford city Council bus and taxi firms an estimated £14 million

Oxford has unveiled plans to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre with an ultimate aim to deliver a zero-emission zone in 2035.

In July, the Government committed to the phase-out of new auto sales for petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

The city centre now has illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in its air, which contributes to diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease.

A six-week public consultation will be held from the 16 October to the 26 November to gain feedback from the public concerning the zero-emissions proposal.

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.

"The county and city together are proposing a staged Zero Emission Zone from 2020 in the city centre, with additional measures to bring down chronic pollution in St Clement's Street, High Street and St Aldate's".

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The zero emission zone proposals would see: 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 2020. However, the council also admitted it would be "need to be supported with further funding" from central government.

From 2030, non-zero emission taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses would be 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.

The university city of Oxford, England has an even more aggressive goal than Paris.

But if Oxford's zone doesn't have a tangible impact on the city's deadly air pollution levels until at 2025, then it'll be more sham than saviour.

“Everyone needs to do their bit – from national government and local authorities to businesses and residents – to end this public health emergency.”.

Does the Zero Emissions Zone make sense for Oxford city centre? Traditionally, though, Oxford is an environmentally aware city, so the proposal is expected to face less opposition than the capital's upcoming T-Charge. The surprise news came after Sadiq Khan announced that London will have the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 - a year ahead of schedule. A move to ban all non-EVs across the city will follow in 2035, five years before the Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles nationwide.

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