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Oxford to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles and become ‘world’s first zero-emissions zone’

Scheme aims to cut levels of nitrogen dioxide by three-quarters by 2035

Lydia Smith
Thursday 12 October 2017 13:27 BST
Scheme aims to address air pollution in historic city
Scheme aims to address air pollution in historic city (Getty)

Oxford is to ban all non-electric vehicles from its city centre to create what officials believe will be the first zero-emissions zone in the world.

All petrol and diesel vehicles will be barred from six streets in the city centre from 2020, including cars, taxis and buses.

The zone will be gradually be expanded to cover the whole of the city centre and all vehicle types, including HGVs, by 2035, according to proposals set out by Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council.

The scheme aims to cut levels of nitrogen dioxide, the majority of which comes from traffic fumes, by three-quarters.

Oxford city councillor John Tanner said a “step change” is urgently needed as toxic air pollution is “damaging the health” of residents.

The scheme is expected to cost Oxford city council, Oxfordshire county council, bus companies, taxi firms and other businesses around £7m, in order to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with electric or hybrid alternatives.

Even the council’s gritting vehicles and bin lorries will need to be changed.

A further £7m will need to be spent on infrastructure including CCTV cameras with number plate recognition to enforce the ban and electric car charging.

Anyone caught driving a non-electric vehicle in the zone will likely receive an automatic fine.

The city council said the zone would “need to be supported with further funding” from government, with bids in the near future.

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