The World's First Zero Emissions Zone Could be Coming in 2035


The ban will be staggered, with NO2-emitting taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses excluded from a small number of streets in the city centre.

According to the Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council, the implementation of this zone could result in a 75% decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels by 2035.

None of this is to say that Oxford's intention to create a zero-emissions zone isn't well-intentioned.

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.

The city council has already begun to prepare for the Zero Emissions Zone, having secured £500,000 of Government funding to install charging points for electric taxis and a further £800,000 to install 100 EV charging points for regular motorists.

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.

"Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents", said Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for A Clean and Green Oxford.

Oxford is the first council to introduce plans of this nature, though the council has said that the proposals are "contingent on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical". 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.

And on these roads, the council admits in its planning document, "there is very little traffic" with "very few emissions" and the ban "would potentially have little overall effect on air quality".

The City Council is also considering setting up additional schemes to support the Zero Emission Zone, including offering reduced parking fees for electric vehicles, electric taxi-only ranks and electric delivery vehicle-only loading areas.

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. We know that there will be a wide variety of views and we want to hear them all. More recently, Transport for London announced an extension of their current low-emissions zone to become and ultra-low emission zone from 2020.