Oxford prides itself as a bike-riding city, but the town might well become the world’s first zero-emission zone by 2035 if plans to radically lower emissions are implemented.
New plans could see any petrol or diesel vehicles entering the city would be fined – pushing commuters to use electric cars across the city. The plan would not only see the town join other low-emission cities in the C40 group but go even further.
The plan came about after 75% of the Oxfords pollution was linked to traffic. Both the city and county councils decided to create a low-emission zone to tackle the problem.
Since 2014 only low-emitting vehicles have been allowed Oxfords city limits, forcing buses to switch to low-emission or hybrid fleets.
The scheme has been a success; air quality has improved by almost one-third and last year Oxford came second for cycling towns (with 22% of residents cycling three or more times a week).
Oxfords zero pollution scheme
The next step though is more ambitious – zero pollution.
The first stage will the creation of a zero-emission zone – half a square mile in size – in the cities centre.
This will be expanded each year; until in 2035, the zone covers the whole city. Any petrol or diesel vehicles entering the city will be fined.
While the move might seem radical now; the next decade will see a boom in electric cars with some companies ceasing production of any petrol or diesel vehicles completely.
The rise of advanced electric technology and its increasing availability will make zero- and low-emission zones easier to enforce.