Oxford City and County Councils will ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre under new measures created to dramatically decrease the city's carbon emissions.
The government has already announced its plans for all conventional petrol and diesel new cars to be banned from 2040, meaning new vehicles would have to be hybrid or fully-electric. After the initial launch, the city will extend the area in 2025 and 2030; in 2035, non-zero-emission HGVs will also be banned from the area.
The Zero Emission Zone proposals would cut the nitrogen dioxide level in Oxford city centre's most polluted street, George Street, by 74% by 2035, bringing it well below the legal limit, the authorities claim.
The City and County Council will be holding a six-week consultation period with the public and businesses on how the plans will be implemented.
The council has won £500,000 ($847,600) in Government funding to install charge points for electric taxis, and another £800,000 ($1,350,000) to supply 100 charge points for residents ahead of the proposed Zero Emission Zone. 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 councillor John Tanner said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents". Back in 2016, Madrid's city council ordered 50% of the city's vehicles to be banned.
Going forward, it will need to be supported with further funding to install more electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Oxford. "We know that the future is electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions; this is the beginning of a revolution in bus travel".
"All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air".
"We support the principle of a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford". Traditionally, though, Oxford is an environmentally aware city, so the proposal is expected to face less opposition than the capital's upcoming T-Charge.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for environment, said: "We want to hear from everyone who uses the city centre - including businesses, bus and taxi firms and local residents so that we get the fullest possible picture".