Shocking information for Oxford – are we next? Oxford in the UK claims it will be the first to mandate itself as the world-first zero-emissions zone.
The stimulus for this comes from the World Health Organisation data released last year showing that Oxford was one of 11 cities in the UK to breach the safe limits set for certain types of toxic particles. Without a hint of knee jerk, the local council is promising to clean up the air by gradually banning petrol and diesel cars, trucks and taxis over a 15-year period from 2020.
By 2035, only electric vehicles will be allowed inside a zero-emissions zone and it’s hoped levels of nitrogen dioxide, much of which comes from cars, will have been slashed by 74 percent on the city’s most polluted streets.
“We think it will be the world’s first zero-emissions zone,” Oxford City Councillor John Tanner says. “We’re responding to an immediate health challenge, that’s why we’re doing it. We happen to be the first, we are sure many other cities around the world will follow us.”
The rest of the United Kingdom, mandates it will stop the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and France, where carmakers are being encouraged by the Government to build electric and hybrid vehicles.
However, not all the local citizens are all that enthusiastic. You don’t have to search too hard to find people with concerns about how quickly the zero-emissions zone is being phased in. Oxford taxi drivers, for example, worry about the immediate cost and practicality of using electric cabs. Range anxiety is a real worry.
“They’re talking about these new cabs that have got a range of 112 km before they need recharging but if you get a long distance job over 70 miles you need a charging point somewhere.”
Others voiced their misgivings, “They’re going to have to bring the emissions zone into Oxford because the pollution is still too high … but until they get all the infrastructure rolled out across the country it’s crazy.”
City councillors are promising they will listen to the concerns of local businesses and build more charging stations. They want to show the world that transitioning to electric cars is possible and they hope the process is relatively painless.