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Oxford is set to become the world's first Zero Emissions Zone, banning all petrol and diesel vehicles from its city centre.
The proposals would see the ban being rolled out slowly, starting with all petrol and diesel cars, taxis and buses being excluded from six streets in 2020. This will then be expanded in 2025 and again in 2030, to eventually cover the whole city centre.
In 2035 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will also be banned from the same area.
Oxford could be the first 'zero emission zone' in the UK. Credit: PA
Next week will see the start of a six-week public consultation on the proposals.
Experts who back the scheme say it could cut harmful nitrogen dioxide levels by as much as 74 percent in one street, the Telegraph reports.
John Tanner, Oxford city council cabinet member for environment, said: "Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford's residents. A step change is urgently needed; the new Zero Emission Zone is that step change.
"All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air. Everyone needs to do their bit - from national Government and local authorities, to businesses and residents - to end this public health emergency."
Petrol and diesel users will be banned from six streets to begin with. Credit: PA
But not everyone is keen on the idea, as it will involve costs of around £14 million ($18.5m) - broken down into £7m ($5.3m) used to upgrade bus, taxi, haulage and council fleets, and £7m ($5.3m) for infrastructure - with most of this cost going on installing electric vehicle charging points, but could also include automatic number place recognition systems.
However, as the plans are due to be gradually rolled out over 18 years, the council has pointed out that there's plenty of time to budget, with the majority of the cost taken up by the second half of the plan. However, the council also admitted it would be 'need to be supported with further funding' from central government.
Anyone caught driving their petrol or diesel motor though one of the exclusion zones will be whacked with a £60 ($79) fine, similar to being clocked in a bus lane.
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