Plans to extend the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) from the current pilot area to cover the entire city centre in Oxford have been unveiled.
Last week, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council set out a number of measures that are aimed at creating a zero carbon transport network across the city.
The proposals will see the introduction of a city wide workplace parking levy, traffic filters and a wider zero emission zone, together with improved public transport and cycle routes.
Over the coming months, the councils will engage with businesses, service providers, hospitals, transport providers, schools and town and parish councils to gather feedback on the proposed schemes.
Consultations on these proposals will take place in late summer 2022, with the schemes to be implemented between 2023 and 2024.
Cllr Tom Hayes, deputy leader and cabinet member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council, said: ‘Gridlocked traffic is bad for everyone – it is bad for residents, bad for the economy, and bad for the environment. Our air must be cleaner to protect our health. Our energy must be cleaner to protect our futures. As well as tackling air pollution and our climate crisis, everyone must be able to move swiftly and simply from A to B. Citizens have lives to lead and they want to enjoy the best possible health and transportation, and to look to the future with hope.’
Cllr Hayes continued: ‘Everyone in the city struggles with the same congestion choking their roads, worries about the air they breathe, and looks to our climate future with nervousness. We all want to fix our problems—by proposing these plans, both councils want to speak directly to citizens and organisations over the next few months ahead of further public consultation later this year. We want everyone to have their say.’
As well as extending the ZEZ, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are proposing to extend the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) to cover employers across the city. The money raised will, by law, be spent on improving transport in the city.
Six traffic filters on Hythe Bridge Street, Thames Street, Marston Ferry road, St Cross road, Hollow Way, and St Clements are also proposed to reduce traffic congestion, improve bus journey times and create safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cllr Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: ‘The climate emergency and inequalities across the county and city mean Oxford needs a more sustainable and reliable transport system for everyone.
‘We want to make walking, cycling and using public transport the first choice for people. The new plans will not only help us move towards a progressive transport network in the city, but they will also improve the quality of all our lives.’