Have your say on the future of Oxford’s air quality

Published: Friday, 11th September 2020

Residents can now have their say on the vision for the future of Oxford’s air quality with the opening of the consultation of Oxford’s Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025.

The consultation will ask residents, business, and stakeholders for their views on the introduction of a new local target for air quality; the first of its kind in the UK, and seek views on the measures proposed to tackle air pollution.

The consultation will also seek views on what measures individuals are prepared to take to reduce pollution in the City. 

Tackling air pollution

The new Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025 outlines the actions that the Council will take to improve air quality in Oxford City between the years 2021 to 2025, building on its previous Air Quality Action Plan.

The City Council has set out plans to go significantly further than the current legal target for air pollution to improve the health of those living, working, and visiting Oxford.

This includes setting out a city-wide air pollution reduction target, with a new local annual mean NO2 target of 30 µg/m3 by 2025. The localised air pollution reduction target goes further than the legal annual mean limit value for NO2 of 40 µg/m3.

The target is both stretching, and realistically achievable by 2025 – however, without the introduction of key schemes such as the Oxford Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford, it is unlikely that Oxford will meet this local target.

The Air Quality Action Plan 2021-25 outlines a framework of activity in the city to reduce NO2 emissions, whilst also highlighting new actions to reach and go beyond the council’s new NO2 local target.

The plan sets out 30 actions and measures for the Council to deliver with its partners across four priority areas:

  1. Developing partnerships and public education;
  2. Support for the uptake of low and zero emission vehicles;
  3. Reducing emissions from domestic heating, industry and services
  4. Reduce the need to travel, explore opportunities for mode shift and increase the uptake of sustainable transport

Air Quality in Oxford

Overall, since 2013 the city has seen a 26% reduction in NO2 levels. However, since 2017 the city has seen air pollution levels plateau.

The Air Quality Action Plan will build upon the foundations of the previous plan which saw the announcement of schemes such as the Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford, in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council.

The Air Quality Action Plan has been produced as part of the Council’s statutory duty required by the Local Air Quality Management framework.

The plan will be subject to an annual review and each year progress will be reported in the Annual Status Reports (ASRs).

Take part in the consultation

The consultation is open from Thursday 10 September to 23.59 on Sunday 1 November, and is open to residents, businesses, and stakeholders.

View the draft Air Quality Action Plan and take part in the consultation.

“Since we made last Air Quality Action Plan we have introduced a raft of new measures and plans across the city, including announcing our intentions for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone, and Connecting Oxford schemes. Thanks to the air quality actions we have taken, we have reduced the main pollutant of concern by 26% over the last seven years.

“The new Air Quality Action Plan aims to build on the foundations of previous plan, and the schemes we have outlined. In particular it sets out an exciting new target for the city to achieve in relation to air pollution levels – going beyond the current Government legal limit in order to help improve the health of our residents. We know that air pollution damages people’s health and cuts short their lives. This new plan outlines how we will continue to tackle this in the coming years, and push ourselves as a council to go further. We want to know what you think about our plans. This cannot be achieved without support from businesses, residents, and stakeholders across the city, and we want to ensure that we are doing the most we can to clean up Oxford’s air.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford