Published: Thursday, 17 June 2021

The Lord Mayor of Oxford has taken the delivery of a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, as the city prepares to launch Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) Pilot in city centre streets this August.

The black Nissan LEAF will replace the Lord Mayor’s previous vehicle, a MINI Countryman PHEV, which was on loan from MINI for one year, and will be the Lord Mayor’s permanent vehicle.

The Nissan Leaf will be used by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Mark Lygo, as well as other civic office holders to attend civic and ceremonial events across Oxford. These cover a wide range, from Royal visits and leading the City's annual Remembrance Sunday service, to small community group meetings and charity events.

The vehicle has also been fitted with the Lord Mayor’s distinctive number plate – FC1 – as well as the coat of arms for the city of Oxford.

The vehicle, which is fully electric and has a range of up to 239 miles, is compliant with the Zero Emission Zone which is to be introduced this August in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council. The car will be charged at Oxford Town Hall, where the vehicle will be kept.

The Zero Emission Zone Pilot will restrict polluting vehicles from key city centre streets during the day. Those who drive polluting vehicles into the zone will be charged, with the level of the charge dependent on how polluting the vehicle is.

Under the scheme, zero emission vehicles, like the Nissan LEAF, will not be charged to drive in the zone.

The scheme aims to reduce toxic air pollution levels, help tackle the climate emergency, and improve the health of residents, workers and visitors in Oxford and beyond.

Tackling Oxford’s transport emissions

According to Oxford’s most recent source apportionment study, the transport sector is the largest contributor of NOX emissions in the city, accounting for 68% emissions.

Data published last week found that the significant reductions in traffic caused by coronavirus pandemic resulted in a 29% drop in air pollution levels across Oxford – the lowest measure of air pollution since recording first began in 1996 and the equivalent reduction from 2009 to 2019.

In January 2019, Oxford City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency, and although it is responsible for just 1% of Oxford’s emissions. Earlier this year, the City Council set out a vision to reach zero carbon across its own operations by 2030. The council’s main focus of activity to achieve this will be to effect a rapid switch to decarbonising its power for heating systems across its buildings and its fleet vehicles.

Under its new Air Quality Action Plan, the Council has set its own voluntary target for 30 µg/m3 of NO2 to be achieved, by 2025 at the latest—going far beyond the current national legal target set out by the UK Government of 40 μgm-3.

“I am delighted that the Lord Mayor’s car is now a fully electric car. Tackling emissions is key to protecting our health and I am looking forward to attending future engagements across the city, knowing that we will not be contributing to the harmful pollutants that impact our residents.”

Councillor Mark Lygo, the Lord Mayor of Oxford

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