Statement from Councillor Tom Hayes, Executive Board Member for a Safer and Greener Environment, regarding the Government's new draft Clean Air Strategy.
“Oxford has toxic and illegal levels of air pollution in some streets, and urgent action is needed. Oxford City Council is leading the world in tackling this public health emergency, proposing the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in 2020 and installing world-leading electric vehicle charging technology.
“But we cannot achieve this alone; we need Government support and funding, particularly to help install more electric vehicle charging points. Over recent years the Government has provided Oxford City Council with £3.25m of funding to install charging points and upgrade buses to reduce emissions, and earlier this year Ministers pledged ‘a more formal approach’ to supporting our work.
“We are pleased that the Government has released a draft Clean Air Strategy for the UK, but, at first glance, the document appears to be light on detail about how the ‘more formal approach’ will work, how local authorities will be supported to introduce zero emission zones, and how much funding will be available to achieve this. Others have described the strategy as having ‘a transport-shaped hole’, which, given about 70% of air pollution in Oxford comes from transport, is concerning.
“We will be going through the strategy in detail over the coming weeks to understand how it will impact Oxford, and will be responding formally to the consultation later this summer. We would encourage residents and businesses to do the same.”