More than 750 have their say on Zero Emission Zone proposals – find out how they voted here!

News just in – a press release from Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council – which includes a breakdown of how people responded to the multiple choice questions.  Encouraging overall!

More than 750 have their say on Zero Emission Zone proposals

More than 750 individuals and businesses have completed a consultation on proposals to introduce a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford. Initial results show there is huge support for the proposals, however many concerns have been raised which will be assessed in the next stage of work.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council put forward the joint proposals in October. The Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre would be the first in the world.

The proposals respond to Oxford’s toxic levels of air pollution. Despite a 36.9 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels across Oxford in the last decade, parts of the city centre are still failing to meet legal limits on the pollutant.

A 2016 report found that air pollution contributes to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. It also found that, each year in the UK, outdoor air pollution causes around 40,000 deaths.

The Zero Emission Zone proposals would see pollution emitting vehicles banned from Oxford city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and, as vehicle technology develops, moving to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

This would take air pollution levels in Oxford city centre down to near-background levels. For example, in the city centre’s most polluted street, George Street, a 74 per cent reduction in toxic nitrogen dioxide levels is expected by 2035.

In total, the six-week consultation, which closed on Sunday (26/11), received 755 responses: 691 responses to the online consultation on Oxfordshire County Council’s website, and 64 written representations from individuals and organisations.

Ninety per cent of those who responded to the online consultation said tackling poor air quality in Oxford is either “very important” or “important”.

The proposals ban emitting vehicles in five-year stages, expanding from a small number of streets in 2020. Each of these incremental proposals received support, with 71 per cent “strongly supporting” or “supporting” the 2020 proposals, 69 per cent the 2025 proposals, and 68 per cent the 2030 proposals.

However, when asked directly if the proposed zones are appropriate, 28 per cent said “yes”, but 20 per cent said the area “should be smaller” and 45 per cent said the area “should be larger”. Sixty one per cent said the zone should be extended beyond the proposed boundaries in the future.

The consultation has also highlighted a number of areas of concern from stakeholders, especially from businesses and individuals directly impacted by the proposals, which will need to be considered in detail.

These areas include deliveries to and from businesses within the zone, access to the zone for disabled people, the introduction of electric buses within the suggested timescale, and infrastructure improvements that are needed to encourage alternative means of transport, such as cycling and walking.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council will now go through all the responses – 130,000 words in the online responses alone – in detail and work to develop a final version of the Zero Emission Zone. Further engagement with key stakeholders and impacted parties are planned for the start of 2018.

The results of the online consultation are as follows:

  • How important is it to tackle poor air quality in central Oxford?
    • Very important: 70% (485)
    • Important: 20% (139)
    • Neither important or unimportant: 6% (44)
    • Unimportant: 2% (14)
    • Very unimportant: 1% (9)
    • Don’t know: 0% (0)
  • Are the proposed ZEZ zones appropriate?
    • Yes: 28% (192)
    • No, should be a larger area: 45% (309)
    • No, should be a smaller area: 20% (139)
    • No opinion: 3% (21)
    • Don’t know: 4% (30)
  • The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in the red zone in 2020. Do you agree with this proposal?
    • Strongly support: 57% (391)
    • Support: 14% (98)
    • Neither support or oppose: 3% (24)
    • Oppose: 9% (61)
    • Strongly oppose: 16% (113)
    • Don’t know: 1% (4)
  • The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the orange zone in 2025. Do you agree with this proposal?
    • Strongly support: 55% (379)
    • Support: 14% (95)
    • Neither support or oppose: 6% (40)
    • Oppose: 10% (72)
    • Strongly oppose: 14% (95)
    • Don’t know: 1% (10)
  • The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in the green zone by 2030. Do you agree with this proposal?
    • Strongly support: 54% (373)
    • Support: 14% (96)
    • Neither support or oppose: 6% (44)
    • Oppose: 9% (63)
    • Strongly oppose: 15% (104)
    • Don’t know: 2% (11)
  • Do you think that the ZEZ should be extended beyond the green zone in the future?
    • Strongly support: 47% (323)
    • Support: 14% (96)
    • Neither support or oppose: 9% (65)
    • Oppose: 9% (59)
    • Strongly oppose: 16% (113)
    • Don’t know: 5% (35)
  • Do you think that historic vehicles should exempt from the ZEZ?
    • Strongly support: 15% (104)
    • Support: 15% (101)
    • Neither support or oppose: 18% (127)
    • Oppose: 22% (151)
    • Strongly oppose: 24% (164)
    • Don’t know: 6% (44)
  • Do you think mopeds/motorcycles should be exempt from the ZEZ?
    • Strongly support: 10% (70)
    • Support: 10% (68)
    • Neither support or oppose: 14% (95)
    • Oppose: 26% (183)
    • Strongly oppose: 37% (258)
    • Don’t know: 2% (17)

For more information about the Zero Emission Zone proposals, including a newly-produced FAQ document, visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/zez.

Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said: “I’m thrilled that most people are backing the proposal for a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.

“The reason for carrying out the consultation was to understand, in detail, what people’s needs are, so we can minimise the impact of the Zero Emission Zone on business and residents while maximising the impact on the city’s health. I am thankful that so many took time out of their busy schedules to take part.

“We have received more than 130,000 words in response to the online consultation alone, and we now need to go through this in detail. We must now work urgently to finalise the proposals to make sure they work for everyone and deliver a solution to the toxic and illegal levels of air pollution in Oxford city centre.”

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Environment, said: “It is fantastic that so many individuals and businesses took the time to consider the Zero Emission Zone proposals for Oxford and that mostly are supportive of its ambitions.

“This is an exciting time for Oxfordshire County Council to be leading the way with the City Council on reducing pollution but now the hard work begins to see how we can implement the zone whilst allowing Oxford to thrive economically and remain a wonderful place for its residents to live. We are working with stakeholders, innovators and funding bodies to explore how we can use technology and new infrastructure to enable the ZEZ transition.”

Dutch inspiration for a wintry Monday morning…

… as opposed to Dutch courage – not what we suggest to start the week.

Hopefully many of you will have taken the time to respond to the informal consultation on the Zero Emissions Zone, which closed yesterday.  If you did, well done!

It will be interesting to see how that develops, and what happens next.  We will keep you posted.

In the meantime, here is some very inspiring stuff from Holland – and specifically from Groningen, a city where over 60% of all journeys are made by bike and that boasts the cleanest air of all big Dutch cities:

‘How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world’, The Guardian 29 July 2015

You might also want to look up the work of Robert Weetman, a transport engineer in awe of the incredible Dutch active travel rates.  He does a really good job of illustrating what the difference between options for road use are very clearly. You can find his blog here.

We are hoping to invite him to Oxford in the next few months to talk about his findings, so again, watch this space.

Know of other inspiring transport systems around the world?  We’d love to hear from you, so we can share them – the more ideas and inspiration, the better!

 

ZEZ consultation – your response MADE EASY!

We have been working with others to facilitate the process of mass response to the current ZEZ consultation, and Low Carbon Oxford North have put together a fantastic document, which makes your response EASY.

Here it is, with a few tiny additions – and massive gratitude to LCON for their work.  Read on, or download and share the pdf: ZEZ questions note with suggested answers.

Oxford City Council Zero Emission Zone consultation – your response made easy

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are proposing to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre. The proposal would see diesel and petrol vehicles banned from Oxford city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a few streets in 2020, and – as vehicle technology develops – moving to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

The online consultation is at www.oxford.gov.uk/zez (closes 26 November 2017) with a video, the ZEZ proposal, a map of proposed scheme boundaries & phases, the full ZEZ Feasibility and Implementation Study, and a button at the bottom which opens the consultation process.

There are 17 questions (copied below). Some are mandatory (marked below in bold and with an asterisk*). The format varies from making a simple choice from a spectrum of responses (e.g. agree, disagree, don’t know) through to the opportunity to set out answers and ideas within an expandable text box.

Questions 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 14,15,16 are mandatory. None of these require comments – all are single responses to the question. There is the opportunity to comment in the other, non-mandatory questions.

We have suggested some answers to the questions in the table below. Our main intention here is to enable individuals to express their views while encouraging a large positive response to the consultation – bearing in mind that the worst outcome would be a negative public response that discourages the councils from proceeding. If you have very limited time, please consider just answering the mandatory questions.

Question Suggested answer
1. How important is it to tackle poor air quality in Central Oxford? * Very important
2. Are the proposed ZEZ zones appropriate? * Either ‘Yes’, or ‘No, should be a larger area’
3. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and Light     Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in the red zone in 2020. Do you agree with this proposal? * Strongly support
4. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and LCVs in the red zone in 2020. What issues do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers   (text box for answer)
You could say ‘no issues’ or skip the question; or you might consider saying that the small size of this first zone risks making it hard for people to experience the benefits, or risks perpetuating the public health crisis air pollution presents. You could suggest that more monitoring should take place, particularly around the ring road, as it is not only the city centre where pollution is above legal limits. For health reasons, the monitoring should accurately include PM2.5 and PM10 particles. These will continue to be produced by electric vehicles, so a concerted effort to reduce traffic levels is still needed, even with electric vehicles, coupled with promotion of cycling and walking.
5. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and LCVs in the red zone in 2020. What opportunities do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers   (text box for answer)

Some suggestions:

We consider air pollution in Oxford, and the UK more generally, a public health crisis. As such, compliance with legal limits should be the overriding consideration. Where areas are non-compliant with legal limits, simple cost-benefit calculations may not be appropriate. Whatever option is taken forward, targeted measures should be put in place to ensure limits are not breached, to take effect by 2020.

 

The ZEZ proposed from 2020 will create an (albeit limited) experience of less polluted streets which will make visiting, shopping and working in that small part of the city healthier and much more enjoyable. It will make it easier for people to interact on a human level. It will open up opportunities for low-emission transport and delivery systems such as cargo bikes to be developed, and showcase Oxford as a place where low-carbon technology is welcome. These improvements should build capacity and encourage a positive response to the widening of the ZEZ in 2025.

6. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the orange zone in 2025. Do you agree with this proposal? * Strongly support
7. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission taxis, buses, LVCs and cars within the orange zone by 2025. What issues do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers?     (text box for answer)
You could say ‘no issues’ or skip the question, or call for the orange zone implementation to be brought forward or the zone boundaries widened (especially, we suggest, to take in the Castle area, and in West Oxford, to extend to include Ferry Hinksey Road). You may want to highlight the fact that HGVs will still be able to use the ZEZ
8. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission taxis, buses, LVCs and cars within the orange zone by 2025. What opportunities do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers?   (text box for answer)
It will enable the low-carbon technology developed over the previous five years to be implemented across most of the main shopping area in the city centre, and make the experience of visiting, working and shopping in this area healthier and more pleasant.
9. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission cars, taxis, buses and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in the Green Zone by 2030. Do you agree with this proposal? * Strongly support
10. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission taxis, buses, LCVs and cars within the Green Zone by 2030. What issues do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers   (text box for answer)
You could say ‘no issues’ or skip the question, or call for the green zone implementation to be brought forward or the zone boundaries widened (we suggest it should take in a much broader area approaching the ring road). You may want to highlight the fact that HGVs will still be able to use the ZEZ
11. The draft proposal proposes to exclude non-zero emission taxis, buses, LCVs and cars within the Green Zone by 2030. What opportunities do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers   (text box for answer)
Extending the ZEZ to the green zone extends it beyond the shopping area and protects the health of those who live and work in the city centre. This will enable people to experience the benefits of healthier air not just for short periods but for the whole day.
12. The draft proposals intend to exclude all non-zero emission vehicles within the Green Zone by 2035. What issues do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers
  • All other vehicles including Heavy Goods Vehicles (text box for answer)
You could say ‘no issues’ or skip the question, or call for the green zone implementation for all non-zero-emissions vehicles to be brought forward or the zone boundaries widened
13. The draft proposals intend to exclude all non-zero emission vehicles within the Green Zone by 2035. What opportunities do you think this will result in for:

  • Businesses
  • Residents and visitors
  • Public transport providers
  • All other vehicles including Heavy Goods Vehicles?   (text box for answer)
You could welcome the fact that HGVs will now be excluded
14. Do you think that the ZEZ should be extended beyond the Green Zone in the future? * Strongly support
15. Do you think that historic vehicles should exempt from the ZEZ? *  
16. Do you think mopeds/motorcycles should be exempt from the ZEZ? * Strongly oppose
17. What supporting measures do you think should be implemented to assist the introduction of a Zero Emission Zone? (text box)

You could choose from any or all of our ideas below.

 

We strongly support the introduction of support measures and incentives proposed by the consultation.   Support measures and incentives should also look at pedelecs for urban cargo delivery, alongside the freight consolidation centre (p9).

 

There should be encouragement for EVs in the short term while public transport vehicles are upgraded, for example by providing free parking in the ZEZ as proposed – but the overall aim should be to reduce individual car use and greatly increase healthy modes of transport alongside public transport.

 

The charging points for electric vehicles should all be powered by green electricity, otherwise our pollution will just be replaced with pollution elsewhere in the country.

 

The limited impact on PM emissions suggests priority should also be given to encouraging modal shift, particularly to cycling and walking.

–       A significant increase in fully segregated cycle lanes would encourage more people to cycle as they would feel safer. The provision along Marston Ferry Road is an exemplar of the standard required.

–       The city centre will have a more pleasant and healthy environment, so this should encourage more people to both walk and cycle, particularly if good access to public transport is also provided.

–       A reduction in central Oxford parking places would encourage a modal shift.

–       Park and Ride arrangements should be made simpler, more consistent and either free or priced to encourage use

 

It may be worth considering further trade-offs and nuances within options that could increase health and environmental benefits whilst limiting costs. For example, it is conceivable that a choice could be made between:

–       Requiring bus fleets to upgrade earlier, with costs ultimately being passed on to residents and / or local businesses (e.g. through parking charges, some increase in bus fares, other taxes or rates). Whilst this would create more costs for bus users and/ or residents on one hand, on the other hand they would benefit from reduced costs by not having to replace vehicles at the earlier date. OR

–       Requiring earlier car upgrades, but allowing a longer timetable for bus upgrades, with added support measures and incentives e.g. free parking for EV vehicles. In this context we believe it is worth investigating the assumptions used about modal shifts (p.41 Feasibility and Implementation Report), as we believe the limited geographical scope of all boundaries could well encourage more modal shift to offset the costs of earlier car upgrades.

 

Further, the potential for the ZEZ to operate only at certain times of the day is mentioned (p6) but not explored further in costing the options.   Whilst data availability may make it difficult to calculate the impact of timing restrictions, it seems obvious this could aid the balance between public health benefits and business requirements in the short term.

 

 

 

How clean is our air?

The harmful impact of air pollution on health has been known for some time.   Air pollution has been linked to the development of a range of diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well as to changes linked to dementia.  It is also known that spikes in air pollution make the situation worse for people already suffering from Continue reading “How clean is our air?”