Today Oxford city centre became a Low Emission Zone (LEZ). The LEZ which aims to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions through the introduction of cleaner, greener buses. This means that Oxford's buses will be upgraded to meet the latest standards for emissions. It is only the second such zone outside London.
The LEZ is part of the Labour-run Oxford City Council's strategy to reduce Oxford's carbon footprint. It comes out of the Council's last Air Quality Action Plan, of which a new one has been approved to continue to tackle air pollution and emissions in the City to 2020.
Councillor John Tanner, City Executive Board Member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: "From 1st January any bus company taking a bus through the centre of Oxford without at least a Euro 5 exhaust can lose its licence. I’m very grateful for the co-operation of the Traffic Commissioner, the County Council and the bus companies in cleaning up air quality in Oxford. Oxford City council will continue to press for other improvements until Nitrogen Dioxide pollution is below 40 parts per million everywhere in the city."
Anneliese Dodds, Labour's top candidate for the European Elections in the South East, has been campaigning on air quality across the region. She said: "I am pleased Oxford City Centre is one of the first places outside London to become a LEZ. Air quality is an important issue, but he Government is planning to remove the obligation of local authorities to monitor air quality. It is such monitoring which has helped Oxford reduce its pollution levels over the last 10 years."