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Low emission zone considered for South Oxfordshire

LEZ feasibility study, electric vehicle charging points and air quality planning guidance highlighted in draft Action Plan

South Oxfordshire residents are being consulted on plans for a low emission zone feasibility study as part of the district council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).

A low emission zone could potentially see high-polluting vehicles restricted from travelling at specific times of the day in order to combat air pollution.

The M40 motorway in Oxfordshire

The M40 motorway in Oxfordshire

Views are currently being sought by South Oxfordshire council until July 4 2014 on its draft Plan, which also includes proposals for electric vehicle charging points, green vehicle and taxi incentives, air quality planning guidance and a review of council and contractor fleets.

In addition, the AQAP includes an eco driver training scheme for council staff as well as a feasibility study for a freight transport consolidation centre, where heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) would deliver goods for despatch in smaller, greener vehicles.

There are currently three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in South Oxfordshire – Henley, Wallingford and Watlington – where, the council states, levels of nitrogen dioxide due to road traffic emissions ‘have reached levels identified by the government as potentially harmful to health’.

Although Watlington – the council’s most recently declared AQMA in 2009 – has never had an AQAP drawn up, individual plans for both Henley and Wallingford already exist. However, the draft AQAP currently being consulted on covers all three areas.

The council expects to publish a final Plan towards the end of 2014 along with a summary of the results of the consultation.

Drop-in events have also been held by the council in the three towns to explain the explain the draft AQAP to residents.

The LEZ would not be Oxfordshire’s first, with Oxford city council having introduced what is only the UK’s third LEZ earlier this year (see airqualitynews.com story).

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