Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council have set up a joint working group to look at measures to address air pollution in St Clementâ€™s Street â€“ which has been dubbed â€˜Oxfordâ€™s most polluted streetâ€™.
The average nitrogen dioxide level in St Clementâ€™s Street in 2016 was 61Âµg/m3 â€“ 152.5% of the legal limit of 40Âµg/m3 the city council has reported.
Formation of the working group comes after the councils announced joint proposals for a â€˜Zero Emission Zoneâ€™ in central Oxford (see airqualitynews.com story).
The Zero Emission Zone proposals will reduce air pollution in Oxford city centre by up to 74%, the councils claim, but the proposed zone does not cover St Clementâ€™s Street.
The working group will look at the sources of pollution and develop targeted proposals to improve air quality in the area.
This will also complement ongoing work by Oxfordshire county council to explore â€œdemand management optionsâ€ for Oxford including a potential Congestion Charge and Workplace Parking Levy. These measures are aimed at reducing traffic and congestion in the city and would also improve air quality.
Nitrogen dioxide in the St Clementâ€™s Street will only drop below the legal limit (to 34Âµg/m3) in 2035 it is thought.
Oxfordshire county council is the transport authority in charge of roads and transport links in the region, while Oxford city council has a legal duty to monitor and report on air pollution.
The two authorities have worked together on a series of measures to tackle air pollution in Oxford, including introducing the award-winning Low Emission Zone in 2011, winning Â£500,000 of government funding to install charging points for electric taxis and winning Â£800,000 of government funding to install 100 electric vehicle charging points for Oxford residents.
Councillor John Tanner, Oxford city councilâ€™s executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: â€œThe Zero Emission Zone will be a step change in tackling air pollution in Oxford. But there is a particular problem in St Clementâ€™s Street because it is so narrow with high buildings and is used by a large volume of traffic.
â€œIt is entirely right that the county and city councils together should look at the particular pollution problems of St Clementâ€™s Street. We need to bring pollution levels there below the safe and legal limit as soon as possible to safeguard everyoneâ€™s health.
â€œLocal residents living in Oxfordâ€™s most polluted street have understandably raised concerns with ward members and the City Council. This working group has been set up as a direct response to those and our own concerns about the toxic air pollution in St Clementâ€™s Street.â€
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire county councilâ€™s cabinet member for transport, said: â€œThere is a great deal of innovative work being done to improve transport across Oxfordshire at the moment and I am delighted that we are working so closely with the City Council for better air quality in the city.
â€œThe Zero Emission Zone will ultimately bring benefits for areas inside and outside the zone, but right now there are places like St Clementâ€™s Street where we really need to focus on solutions that will have an effect sooner.â€