Councils announce ambitious updated proposals to support a zero-carbon transport network

Plans to create a sustainable and reliable transport system in Oxford have been announced.

The proposals will see the introduction of a city-wide workplace parking tax, traffic filters and a wider zero-emissions zone, as well as improved public transport and cycle paths.

Over the coming months, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council will engage with businesses, service providers, hospitals, transport providers, schools and town and parish councils to gather suggestions and feedback on proposed programs.

Consultations on these proposals will take place in late summer 2022, with the programs to be implemented between 2023 and 2024. The plans will help people walk, cycle and make faster trips to public transport. common. By changing the way people move in and around Oxford, the programs will also help reduce air pollution, create healthy communities and reduce traffic levels in the city.

New proposals include:

  • Workplace parking tax: Councils are proposing to extend the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) to cover employers across the city. By law, the money collected by the tax must be spent on improving transportation in the city.
  • Traffic filters: Six traffic filters are offered on certain roads (Hythe Bridge Street, Thames Street, Marston Ferry road, St Cross road, Hollow Way and St Clements) to reduce traffic congestion, improve bus journey times and create routes safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ): The municipalities propose to extend the ZEZ from the current pilot zone to cover the entire city centre.

Emissions from transport currently account for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Oxford. In order to achieve a zero-carbon transport network in the city by 2040, a 30% reduction in the use of vehicle transport through increased cycling, walking, working from home, carpooling and car clubbing is required.

Councilor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council, said: “Stuck traffic is bad for everyone – it’s bad for residents, bad for the economy and bad for the environment. Our air needs to be cleaner to protect our health. Our energy needs to be cleaner to protect our future. In addition to tackling air pollution and our climate crisis, everyone needs to be able to get from point A to point B quickly and simply. Citizens have lives to lead and they want to enjoy the best health and the best possible transport, and look to the future with hope.

That’s why we’re extending the planned workplace parking tax to the entire city and the zero-emissions zone to the entire city center, as the city council has long demanded. In closer partnership, the two councils put their full weight behind our critically important bus system. We need to support Oxford Buses to recover from the pandemic and get around the city without major delays, and this needs to happen immediately and, with these plans, in the medium term.

Everyone in the city is grappling with the same congestion choking its roads, worrying about the air they breathe, and looking nervously at our climate future. We all want to solve our problems – in coming up with these plans, the two councils want to speak directly to citizens and organizations over the next few months ahead of further public consultations later this year. We want everyone to have their say. »

Councilor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “The climate emergency and inequalities across the county and city mean Oxford needs a more sustainable and reliable transport system for everyone.

“We want to make walking, cycling and public transport people’s first choice. The new plans will not only help us move towards a progressive transportation network in the city, but they will also improve the quality of life for all of us.

“Oxford has always been a leader in innovation and these new plans will help us move towards a zero-carbon transport system in the city, while making Oxford a safer, cleaner and better place to live. the people who live and work here and for those who visit .

“As the County Council leads the development of these plans with the City Council, we also intend to work with key partners such as our businesses, universities and bus operators.”

Initial engagement on a workplace parking charge and traffic filters took place in 2019. Consultations on temporary city center bus barriers took place in 2020. Since then, the two councils have worked together to improve these proposals based on feedback from over 10,000 residents, businesses and community groups, as well as the ongoing climate emergency and the impact of COVID-19 on how people travel.

Funding for these plans will come from a variety of sources. The county council is actively seeking government grants, such as offering zero-emission transport towns. She is also currently awaiting the outcome of her Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), as well as an offer to the government Regional zero-emission bus zones (ZEBRA) funding to support the delivery of over 150 new electric buses to Oxford.

The two councils will host a series of online webinars to introduce these programs in more detail and answer questions.

It is recognized that exemptions and rebates will be appropriate in certain circumstances. The engagement process will help further develop these plans prior to public consultation.

Details on how to register for these will be provided on the council’s website and social media in the coming months.

Comments are closed.