National news

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 152.

Zero Emission Zone for Oxford to be launched in February

Map of Oxford's Zero Emission Zone
(Image: Oxfordshire County Council)
Oxford’s new Zero Emission Zone is due to come into effect in February next year, after technical difficulties pushed back the original August 2021 launch date.

Under the plan, non-zero-emission vehicles using the zones between 7am and 7pm will be subject to charges of up to £10 (and up to £20 from August 2025). The scheme will begin with a pilot in the ‘red zone’ of Bonn Square, Queen Street, Cornmarket, part of Market Street, Ship Street, St Michael’s Street, New Inn Hall Street, and Shoe Lane, and will be extended into the ‘green zone’ later in the year. A scheme of discounts has been developed for residents and traders within the zone and exemptions will include buses, emergency and community transport vehicles, licensed Hackney Carriages, Blue Badge holders and Disabled Tax Class vehicles.

Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for travel and development strategy, told the BBC: ‘Poor air quality in our beloved city is a major concern, and alongside the climate emergency this means we need to act. The Oxford Zero Emission Zone pilot is an important step in tackling these problems, and will make our city centre a cleaner, healthier and more attractive place to live, work, visit and shop. It will also mean there is more space for those on foot and bikes, as well as our vital bus and taxi services.’

Wales to cut residential speed limit to 20mph

The Welsh government is currently consulting on its proposals to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on residential roads across the country and those regularly used for active travel. If the legislation is passed, Wales will be the first country in the UK to change to the lower limit, with full implementation planned for 2023. Deputy minister for climate change Lee Waters said the change would not only save lives, but would have a positive outcome on physical and mental wellbeing.

Dorset district nurses switch from cars to e-bikes

Dorset HealthCare’s mobile nursing teams are switching from cars to electric bikes to help the environment, bypass traffic jams and promote healthy living.

The project started when Hattie Taylor, Lead District Nurse for Purbeck, made the bid for the funding of the cycles following a trip to Gouda in Holland where healthcare staff use bicycles to get to appointments all the time. Staff and patients are enjoying the change and the local NHS trust is saving thousands of pounds a year on travel costs.