RHA says Oxford zero emission zone is “unworkable”

A proposed zero emission zone that would see all petrol and diesel vehicles removed from Oxford city centre is “unworkable”, according to the RHA.

A £30,000 study into the feasibility of the zone was launched on 10 March. If successful, Oxford City Council said the scheme could be in place as early as 2020.

RHA regional operations manager for the West Midlands, Rhys Williams, told Freightinthecity.com he was concerned the idea had not been properly thought through.

He said: “They spent millions on a flagship shopping centre and lured the likes of John Lewis. These stores need to be serviced. How do we get 26 pallets of freight [at a time] into them? They haven’t put any thought into the process.

“There’s an awful lot of consultation that needs to be had, and it concerns me, whether they’ll have it or whether they’ll just slap this diesel ban on immediately.”

Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: “Air pollution has a significant impact on the health of residents and visitors to Oxford. Our vision is to create a city centre that people can live and work in without worrying about how vehicle emissions will impact on their health.”

Williams added that operating without diesel vehicles was not something the industry was opposed to, but it was not ready for it yet.

“It’s obviously a goal that we as an industry would love to see, but the technology just isn’t there at the moment. So what’s going to happen until we get there? We need to be real and sensible about it,” he said.