Call to widen new air quality measure in bid to cut city pollution

Oxford Green party councillor Craig Simmons in St Aldate’s. Picture: Damian Halliwell

Oxford Green party councillor Craig Simmons in St Aldate’s. Picture: Damian Halliwell Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

ALL vehicles should come under a new Oxford low emission zone and not just buses, a councillor has said.

From January 1, regular buses must meet strict environmental standards to drive through the city centre. Buses must also switch off their engines when waiting for more than a minute.

Low frequency services – those making 25 inbound and outbound journeys in a week or less – are exempt.

But Green Party councillor Craig Simmons said the new measures should apply to all vehicles to tackle high pollution levels.

The low emission zone (LEZ) covers major roads, and all major bus firms meet the criteria.

It is the UK’s second low emission zone outside of London, which introduced one in 2008 for heavy vehicles.

Mr Simmons said: “This low emission zone has been a long time coming but shows that our consistent campaigning on air quality has paid off.”

He said: “An LEZ is long overdue – air quality is continuing to deteriorate in the city centre. Our concern is that the limited measures proposed will have a minimal effect.

“It applies only to buses – many of which were already in service last year, when air quality again declined.

“And there are several exemptions. There needs to be a clear plan to extend the LEZ to cover all polluting vehicles.”

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But executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford John Tanner said: “Focusing on buses which are the biggest problem will be more effective and less disruptive for traffic in Oxford but we will continue to measure pollution levels and I suspect that we will have to do more.

“We have put an age limit on our taxis and we are looking at the possibility of a freight exchange depot to take lorries out of the city centre.”

Pollution has failed to go below the target of 40ug/m3 – micrograms per cubic metre of air – since 2006, the council said.

Bus operators without at least a Euro 5-standard exhaust could be stripped of their licence. Oxford Bus Company, Stagecoach and Thames Travel and National Express vehicles meet the standard.

Philip Kirk, managing director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “We’ve been leading the way in Oxford on environmentally sensitive transport for nearly 20 years.

“We already have one of the greenest bus fleets in the country so it’s natural that we are fully supportive of the LEZ initiative. In the last five years we’ve invested over £15m in the greenest vehicles including state of the art electric hybrid buses.”

The city council has already approved a new air quality action plan which sets out more plans to tackle air pollution up to 2020.

Comments (15)

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11:37am Sat 4 Jan 14

oafie says...

Buses must also switch off their engines when waiting for more than a minute.

Oh really....all of them? and just who is going to monitor this?!
Buses must also switch off their engines when waiting for more than a minute. Oh really....all of them? and just who is going to monitor this?! oafie
  • Score: -95

12:12pm Sat 4 Jan 14

mytaxes says...

oafie wrote:
Buses must also switch off their engines when waiting for more than a minute.

Oh really....all of them? and just who is going to monitor this?!
Don't give them ideas, next thing there will be a new department with managers, supervisors, officers to monitor it.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: Buses must also switch off their engines when waiting for more than a minute. Oh really....all of them? and just who is going to monitor this?![/p][/quote]Don't give them ideas, next thing there will be a new department with managers, supervisors, officers to monitor it. mytaxes
  • Score: -94

3:32pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Madi50n says...

Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives.

Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution.

OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us.

I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously.

So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.
Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives. Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution. OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us. I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously. So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation. Madi50n
  • Score: 38

5:45pm Sat 4 Jan 14

museli says...

Madi50n wrote:
Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives.

Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution.

OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us.

I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously.

So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.
It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road.

Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane?
[quote][p][bold]Madi50n[/bold] wrote: Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives. Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution. OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us. I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously. So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.[/p][/quote]It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road. Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane? museli
  • Score: 38

7:02pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Madi50n says...

museli wrote:
Madi50n wrote:
Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives.

Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution.

OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us.

I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously.

So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.
It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road.

Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane?
I've yet to understand why taxis are allowed to use bus lanes.

TBH that was just the last in a series of incidents that happened while taking my daughter on the bike seat. Buses, taxis & private cars all pulled out on me, sat on the back wheel, passed too closely, overtook then turned left.

After three months I just gave up.

You can be the most conscientious, careful, responsible cyclist in Oxford & drivers still resent your existence. I was carrying my child on my bike, had hi liz, lights, obeyed the rules, everything I could to keep her safe, still wasn't enough. Some of them have entitlement issues.

So instead of them swearing at me, putting my daughter's life in danger I'm in my nice big car, in front of them, adding to the congestion, slowing them down, raising pollution levels.

She goes to a school nearby in Sept, so I'll be back on my bike after then, enjoying the fact I'm saving money, losing weight & getting to work much much more quickly than the people in the cars.

But they needto give motorists real incentives to give up their cars.
[quote][p][bold]museli[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Madi50n[/bold] wrote: Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives. Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution. OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us. I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously. So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.[/p][/quote]It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road. Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane?[/p][/quote]I've yet to understand why taxis are allowed to use bus lanes. TBH that was just the last in a series of incidents that happened while taking my daughter on the bike seat. Buses, taxis & private cars all pulled out on me, sat on the back wheel, passed too closely, overtook then turned left. After three months I just gave up. You can be the most conscientious, careful, responsible cyclist in Oxford & drivers still resent your existence. I was carrying my child on my bike, had hi liz, lights, obeyed the rules, everything I could to keep her safe, still wasn't enough. Some of them have entitlement issues. So instead of them swearing at me, putting my daughter's life in danger I'm in my nice big car, in front of them, adding to the congestion, slowing them down, raising pollution levels. She goes to a school nearby in Sept, so I'll be back on my bike after then, enjoying the fact I'm saving money, losing weight & getting to work much much more quickly than the people in the cars. But they needto give motorists real incentives to give up their cars. Madi50n
  • Score: 36

8:35pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

museli wrote:
Madi50n wrote:
Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives.

Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution.

OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us.

I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously.

So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.
It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road.

Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane?
Because vulnerable people who use taxis couldn't afford to pay for them to go the long way round.
[quote][p][bold]museli[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Madi50n[/bold] wrote: Want to reduce pollution? Give people real alternatives to cars for commuting & getting about Oxford. Improved & safer cycle structure, better & cheaper public transport. Reduce the number of cars going in & out of Oxford with incentives. Fewer cars means less pollution, cars travelling at 30 mph in 3rd & 4th gear not 5 mph in 1st gear means less pollution. OCC does nothing to encourage me out of my car. I tried cycling but it's too dangerous & the attitude towards cyclists on these comments sections show just how aggressive some motorists are towards the people reducing congestion & pollution. I gave up the day a taxi driver sat a meter from the back of my bike with my 3 yr old on the bike seat, in a shared cycle/bus/taxi lane, revving his engine then overtook with barely a foot between us. I totalled up the cost of driving vs buses & driving came out only slightly more expensive, so I decided to drive in my dry, warm car, listening to my own music, rather than stand in the rain for buses that don''t run regularly enough, are regularly late, don't have enough seats and are, at times, driven quite dangerously. So I sit in my car, nice & warm & safe, adding to the traffic & pollution rather than on my bike or in a bus, because there's absolutely no incentive for me to do otherwise. When the dimwits who decide policy on Oxford's roads get that into their heads, maybe they'll come up with policy to improve the situation.[/p][/quote]It's a shame you think cycling in Oxford too dangerous - I don't find it a problem. Yes there are some deluded motorists who fail to acknowledge the problems they create and like to have a go at cyclists but to be honest there are 10 of them on Oxfprd Mail comments for every one I meet on the road. Agreed there is a big problem with both the ability and integrity of some mini cab drivers - why on earth do the council allow them special privileges like driving in the bus lane?[/p][/quote]Because vulnerable people who use taxis couldn't afford to pay for them to go the long way round. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -13

9:18pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Madi50n says...

There must be thousands & thousands of taxi using vulnerable people in Oxford then.

Or...
There must be thousands & thousands of taxi using vulnerable people in Oxford then. Or... Madi50n
  • Score: 38

9:35pm Sat 4 Jan 14

museli says...

I assume Andrew means the drivers as most of them I see don't seem to have any passengers on board ;)

Talk about inefficient transport systems!
I assume Andrew means the drivers as most of them I see don't seem to have any passengers on board ;) Talk about inefficient transport systems! museli
  • Score: 36

10:02pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Madi50n says...

Thing is, I am happy to share those lanes with taxis & buses, but I suspect from experience, that taxi & bus drivers are unwilling to share with me on my bike.

Until I'm no longer carrying my daughter, I'll stick to my car, & add to the problem of pollution & congestion.
Thing is, I am happy to share those lanes with taxis & buses, but I suspect from experience, that taxi & bus drivers are unwilling to share with me on my bike. Until I'm no longer carrying my daughter, I'll stick to my car, & add to the problem of pollution & congestion. Madi50n
  • Score: 33

11:15am Sun 5 Jan 14

oxfordbuddy says...

I have cut back on my cycling because of the attitude of drivers on British roads and when I do cycle I use back roads of I can. It's always male cyclists who think 'there isn't much of a problem'. I've been pursued down the road by a van driver trying to knock me off because I was in the correct road position (i.e. the middle) to turn right out of a side road. Cars come too close, block your way, basically hate you for being there. I also worry that breathing in such a lot of polluted air does nothing for health and I've recently been diagnosed with adult onset asthma.
There's an article in this week's Oxford Times from someone complaining in absurd terms about cyclists and runners on the canal towpath. You can't win, the obese, foul population of Oxford want to sit in their cars and get fat and hate anybody who does otherwise. It's become a horrible place to live.
I have cut back on my cycling because of the attitude of drivers on British roads and when I do cycle I use back roads of I can. It's always male cyclists who think 'there isn't much of a problem'. I've been pursued down the road by a van driver trying to knock me off because I was in the correct road position (i.e. the middle) to turn right out of a side road. Cars come too close, block your way, basically hate you for being there. I also worry that breathing in such a lot of polluted air does nothing for health and I've recently been diagnosed with adult onset asthma. There's an article in this week's Oxford Times from someone complaining in absurd terms about cyclists and runners on the canal towpath. You can't win, the obese, foul population of Oxford want to sit in their cars and get fat and hate anybody who does otherwise. It's become a horrible place to live. oxfordbuddy
  • Score: 33

11:16am Sun 5 Jan 14

oxfordbuddy says...

I meant letter in this week's Oxford Times.
I meant letter in this week's Oxford Times. oxfordbuddy
  • Score: 30

1:39am Mon 6 Jan 14

Myron Blatz says...

Maybe what we really should be aiming for, it getting more peoole - of all ages - onto cheap, efficient and ecologically-friendl
y PUBLIC TRANSPORT and off bicycles - especially those idiots who carry children on their bikes, or tow kids around in cycle-trailers! As for delivery and service vehicles, what we need is smaller, ecologically-friendl
y vans, instead of those increasingly large trucks which navigate narrow and unsuitable roads in and around Oxford and other towns.
Maybe what we really should be aiming for, it getting more peoole - of all ages - onto cheap, efficient and ecologically-friendl y PUBLIC TRANSPORT and off bicycles - especially those idiots who carry children on their bikes, or tow kids around in cycle-trailers! As for delivery and service vehicles, what we need is smaller, ecologically-friendl y vans, instead of those increasingly large trucks which navigate narrow and unsuitable roads in and around Oxford and other towns. Myron Blatz
  • Score: -119

9:17am Mon 6 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Maybe what we really should be aiming for, it getting more peoole - of all ages - onto cheap, efficient and ecologically-friendl

y PUBLIC TRANSPORT and off bicycles - especially those idiots who carry children on their bikes, or tow kids around in cycle-trailers! As for delivery and service vehicles, what we need is smaller, ecologically-friendl

y vans, instead of those increasingly large trucks which navigate narrow and unsuitable roads in and around Oxford and other towns.
Myron.

You're always complaining that there is too many buses in Oxford. Now you are saying there aren't enough...
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Maybe what we really should be aiming for, it getting more peoole - of all ages - onto cheap, efficient and ecologically-friendl y PUBLIC TRANSPORT and off bicycles - especially those idiots who carry children on their bikes, or tow kids around in cycle-trailers! As for delivery and service vehicles, what we need is smaller, ecologically-friendl y vans, instead of those increasingly large trucks which navigate narrow and unsuitable roads in and around Oxford and other towns.[/p][/quote]Myron. You're always complaining that there is too many buses in Oxford. Now you are saying there aren't enough... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 68

9:20am Mon 6 Jan 14

Madi50n says...

No, Myron Blatz is merely a troll, usual policy is not to feed it, it'll slink back under from whatever it crawled if you ignore it.
No, Myron Blatz is merely a troll, usual policy is not to feed it, it'll slink back under from whatever it crawled if you ignore it. Madi50n
  • Score: 77

3:41pm Wed 8 Jan 14

JamesFJ says...

There is also little incentive to use the bus rather than drive into Oxford and park when the bus fares are so high! Over £3 return each from Summertown into town centre. When two of us go into town we can park for several hours for £6
There is also little incentive to use the bus rather than drive into Oxford and park when the bus fares are so high! Over £3 return each from Summertown into town centre. When two of us go into town we can park for several hours for £6 JamesFJ
  • Score: -57

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