In light of the recent news that Oxford is striving to become the UK’s first emission free city, we at Safetrac decided to take a look at the stats behind low and zero emissions zones and take a look at how they’re effecting the environment and companies with fleets.
Zero Emissions and Disease
Oxford is a city struggling against heavy pollution. Oxford city centre currently has levels of nitrogen dioxide in its air in levels beyond the legal limit. This nitrogen dioxide contributes to diseases such as cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease. Overall, this poor air quality is contributing to around 40,000 deaths per year.
While the initiative will be phased in circa 2020, Oxford’s zero emissions policy would cut the nitrogen dioxide levels in the air to half of their current level by 2035.
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Zero Emissions around the world
While Oxford is the first city in the UK to put forward this goal, it’s not the first city in the world to announce a similar pledge. Stockholm in Sweden put forward a pledge last year to reach net-zero emissions by 2045. Meanwhile, cities across the world have implemented low/zero emissions zones. These include:
- Belgium: Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent
- Germany: Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, Mannheim, Stuttgart
- Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund, Malmo – many more.
- Hong Kong
The European Commission has been looking at cost-efficient ways to ensure that the EU is practicing overall climate friendliness and is consuming less energy.
The EU’s carbon roadmap gives guidelines that:
- By 2050 the EU should cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels.
- Milestones to achieve this are 40% emissions cuts by 2030 and 60% by 2040
- All sectors need to contribute
- The low carbon transition is feasible and affordable.
In addition to this, London has famously had a low-emissions zone in place since 2008, with restrictions growing increasingly tighter over time in order to reach certain milestones. London suffered from an increase in air pollution levels in January 2017, and as such the Mayor of London has imposed a £10 toxicity charge to be added on top of the congestion charge. There are currently plans being suggested that London could become an ultra low emissions zone, starting in 2020.
What will zero emissions areas mean for fleet owners?
While cities are putting forward their milestones and roadmaps for low and zero carbon emissions initiatives, perhaps the time has come for companies to do the same. Much like the switch from regular emissions to zero emissions, it won’t and can’t happen overnight. With many vehicle manufacturers starting to make sustainable vehicles, over the course of the 2000s we will likely see a slow but meaningful transition to trucks and cars that produce less emissions and are better for the environment.
In the meantime, investing in a tracking system that allows you to keep stock of your emissions and your fuel consumption could allow your company to make some changes necessary to start doing your part for the environment. At SafeTrac, we’re an authorised reseller of Geotab hardware. Geotab provides statistics that let you take charge of your emissions. For more information, get in touch today!