Environmental groups have described the proposed Zero Emissions Zone for Oxford city centre as not enough, even as Green Party councilors and Oxford Friends of the Earth have both demanded more action and sooner.
The development comes after hundreds of Oxford Mail readers said the plans were bad for business or unworkable, in an online poll.
The proposal to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre from 2020 was welcomed by Oxford's Green Party group.
However, it added that the announcement that the city council was 'increasing' the number of car parking spaces in the city centre by retaining the 'temporary' car park at Oxpens after the opening of the Westgate centre, and dropping car parking charges at both the reopened Westgate and retained Oxpens ran counter to the proposal.
The Greens point out that the increase in spaces by about 300 would attract more cars and pollution to the city centre.
Green councillor Dick Wolff said, "Planning for better air quality in 2020 and 2025 is all very well but it is difficult to take such proposals seriously when the council is taking decisions now which are significantly worsening air quality," Oxford Mail reported online.
Though Oxford Friends of the Earth also welcomed the proposal, it said it was still 'not enough.'
After German carmaker Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to cheating US emissions tests, politicians around the world have been pushing plans to clamp down on diesel vehicles in order to improve air quality and meet more stringent targets.
''All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air,'' said city council board member John Tanner, Reuters reported.
''Everyone needs to do their bit – from national government and local authorities to businesses and residents – to end this public health emergency.''