Britain's first Zero Emission Zone begins in Oxford

Zero Emission Zone signs in Oxford city centre

Britain's first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) begins in Oxford today (28 February).

All petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge if they are driven in certain areas of the city centre.

Only zero emission vehicles, such as electric cars, will be able to enter the zone for free.

The scheme is being piloted ahead of an expected roll-out next year and includes New Road, between Bonn Square and its junction with Castle Street; Bonn Square; Queen Street; Cornmarket Street; New Inn Hall Street; Shoe Lane; Market Street, from Cornmarket junction east for 40 metres; Ship Street; and St Michael’s Street.

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The ZEZ pilot will allow  Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council to gain useful insights before introducing a larger ZEZ covering most of Oxford city centre next year (2023), subject to further public consultation.

The scheme will operate from 7am - 7pm, all year around.

The charge will vary from £2 to £10 per day depending on the emission levels of the vehicle. However, a range of exemptions and discounts are available for businesses and residents in the zone.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed to enforce the zone.

Cllr Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy

ZEZ charges can be paid up to six days in advance, on the day the vehicle is driven in the zone, and up to six days after the vehicle has been driven inside the zone.

Funds raised will be used to cover implementation and running costs of the scheme. 

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council, said: “The start of the zero emission zone pilot is a landmark event for the city of Oxford and our journey to tackle toxic air pollution and reduce our carbon emissions.

"For five years the City Council and I have been engaging with businesses and citizens to develop the zero emission zone, and I want to thank everyone for sharing their passion for cleaner air and knowledge about how to pragmatically achieve it."

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