Oxford Zero Emission Zone

Details of our proposals for a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre.

Pilot scheme - 2022

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are introducing a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford to improve air quality, cut carbon emissions, and move towards zero emission travel in the city.

We will introduce the ZEZ in two phases. We'll start with a small pilot area in Oxford City Centre in February 2022 (date to be confirmed). This will allow the councils to test how the scheme will work before expanding it to a wider area.

Map of pilot area and streets included

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Streets in the pilot area
Street Length
New Road Between Bonn Square and its junction with Castle Street
Bonn Square Whole length
Queen Street Whole length
Cornmarket Street Whole length
New Inn Hall Street Whole length
Shoe Lane Whole length
Market Street From its junction with Cornmarket, extending east for 40 metres
Ship Street Whole length
St Michael’s Street Whole length

 

How to check your vehicle’s emissions

Each vehicle band has a minimum emission standard. You can find out your vehicle’s emissions in your vehicle logbook or from your vehicle manufacturer. The following online checkers indicate the emission standard/Euro status of your vehicle. This is for guidance only.

Charges and fines

Daily charge

Most vehicles will need to pay a daily charge depending on their emissions if used in the pilot area. Charges will apply from 7 am to 7 pm, seven days a week, all year round. The daily charge covers the entire day, so a vehicle can enter and be used within the area on multiple occasions each day.

You will be able to pay in advance, and you will have up to six days to pay the charge after the day you have entered the zone. No vehicle will be banned from being used in the zone as a result of the scheme.

Charges don't apply to vehicles that are parked within the area and do not move. 

Daily charges by vehicle band and emissions
Vehicle band Emissions Daily charge from 
February 2022
Daily charge from
August 2025
Zero emission vehicle (ZEV) 0 g/km CO2 £0 £0
Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) Emits less than 75 g/km CO2
 
National ultra-low emission truck standard will be adopted for HGVs when defined.
£2 £4
Low emission vehicle (LEV)

Vehicles with four or more wheels that meet the Euro 4/IV petrol or Euro 6/VI diesel standard.

And vehicles with fewer than four wheels that emit 75 g/km CO2 or more.

£4 £8
All other vehicles Any vehicle not meeting any of the above standards. £10 £20

Fines

A penalty charge notice (PCN) may be issued for non-payment of the daily charge.

The amount payable is £120, reduced to £60 if payment is made within 14 days of the date of service of the PCN. The penalty charge will be in addition to any daily charge payable.

If the daily charge and the penalty charge are not paid within 28 days, we may issue a charge certificate, increasing the penalty charge to £180.  

Exemptions and discounts

Vehicles that don't have to pay the daily charge

  • Zero emission vehicles
  • Hackney carriages licensed by Oxford City Council
  • Registered local buses
  • Community transport vehicles
  • Emergency service vehicles
  • Vehicles exempt from road tax by virtue of their age
  • Military vehicles
  • Agricultural and similar vehicles (includes tractors, mowing machines, steam-powered vehicles, snowploughs and gritters)
  • Special vehicles (includes mobile cranes, pumping vehicles, digging machines, road rollers, and works trucks, e.g. forklift trucks)
  • Hearses
  • Recovery vehicles

Users who can apply for discounts

Discounts for some road users, including disabled motorists, residents, and businesses in the zone. These will need to be applied for in advance of travelling within the pilot area. Registration will open before the scheme starts.  

Blue Badge holders and Disabled Tax Class vehicles

A 100 percent discount is available for up to two vehicles per blue badge (you don't need to own the vehicles). You will need to register and apply for this discount. 

All disabled tax class vehicles will be eligible for a 100% discount. You will need to register and apply for this discount.  

We propose to end the blue badge holder and disabled tax class vehicle discounts on 31 July 2025 but will review this in consultation with those affected by December 2024. Any extension would need further public consultation.

Health or care provider’s vehicles

A 100 per cent discount is available for vehicles being used for the purposes of undertaking a community-based regulated health care activity or providing community-based social care services within the pilot area. This is a permanent discount but you will need to apply and renew.

Students arriving/leaving accommodation

A 100 per cent discount is available on up to six days per academic year for vehicles being used to deliver or collect the personal belongings of an eligible student to or from any eligible higher institution situated in the pilot area. Apply via your institution. Further details about how to apply will be available before the scheme goes live.

Residents living in the pilot area

A 90 per cent discount will be available for vehicles owned by residents living within the pilot area. Up to two vehicles per address can be registered. You need to apply every 12 months.

This discount will end on 31 July 2025.

Businesses in the pilot area

A 90 per cent discount will be available for vehicles owned by businesses or their employees and operating from businesses within the pilot area. Up to ten vehicles per business address can be registered. The discount will be available only if the vehicle is used for business-related purposes. It is not available if the vehicle is used in the ZEZ solely for commuting.

The discount will end on 31 July 2025.

Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) and Hackney carriages licensed outside Oxford 

A 50 per cent discount will apply for petrol-electric hybrid PHVs, and petrol-electric hybrid Hackney carriages licensed outside Oxford. These vehicles must emit either:

  • less than 100 g/km CO2 if the date of first registration is before 1 September 2018
  • less than 140 g/km CO2 if the date of first registration is on or after 1 September 2018.  

This discount will end on 31 July 2025. 

Why we are doing this

Vehicle emissions cause significant harm to human health and contribute to climate change. Creating a zero emission zone will:

  • encourage people to switch to low and zero emission vehicles
  • make other positive changes to their travel behaviour.

This will reduce traffic volumes, vehicle emissions, and air pollution whilst maintaining access for those who need it.

The ZEZ is a key part of the Oxford Transport Strategy, part of Oxfordshire County Council’s wider Local Transport Plan and Oxford City Council’s Local Plan.

The ZEZ will operate alongside other council proposals, including Connecting Oxford, the Active Travel programme and the councils’ air quality strategies, including Oxford City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan.

The second phase of the ZEZ

The ZEZ will be introduced in two phases - a pilot starting in February 2022 and a larger ZEZ subject to further assessments and consultation.  A map showing the ZEZ pilot and the second phase of the ZEZ can be seen here.

 

Stages

There have been many stages in the ZEZ's development.

Other travel options

By choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport (including park and ride), you can help to improve Oxford’s air quality and avoid paying the ZEZ charge. More information is available from:

You can find out more about how Oxfordshire County Council encourages sustainable travel through its Local Transport Plan

Employers can also support staff who travel to work by bicycle by setting up a Cycle to Work scheme.