Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are proposing to introduce a zero emission zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre.
Parts of Oxford city centre currently have illegally-high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide, which contributes to diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease - and contributes to around 36,000 deaths in the UK every year.
About the zone
The ZEZ will lead to cleaner air, quieter streets and contribute to the councils’ action on climate change. It is designed to reduce traffic volumes, encourage the uptake of zero emission vehicles and lead to other positive behavioural changes; all of these would reduce vehicle emissions and hence air pollution whilst maintaining access for those who need it.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are proposing to create a zero emission zone (ZEZ) pilot in Oxford city centre, starting in August 2021. The pilot would be based on a road user charging scheme.
The pilot would cover the streets outlined in table below. The pilot was previously referred to as the ‘red zone’, while the wider ZEZ was referred to as the ‘green zone'.
|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|
The ZEZ would be implemented through a road user charging scheme, which means vehicles used in the zone would be subject to charges, depending on their emissions. Zero emission vehicles would be able to drive in the zone free of charge. Other vehicles would be permitted in the zone but would have to pay a charge ranging from £2 to £10 per day (rising to between £4 and £20 per day from August 2025) to drive in the zone between 7am and 7pm. There would be discounts and exemptions for some road users, including disabled motorists, residents and businesses in the zone.
A formal consultation on the ZEZ pilot will run from 20 November 2020 to 17 January 2021.
The consultation documents give details of the final proposals along with a questionnaire to give us your views.
The consultation questionnaire allows you to upload documents, so if you are responding on behalf of an organisation you may want to use this facility to upload a letter or other documents.
The councils consulted on initial proposals for a ZEZ in 2017, published updated proposals in January 2019, and consulted informally on final draft proposals (focused on the red zone charging scheme) in January 2020. We began a final consultation on the red zone in March 2020, but this was suspended due to the coronavirus.
Reflecting on the feedback from the January 2020 consultation, the experience of coronavirus, and the feedback from the temporary city centre bus gates survey in the summer, the councils have made several changes to the proposals. The main change is that it is proposed that the pilot will now have exactly the same requirements as those proposed for the wider ZEZ. This will allow us to accelerate the wider ZEZ, delivering greater overall benefits sooner, whilst also making the scheme somewhat less onerous for residents and businesses in the pilot.