Why we need a zero emission zone
Vehicle emissions are one of Oxford's most significant causes of air pollution. They are harmful to our health and contribute to climate change.
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 improve the air quality in Oxford and reduce traffic while still maintaining access for those who need it.
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.
What is Oxford's ZEZ?
The ZEZ is an area where zero emission vehicles (such as fully electric motorcycles, cars and vans) can be used without incurring a charge but where other motor vehicles may be charged.
All petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge if they are driven in the zone between 7am and 7pm unless they have a 100 per cent discount or exemption.
It is being introduced in two phases. The first phase is a small pilot area that became operational on 28 February 2022 in Oxford City Centre. This will allow the councils to test how the scheme will work before expanding to a wider area in the second phase. The wider area zone will be subject to further assessments, consultation and funding.
How does it work?
Traffic signs identify the location of the zone. The scheme is enforced using automatic number plate recognition cameras.
Charges are payable by vehicles unless they are zero emission or have a 100 per cent discount or exemption. Income from the scheme will be used to pay for its development and operation as well as to fund schemes that support the transport objectives of the two councils.
- 2015 - A zero emission zone for Oxford is identified in the Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan
- 2017 - A feasibility study puts forward options to improve air quality in Oxford city centre and the councils consult on initial proposals
- January 2019 - The councils publish updated proposals
- January 2020 - An informal consultation is held on proposals (focused on previous Red Zone)
- March 2020 - A formal consultation starts on the Red Zone but is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- November 2020 - January 2021 - A formal consultation on the ZEZ pilot running for eight weeks
- March 2021 - Councils report findings of the formal consultation and approve the ZEZ pilot scheme
- 28 February 2022 - Launch of the ZEZ pilot
- TBC - Consultation on the wider ZEZ
- TBC - Launch of the wider ZEZ