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About Oxford's zero emission zone (ZEZ)

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have introduced a zero emission zone (ZEZ) in Oxford to improve air quality, cut carbon emissions, and move towards zero emission travel in the city.

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.

It is a key part of the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan (COTP), part of Oxfordshire County Council’s wider Local Transport and Connectivity Plan and Oxford City Council’s Local Plan.

The ZEZ will operate alongside other council proposals, 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 has allowed the councils to test how the scheme works before developing proposals for expanding the ZEZ to a wider area in the second phase. The wider ZEZ will be subject to further assessments, stakeholder engagement, consultation and funding.  

View a map showing the pilot and wider second phase zones (png format, 400KB).

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.