Oxford zero emission zone pilot to start in under a month

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The Oxford zero emission pilot zone, which will apply to a small number of streets in the city centre, will launch on February 28th. As Oxford City Council has explained, all petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge unless eligible for a discount or exemption.

Oxford zero emission zone pilot to start in under a month
Photo © Copyright Bill Nicholls and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The zone covers 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.

Only zero emission vehicles such as electric cars, vans and trucks can enter the pilot area free of charge.

The council says charges will vary from £2 to £10 per day depending on the emission levels of the vehicle. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are being installed to enforce rules within the zone.

Trucks that meet a yet-to-be-defined National ultra-low emission truck standard will have to pay a few of two pounds. Lorries that meet the Euro 4/IV petrol or Euro 6/VI diesel standard will pay double that, with all other vehicles that emit CO2 paying ten pounds.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council say the pilot scheme will allow them “to gain useful insights before introducing a larger ZEZ covering most of Oxford city centre next year, subject to further public consultation.”

The local authorities state that the aim of Oxford ZEZ is to reduce toxic air pollution in the city and encourage people to make positive changes in travel behaviour.

Commenting on the zero emission zone, councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said:

“This is a proud moment for our city. The first ZEZ scheme in the country is launching in Oxford. We are taking concrete actions to improve air quality in the city and to make it cleaner and safer. I want to thank all the residents and businesses who sent us their feedback on the pilot and worked with us to develop the scheme. Our vision is to create a zero-carbon transport network by 2040 and the ZEZ pilot is an important step towards achieving that vision. We will learn from the pilot and in the coming months we will consult with local communities as we develop plans to expand the ZEZ across the city centre. We hope that residents, businesses and visitors will join us in our journey towards a carbon neutral future.”

The RHA’s Duncan Buchanan was much less enthusiastic, calling it a “Tax on work” on Twitter.

The facility to make ZEZ payments will be live on the county council’s website on the first day of the pilot. From 28 February, ZEZ charges for driving a polluting vehicle 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.

More information on the ZEZ and the charges, discounts and exemptions available can be found at oxfordshire.gov.uk/zeroemissionzone.

Photo: © Copyright Bill Nicholls and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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