Map showing Oxford's current Zero Emission Zone and the planned extension. Credits @ Oxfordshire county Council

Traffic filters planned instead of Oxford Zero Emission Zone expansion

Oxfordshire County Council is postponing their plans to expand its Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) from next year. Instead, a consultation is going to be launched at the beginning of September about installing six trial traffic filters in Oxford to reduce traffic.

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The consultation on introducing six trial traffic filters in Oxford will start on 5 September, announced Oxfordshire County Council on Tuesday.

Traffic filters are designed to reduce traffic, make bus journeys faster and make walking and cycling safer.  When they are operating, private cars will not be allowed through the traffic filters without a permit.

All other vehicles including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs will be allowed at all times. Permits will be available for blue badge holders, health workers and professional and non-professional care workers, shares the council.

The scheme will be enforced using automatic number plate recognition cameras.

The consultation on the trial proposed will run for four weeks until 3 October 2022. If approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet, the trial will start as an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) in summer 2023 for a minimum of six months.

The Road Haulage Association has stated it is happy with the plans.

“Of course we all want the cleanest air possible – none more so than the operators of commercial vehicles; trucks, coaches and vans. We are already doing all we can to address the issue but the timing of the ZEZ is dependent on the state of the commercial vehicle market to deliver and until zero emission HGVs and coaches become readily available, and a price that operators can afford, it will be an uphill struggle However, we welcome the response from Oxfordshire CC and look forward to working with them and others on the technical issues so that air quality targets can be achieved,” said RHA MD Richard Smith.