Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone pilot to launch on 28 February

Oxford City Council has announced that Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) will begin in the city on 28 February 2022.

While many cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Bath have already introduced or are in the process of introducing Clean Air Zone restrictions and charges for vehicles, Oxford will be the first city in Britain to introduce a ZEZ.

The pilot will launch in a small number of streets in the city centre and all petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge unless eligible for a discount or exemption. However, zero emission vehicles, such as electric cars, can enter the pilot area free of charge.

The charge 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.   

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

Tom Hayes, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said: “The launch of Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone on 28 February would not have happened without many people’s enthusiasm, expertise, and time. Having worked personally with those people over the last four years of developing the ZEZ, I want to thank them because the ZEZ we’re launching reflects what they have said.

“The city council has chosen to set the toughest air quality standards of any local authority in the country. There is no safe level of air pollution. As the Chair of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, we set up, the city council has helped to establish a data-led, science-based target of creating a net zero city by 2040. We have high ambition matched with a pragmatic desire to work with anyone and listen to a range of views; that’s how you meet the climate crisis and clean our dirty air and deliver social justice at the same time.”

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