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Oxfordshire County Council released a consultation document on 16 October 2017 on its proposals to introduce a Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre, giving residents until 26 November to comment on the plans. It is believed that this would be the world’s first ZEZ and would mean that petrol and diesel cars, taxis, buses and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) would be banned from the city centre from 2020. The aim is to significantly reduce air pollution in the city, which has failed to meet the legal limit for levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The proposal is that the ZEZ would start by covering a very central area in 2020 and extend to cover a wider area in the city centre by 2025. By 2030, the ZEZ will cover the whole centre and will mean that all cars, taxis, buses and LCVs travelling through the central area will need to be zero emission. The Council’s study anticipates that electric vehicle technology will start to become available for large HGVs from 2025, with availability increasing over time, meaning that HGVs will be included in the ZEZ from 2035.
The vehicles able to be used in the ZEZ must be capable of operating whilst not producing any emissions during their time within the ZEZ. Natural gas, biomethane and hydrogen combustion vehicles are considered unsuitable for the ZEZ as they still produce emissions when in use. The proposals depend on technology being sufficiently developed to allow this to be practical.
Oxford City Council has already won government funding to install electric vehicle charging points across the city for taxis and residents. The ZEZ proposals will require the city to secure further funding to install more electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Oxford. Oxfordshire County Council is also exploring other options to further reduce emissions in Oxford.
The Council want to hear from everyone who uses the City, you can give your opinion on the ZEZ by responding to the consultation on the Oxford City Council website up until 26 November 2017.
For more information or advice, contact our regulatory team on 01254 828300.