As of February 28, the British city of Oxford started its Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), according to which only full electric vehicles can access a restricted area of the city centre without being charged. 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 (2023), subject to further public consultation.

Zero Emission Zone in Oxford: how does it work?

The ZEZ pilot will operate from 7am – 7pm, all year around. All petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge unless eligible for a discount or exemption. However, zero emission vehicles can enter the pilot area free of charge. It is quite an important test, as the ZEZ is much stricter compared to similar initiatives in other European cities. The charge will vary from £2 to £10 per day depending on the emission levels of the vehicle. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed to enforce the zone. Some capital cities, such as Paris and London, will have bans for non-ZE vehicles from 2024 onwards, in compliance with stricter regulations proposed by the EU.

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Funds raised by the ZEZ will be used to cover implementation and running costs of the scheme. Any remaining funds will be used to help residents and businesses make the transition to zero emission vehicles, and on other schemes that promote zero and low emission transport in the city. «The start of the zero emission zone pilot is a landmark event for the city of Oxford and our journey to tackle toxic air pollution and reduce our carbon emissions», commented Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council. «For five years the City Council and I have been engaging with businesses and citizens to develop the zero emission zone, and I want to thank everyone for sharing their passion for cleaner air and knowledge about how to pragmatically achieve it. We will be using the learnings from this pilot to inform the expansion of the zone to the wider city centre in 2023»


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