Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have published final draft proposals for the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), due to be implemented in December this year. GlobalData’s motor finance editor Chris Lemmon reports.
Lemmon says: “A Red Zone has been drawn around six main streets in Oxford city centre, with non-compliant vehicles paying a penalty fee of £10 per day to enter the zone (rising to £20 per day in December 2024). Zero emission vehicles are able to drive in the zone for free.
“The proposed measures are designed to drastically reduce the health risks for people living and working in the city. Last year, Oxford City Council published an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, finding that transportation is responsible for 16% of total emissions. Transport also accounts for three quarters of nitrogen dioxide pollution in Oxford, and 50 tonnes of CO2 are emitted by road traffic in Oxford every morning rush hour.
“From January 2020, all Hackney Carriage Vehicles taxis in Oxford have agreed to move towards becoming zero emission in the next five years, with phased emission standards. The councils are also working with bus companies to make the switch to zero emission by 2035 at the latest.
“Residents living within the Red Zone would be offered at least 90% discounts on charges applied up to 2030, allowing them 10 years to transition to zero emission vehicles.
“The councils are also considering an expansion to the ZEZ to cover the remainder of the city centre – also known as the green zone. The Green Zone would operate alongside the Red Zone, with separate requirements.
“The decision by the councils in Oxford to introduce a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) is a big step in the right direction, and should inspire the councils of other UK cities to take similar action.
“According to the latest statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the transport sector accounts for a third of the total annual greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the UK – higher than any other sector.
“With vast investments being made in the electric vehicle space, we should start to see the price of EVs becoming more affordable for the average consumer – some estimates point to cost parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles within five years. In addition to this, new government measures mean full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will pay no company car tax from 6 April 2020.
“These factors, combined with measures such as the implementation of ZEZs across cities in the UK, will serve to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles and reduce the transport sector’s impact on the environment.”