Drivers of non-electric cars will be required to pay £10 per day to enter the heart of Oxford under new plans
James Attwood, digital editor
10 January 2020

Oxford is set to introduce a Zero Emission Zone, charging vehicles that produce any emissions to drive into the heart of the city centre, by the end of this year.

The scheme is designed to reduce air pollution by encouraging drivers to both switch to electric vehicles and reduce their car usage. Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have published draft proposals of the scheme, which has been in development since 2017 and is planned to come into force this December. 

When the scheme was first proposed, the two councils suggested that CO2-emitting cars could be banned entirely from the city centre. Instead, a scheme similar to London's Ultra Low Emission Zone is set to be adopted, with non-electric vehicles charged £10 per day to enter the zone between 7AM and 7PM. 

The councils say the scheme would cut CO2 emissions, improving the health of both city centre residents and those in the wider Oxfordshire area.

Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, said the Zero Emission Zone would "help make 2020 the year we make a game-changing difference", adding that "our medieval city is leading the electric vehicle revolution."

The charges would initially apply to a small Red Zone, comprising a handful of streets in the city centre, with exemptions for disabled drivers and vehicles registered to businesses within the zone. Residents of the zone would be given a 90% discount.

From 1 December 2024, the charge would rise to £20 per day, with vehicles registered to businesses paying £10 per day. Residents would continue to benefit from the 90% discount until 2030, when they would be forced to pay the full charge.

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Vehicles that meet the Government’s current Plug-in Car Grant criteria – electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell cars and plug-in hybrids capable of at least 70 miles of zero-emissions running – would be exempt from the charges.

As well as the Red Zone, a Green Zone covering the rest of the city centre would be introduced in 2021 or 2022. It would operate with separate requirements that are still being determined but are likely to include charges for vehicles that don’t meet Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol emissions standards. Discounts would be given to residents.

The operators of local buses and taxis that run within the zone have already agreed timelines with the councils to switch to zero-emissions fleets, so such vehicles wouldn't be charged.

Income raised from the scheme must by law be used to improve local transport. The councils say they plan to use revenue to help businesses and residents in the Red Zone switch to electric vehicles, likely through the installation of charging points or financial assistance for purchasing.

The proposals are open for public consultation until 31 January and can be viewed here.

Oxford is among a number of UK cities aiming to cut pollution by limiting vehicle access. Last year, Bristol City Council announced plans to ban all diesels from its city centre.

READ MORE

Oxford plans ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2020 (from 2017)

London Ultra Low Emission Zone: what you need to know

Bristol City Council approves first UK ban for diesel cars

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Comments
17

TS7

10 January 2020

...I no longer work in or live near Oxford.

11 January 2020
TS7 wrote:

...I no longer work in or live near Oxford.

The city mourns...

TS7

11 January 2020
michael knight wrote:
TS7 wrote:

...I no longer work in or live near Oxford.

The city mourns...

You don't know me, but I know you by that. What a suppository you are.

10 January 2020

its going to cost them a fortune to film future series of Endevour. 

10 January 2020

If these loony councils truly believe in saving the environment, why don't they ban ICE vehicles from city centres rather than charge them an extortionate fee?

I suspect that they know public transport is so awful or inadequate that people need their cars, and also that 'ordinary' people that need to commute to their jobs to pay their council tax can't afford ridiculously priced electric cars.

 

11 January 2020
gavsmit wrote:

If these loony councils truly believe in saving the environment, why don't they ban ICE vehicles from city centres rather than charge them an extortionate fee?

I suspect that they know public transport is so awful or inadequate that people need their cars, and also that 'ordinary' people that need to commute to their jobs to pay their council tax can't afford ridiculously priced electric cars.

 

This!!!
To encourage people to buy electric cars they say? Nope, if they can't afford a new electric car or to pay the extortion, those who work there that can't rely on public transport for their hours of work are totally screwed

10 January 2020

What a shame !

 

11 January 2020
The initial 'red' zone is just a few virtually pedestrianised streets in the city centre, it's a symbolic gesture and not going to make much difference. The big impact will come in the second 'green' zone phase that will make it almost impossible to get across the city from East to West, the only route will be via the congested bypass which will make a two mile journey in to a ten mile one. It doesn't help that the bypass is also being downgraded as new housing estates are built outside of it with low cost (and dangerous) traffic light junctions in stead of proper slip roads and flyovers.
The other big issue which is not being reported is the proposed installation of a number of bus gates on roads well outside the city centre linking various residential areas together. These will force a great deal of local traffic out to the aforementioned overloaded bypass and massively increase distances traveled.

11 January 2020

A great plan which should be in place here in London. However I disagree with a £10 charge it should be just a flat ban on petrol/diesel vehicles. British cities were not designed around thr car and cannot cope with volumes of vehicles in the 21st century. It's the best way to stop appalling levels of pollution in the UK.

The government should use the 'Brexit Bonus' to invest heavily in public transport. Which obviously won't happen as we are hemorrhaging billions.

11 January 2020

I'm glad i live in Oxford, one of the few forward-thinking city councils in the UK. 

Elsewhere this would have been blocked by voices complaining about businesses being hit etc. etc. but they along with transport firms were consulted and have agreed to transition plans to meet zero emission targets.

If you listen to the nay-sayers you end up going backwards.

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