The next stage in the roll out of Britain’s first zero emissions zone (ZEZ) in Oxford has been launched with those eligible for discounts or exemptions now able to apply.

The pilot scheme starts in February, covering nine streets in the city centre and operating between 7am and 7pm every day, but anyone qualifying for a discount or exemption must apply before entering the zone.

Zero emissions vehicles such as electric cars will be free to enter but petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily ZEZ charge of up to £10.

The scheme was due to launch in August but has been delayed due to difficulties with the technology to operate it. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used.

The scheme is being implemented by both the city and county councils.

Cllr Tom Hayes, deputy leader and cabinet member for green transport and zero carbon Oxford for the city council said: “The launch of the system to apply for discounts and exemptions is the next step in our journey to launching the Oxford Zero Emission Zone pilot.

“The Zero Emission Zone will help us to clean up our air and is key to reducing toxic air pollution in Oxford. As part of the pilot, we have introduced measures to support business and residents directly within the zone, as well as blue badge holders, and other drivers to transition to electric. If you are eligible for a discount or exemption then I encourage you to apply.”

Cllr Duncan Enright, the county council’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy, said: “Oxford is leading by example and taking proactive measures to make our city centre a cleaner, healthier and more attractive place to live, work, visit and shop.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a discount or exemption to apply for it now to ensure it is in place before the ZEZ charges start in February.

“We have been working with residents and businesses within the pilot area to help them prepare for this change. In the coming year, we will engage more widely with residents and visitors on how best to expand the ZEZ across the city centre.”

When the scheme was due to go ahead in 2021, it was proposed it would be expanded across most of the area within the ring road by Spring 2022.

However, an Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson told Thames Tap: “The ZEZ pilot will launch in nine streets in Oxford city centre in February 2022. The council will engage with businesses and consult with residents before expanding the ZEZ – any expansion will depend on feedback received from businesses and residents during this process. Consultation dates will be announced next year.”


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