Plans for the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford will see non-compliant drivers facing a £10 charge from December this year.
Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have published final draft proposals for the introduction of the ZEZ, which is part of their efforts towards reducing pollution and improving air quality.
Those who fail to pay the charge could be fined up to £120 under the proposals.
Both councils have launched an information consultation on a draft final scheme for the so-called ‘Red Zone’, including the proposed charging and enforcement arrangements.
The Red Zone covers a small area of the city centre between 7am and 7pm and will start from December 2020 for all vehicles.
There will be exemptions for businesses registered in the Red Zone until December 2024, followed by a discount until December 2030 and a 90% discount for residents living in the zone until December 2030.
A Green Zone has also been proposed for introduction in 2021/22, covering the rest of the city centre, which would be accessed for free by zero emission vehicles and with discounted charges for those that comply with the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standards.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council said: “2020 will be a crunch year for our climate and all our futures. We face a climate emergency that threatens all of our futures. For the sake of everyone in Oxford and especially our children’s lungs, we must clean up the lethal air we’re all breathing. Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone will come into force this year and help make 2020 the year we make a game-changing difference.
“With our strengthened Zero Emission Zone and the introduction of hundreds of supporting charging points, our medieval city is leading the electric vehicle revolution. Our two councils have taken a fresh look at the big idea of charging commuters to drive polluting vehicles in and out of the city centre. And we’re listening to Oxford’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change by speeding up our journey to a city-wide Zero Emission Zone.”