Oxford Claims First Charged UK Zero Emission Zone

Only zero emission vehicles will be allowed free of charge into the inner center of Oxford as the ancient city becomes the first in the UK to tax users of fossil fueled transport.

Draft proposals suggest a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) covering six streets in the heart of the city will be imposed by the end of 2020. Vehicle emitting any emissions will have pay £10 a day for access, effectively limiting free access to EVs and horse-drawn carriages.

The Zone will be in operation from 7am-7pm, with the charges applied to light commercial vehicles, heavy goods trucks, motorcycles and mopeds. However, there will be exemptions for disabled drivers and hybrids and plug-in hybrids able to travel 70miles in EV mode alone. Businesses within the zone will also be temporary exempt to allow them to convert to zero emission fleets and while zone residents will be charged just £1 a day.

The city authority will also start ramping up the pressure against fossil powered ICE by raising the charge to £20 a day for non-exempt vehicles from December 2024.  Non-compliant businesses in the zone will be charged half rate while residents face £2 a day but will see that discount removed by 2030 when they will pay the full charge.

Additionally, the council is considering widening the zone to the rest of the city center in 2021 or 2022, with charges for high emission vehicles, worse than the Euro 6 diesel standard or Euro 4 gasoline, and a discounted charge for low emission vehicles, including anything included by London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone. Monies raised by the ZEZ will go towards local transport in Oxford, including installing vehicle chargers or improving public transport options.

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