William Eichler 08 January 2020

Oxford councils propose UK’s first Zero Emission Zone

Oxford councils propose UK’s first Zero Emission Zone image

The final draft proposals for the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) have been published as part of a drive to reduce Oxford’s ‘toxic air pollution levels’.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council say the ZEZ aims to reduce Oxford’s air pollution levels, tackle the climate emergency, and improve the health of those living, working, and visiting in Oxford and beyond.

The proposals include a Red Zone in a small section of the city centre. Zero emission vehicles would be able to drive here free of charge, but non-compliant vehicles would have to pay £10 per day.

The Red Zone would come into force in December 2020 for all vehicles.

All blue badge holders entering the zone would get a discount until December 2024. Businesses would also be exempt until December 2024, followed by a discount until December 2030. There will be a 90% discount for residents living in the zone until December 2030.

Buses and Oxford licensed Hackney Carriages which drive within the planned Zero Emission have already agreed timelines for zero emissions fleets across Oxford and will not be subject to charges.

The two councils are also proposing the creation of a Green Zone covering the rest of the city centre in 2021/22, which would be accessed for free by zero emission vehicles and with discounted charges for vehicles which comply with the London Ultra Low Emission Zone standards.

‘2020 will be a crunch year for our climate and all our futures. We face a climate emergency that threatens all of our futures,’ said Cllr Tom Hayes, cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council.

‘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.’

Cllr Yvonne Constance, cabinet member for Environment, Oxfordshire County Council, commented: ‘I am really pleased that at the start of the New Year we are on track to introduce the Zero Emission Zone in Oxford by the end of 2020.

‘Not only will this project make a huge difference to the quality of life and health of people living and working in the city centre, we are showing that it is possible as we start to respond seriously to the climate emergency. This is a great way to start an important decade of climate action.’

An informal consultation on the Red Zone will be open from Tuesday 7 January – Friday 31 January.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has criticised the proposals describing them as 'absurd' and 'another tax on businesses'.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, said: 'If council chiefs are serious about slashing emissions they need to focus on improving road infrastructure. Current plans mean that consumers will face higher prices in the shops as hard-pressed firms have no choice but to pass on the extra costs.

'Imposing a scheme where even the cleanest, Euro VI trucks will be hit with charges is absurd.

'The councils have offered no evidence to show how these measures will improve air quality so we can only conclude this is all about showcasing their green credentials instead of making the tough choices to tackle emissions.

'These are poorly conceived ideas which will leave Oxford’s communities footing the bill with price hikes in the high street if they go ahead.'

Sutton Councils IoT pilot project image

Sutton Council's IoT pilot project

David Grasty, head of digital strategy & portfolio for Kingston and Sutton Councils, outlines how in-home sensors have improved the safety of vulnerable residents living in social housing.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Director of Children's Safeguarding and Care 

Gloucestershire County Council
Up to £116,391, plus relocation support
We are looking to fill this vital role at a very important time for us.  Our children’s services team is on an important journey of... Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Adult Social Care (DASS)

Hull City Council
£98,166 - £98,166
We are now seeking to recruit an exceptional transformational leader to build on our existing success. Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: Hull City Council

Senior Building Surveyor

Bedford Borough Council
£34,728 - £36,880 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen following a comprehensive restructure of Economic Growth and Property. Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Planning Officer

Three Rivers District Council
£30,451 to £33,782 (exc. LW)
We are looking to appoint a Senior Planning Officer. Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
Recuriter: Three Rivers District Council

Insurance Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£43,833 to £53,115 per annum
An opportunity has arisen for a skilled and experienced insurance professional to lead a busy and friendly Insurance Team providing a... Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue