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Oxford is set to become the first city in the UK to introduce a Zero Emission Zone, which will ban petrol and diesel vehicles from entering the city centre in order to reduce pollution.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council jointly have published final draft proposals for the ZEZ, which is expected to introduced by the end of the year.

The new proposals outline a Red Zone, which covers a small area of the city centre and will start from December 2020 for all vehicles and it also outlines 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.

Oxford ZEZ

The Red Zone will be enforced between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone and there will be a 90% discount for residents living in the zone until December 2030.

Both the Red and Green Zones will operate alongside each other and could involve a charging scheme with daily charges for high emission vehicles – worse than Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol, a discounted daily charge for low emission vehicles – Euro 6 diesel, Euro 4 petrol or better, and/or for vehicles which comply with the London Ultra Low Emission Zone standards – and no charge for zero emission vehicles.

“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,” said councillor Tom Hayes, cabinet member for zero carbon Oxford at Oxford City Council. “Local government isn’t prepared to delay action. Our two councils are working together to enhance lives here in Oxford and across the market towns and villages of Oxfordshire.”