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Oxford postpones introduction of zero emission zone

Date: 27 March 2020   |   Author: Illya Verpraet

The city of Oxford is postponing its plans to introduce a 'zero emission zone' (ZEZ) amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Oxford City Council planned to introduce a scheme in December 2020 where there is a charge for driving a vehicle into the centre unless it is capable of driving in zero-emissions. That means fully-electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles, but also plug-in hybrids with a sufficiently large pure-electric range.

The scheme is now on hold, Oxford City Council stating: "Amid the current situation with coronavirus with Government acknowledging an economic crisis, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council recognise that businesses and residents across the city, including those in the Red Zone, need to focus all of their attention on managing the current and potential impacts on their trade and way of life. 

"The councils have therefore decided that during this period of uncertainty, businesses should not be expected to devote time to the detailed logistical planning required for the Oxford ZEZ."

The proposals and responses obtained in the consultation will be saved and the council plans to resume consultation in late 2020, with a view to implement the scheme in the summer of 2021.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, cabinet member for environment at Oxfordshire County Council, commented: "Oxfordshire County Council remains committed to improving transport for residents and visitors as well as taking measured climate action to address air pollution and congestion in Oxford. We take this commitment seriously as we are mindful that there is firm opinion in favour of change.

"The current public health situation, however, means that we must take precautionary steps to minimise the risks to the health of residents. Under the circumstances, this means we will resume consultation on the zero emission zone once the conditions allow."