Britain’s first zero emission zone (ZEZ) will begin in Oxford on 28 February. The pilot will launch in a small number of streets in the city centre. All petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge unless eligible for a discount or exemption. However, zero-emission vehicles, such as electric cars, can enter the pilot area free of charge. The fee will vary from £2 to £10 per day depending on the emission levels of the vehicle. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are being installed to enforce rules within the zone.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council believe the pilot will allow them to gain useful insights before introducing a larger ZEZ covering most of Oxford city centre next year, subject to further public consultation. The ZEZ will aim to reduce air pollution in the city and encourage people to make positive changes in travel behaviour, and while many cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Bath have already introduced or are in the process of introducing clean air zone restrictions and charges for vehicles, Oxford will be the first in Britain to introduce a ZEZ.