Britain’s First Ever Zero Emission Zone

Tue 8th Feb 2022

Drivers in Oxford are set to be the UK’s first motoring guinea pigs in the trial of a zero emission zone, which will see drivers of all petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars forced to pay a daily charge to drive through it.

The ZEZ, which will go live on 28 February, extends to eight streets in Oxford with motorists charged between £2 to £10 dependent on how polluting their vehicle is. The only vehicles which are exempt from the charges are pure electrics, which the scheme enforced from 7am to 7pm every day.

If the trial is deemed a success Oxford City Council have said that they will look to extend it to other areas of the famous University town, and when made permanent prices will also be increased from August 2025.

The trial will be closely monitored by many other local authorities, with the ULEZ in London already proving to be lucrative, and similar schemes being launched across England. But Oxford’s is the first which penalises all non-electric vehicles, regardless of whether they are low-emission or not.

“The City Council has chosen to set the toughest air quality standards of any local authority in the country. There is no safe level of air pollution,” said Oxford City Councillor Tom Hayes.

“As the Chair of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, we set up, the City Council has helped to establish a data-led, science-based target of creating a net zero city by 2040. 

“We have high ambition matched with a pragmatic desire to work with anyone and listen to a range of views; that’s how you meet the climate crisis and clean our dirty air and deliver social justice at the same time.”