Councils Statement on Proposed Oxford Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford

Published: Friday, 20th March 2020

Councils Statement on Proposed Oxford Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford

Oxford Zero Emission Zone

Both Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are committed to taking climate action to address the need to reduce emissions and offer residents and visitors a cleaner, healthier and safer environment. We would like to reassure you that we remain wholly committed to the introduction of the proposed Zero Emission Zone in the city centre.

We can announce that this week £150,000 funding has been secured from Defra to purchase Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to assist in the delivery of the Oxford ZEZ. 

However, amid the current situation with coronavirus with Government acknowledging an economic crisis, both councils 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.

Therefore, the current plan to launch the Red Zone for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone in December 2020 is now postponed. We will be closing the current formal consultation on the Red Zone but responses submitted so far will be read and saved. If you have provided contact details, we will contact you at the start of the next consultation to confirm if you wish to add your previous response. The councils plan to resume the consultation in late 2020, and a view to implement the scheme in the Summer of 2021.

Further updates can be found at the Zero Emission Zone page on our website.

Connecting Oxford

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council also remain committed to taking action to address the need to reduce traffic and improve public transport and cycling and walking routes across Oxford through the Connecting Oxford proposals. The next steps for Connecting Oxford’s introduction involve developing a detailed business case as well as modelling, design and a comprehensive engagement programme with a wide range of stakeholders and resident groups across the city. The engagement plans involve a series of face to face meetings and gatherings. The protection of the health and wellbeing of business representatives and residents must be our priority and the councils are therefore now reviewing how this aspect of the project is to be progressed.

Further updates will be made on our Connecting Oxford page. Updates will also be made by our newsletter.

“We are all living through an unprecedented crisis. We have to get our priorities right at this time, and that means focusing on the immediate concerns of businesses who are key to the success of the Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford. We can’t expect businesses who are facing Coronavirus challenges right now and potentially for months ahead to prioritise helping to shape the policy or focusing on the logistical planning required for these schemes.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our consultations over the past few months and spent many hours shaping the future of our city. I know many people will share our deep disappointment. I am very hopeful that we will resume the timeline for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford. I hope everyone stays safe during this time and we wish our businesses and citizens well.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council

"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.”

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, Oxfordshire County Council