Joint statement from Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council on the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) pilot.
The Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) pilot will be launched later this year following the resolution of unforeseen technical issues in the supporting online systems which allow the scheme to be fully effective.
Parts of Oxford city centre currently have high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide and the aims of Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council in introducing a ZEZ is to tackle that issue. The ZEZ pilot aims to provide opportunities for both councils to understand how best to extend the scheme across the city centre to reduce the city’s air pollution levels, tackle the climate emergency and improve the health of residents and visitors in Oxford and beyond.
Both councils believe that the scheme should be introduced without creating difficulty for local businesses and residents to work well with the scheme and propose a temporary postponement to ensure a full launch without glitches.
Since the scheme’s approval in March 2021, following several consultations, both Councils have been working, amid the need to respond to the pandemic, to prepare the back office and enforcement systems, as well as working with businesses and residents to ensure an effective launch of the scheme.
This work has included, trialling e-cargo bikes to Oxford’s Covered Market, updating the Lord Mayor’s car to a Nissan Leaf, the arrival of an electric van for community groups, the start of work to install new rapid electric vehicle chargers for taxi drivers, expansion of the e-scooter trial across Oxford, and the application for the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.
In addition, the councils are working with the Energy Saving Trust to deliver workshops to taxi and private hire drivers to support them in their transition to electric vehicles.
As already agreed through engagement with businesses in the zone, the system to register for discounts and exemptions under the ZEZ pilot will open six weeks before the ZEZ pilot start date.
All other workstreams for the ZEZ pilot are on track and both councils will provide an update on the resolution of the online systems to allow for a launch this year.