Oxford,
07
February
2020
|
15:50
Europe/London

Councils receive 900 responses to final draft proposals for Oxford Zero Emission Zone

Around 900 individuals, businesses and organisations across Oxford and Oxfordshire have responded to a consultation on the final draft proposals for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone.

In the recent consultation, which took place between Tuesday 7 January until Friday 31 January, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council asked members of the public to provide their views on the final draft proposals for the Red Zone of Oxford Zero Emission Zone.

The councils were looking for feedback on the level the charges are set at, whether the discounts are appropriate, the suggested hours of operation for the charging scheme, what future phases of the Zero Emission Zone should include, and when they should be implemented.

In 2017, both councils announced joint proposals to introduce a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford, which would see a historic reduction in air pollution levels. More than 750 residents and businesses took part in a six-week public consultation on the proposals in late 2017, with about 70% of respondents backing a phased approach to the ZEZ.

The consultation responses will inform a formal consultation on the Red Zone ZEZ, and the formulation of the legal order required to bring the zone into force.

The key points of the latest proposals were:

  • The introduction of a charging scheme in the Red Zone between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone.
  • Discounts for all blue badge holders entering the zone until at least December 2024.
  • Exemptions for vehicles registered to businesses in the Red Zone until December 2024, followed by a discount until December 2030.
  • A 90% discount for residents living in the zone until December 2030.
  • Buses and Oxford licensed Hackney Carriages which drive within the planned Zero Emission have already agreed timelines for zero emissions fleets across Oxford and are subject to other interim emission requirements.

Next steps

Formal consultation on the Red Zone ZEZ scheme will start in March 2020.

Both councils will be making a formal decision on implementation in the spring, which could mean the scheme coming into effect in December 2020.

If approved, the Oxford Zero Emission Zone could begin in December 2020, with a wider Green Zone, covering the rest of the city centre, proposed for introduction in 2021/22.

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

“I would like to thank everyone who shared their views on the final draft proposals for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone. The continued engagement and passion around the proposals continues to motivate us in our goal to tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution. Over the coming weeks, we will be listening to the feedback from this consultation to make the Oxford Zero Emission Zone both fair and effective.”

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

“Tackling air pollution and climate change is a great priority for Oxfordshire County Council and I would like to thank those that responded to our survey on the Red Zone. Not only will this project make a difference to the quality of life and health of people living and working in the city centre, we are showing that it is possible as we start to respond seriously with climate action. We can look forward to a city that will be a healthier and cleaner place for all. We will now look carefully at the views of the public, residents and other stakeholders who submitted their views on the proposals in our survey."