Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) will not begin in December 2020 as planned, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a joint statement, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council said that businesses and residents across the city need to focus all of their attention on managing the current and potential impacts on their trade and way of life.
The councils themselves also say they won’t be able to devote the time required to plan for the ZEZ.
The ZEZ, which was out for its final public consultation, covers a small area of the city centre and will apply to all non-compliant vehicles, including private cars, who will face a £10 charge to enter the zone between 7am and 7pm, rising to £20 from August 2025.
There will be exemptions for businesses registered in the zone until July 2025, followed by a discount until July 2030.
Residents living inside the zone will be able to apply for a 90% discount until July 2030.
Cllr Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council said ‘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.’
In related news, Transport for London (TfL) has suspended London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until further notice, to support key workers on their journeys to work.