Oxford will likely be the first place in the UK to launch a zero emission zone (ZEZ) following the green light to run a pilot programme in August.
The ZEZ will mean only zero emission vehicles will be able to drive within Oxford city centre without receiving charges of up to £10 a day.
The ZEZ could give a further boost to micromobility solutions that will help contribute to Oxford’s goal of net zero carbon emissions across the county by 2040.
Voi is currently running the e-scooter trial for Oxford and there are also shared bike and e-bike schemes like Oxonbike.
Couriers and delivery drivers would need to drive electric vans to avoid the charges, or they could put a fleet of e-cargo bikes in place for first and last mile deliveries like FedEx has (albeit at a small scale) in London.
Councillor Tom Hayes, deputy leader and cabinet member for green transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council, said: “Air pollution weakens our lungs and makes it harder to breathe.
“Dirty air cuts short life and our quality of life, and it’s just not on.
“Giving Britain’s first ZEZ the green light is a game-changer, a way of improving public health but also social justice because it is the poorest citizens who are most affected by toxic air.
“As the UK’s first council to set an air quality target which is tougher and tighter than the Government’s own, the Zero Emission Zone will help us to provide the cleanest air that Oxford residents will have ever known.”
Micromobility has strategic role for ZEZ
Voi launched its small e-scooter trial with Oxfordshire County Council in February this year and 5,500 rides have been taken since launch.
Richard Corbett, Voi’s regional general manager UK, Ireland and Benelux, told Zag: “Oxfordshire County Council and Voi share the same vision of creating better cities for living, free of pollution and congestion.
“Micro-mobility has a strategic role to play in the creation of Oxford’s ZEZ, and we will continue to work closely with the local transport authority to ensure we support them to achieve their ambitious emission goals.”
The ZEZ pilot will restrict polluting vehicles from key city centre streets during the day.
Those who drive polluting vehicles into the zone will be charged a fee, with the level of the charge dependent on how polluting the vehicle is.
The ZEZ pilot is the first phase of the Zero Emission Zone.
It will allow both councils to gain experience and information before introducing a larger Zero Emission Zone covering most of Oxford city centre in 2022, subject to further public consultation.
It is intended that the restrictions and exemptions applied within the pilot will be the same in the expanded ZEZ.
Further detail on the Oxford ZEZ can be found here.