Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are celebrating after picking up another award for their work on the Oxford zero emission zone (ZEZ) pilot.
Last week (5 October), the two councils won the ‘Exemplary Contribution to Net Zero’ award at the 20th UK National Transport Awards show for their collaboration on the Oxford ZEZ.
The two councils introduced the Oxford ZEZ pilot in February 2022. The first of its kind in the UK, the ZEZ pilot covers all or part of nine streets in the heart of the city centre, restricting polluting vehicles from entering streets between 7am and 7pm every day.
The project was praised for the technical planning, collaboration and political will required to introduce the ZEZ in Oxford.
The two councils worked closely together on planning for the project and on engagement with residents and partners. Last year, both councils were also awarded the prestigious clean air award for their work on the ZEZ.
Within the ZEZ pilot, zero emission vehicles such as electric cars can be used in the zone free of charge. All petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, incur a daily ZEZ charge of up to £10 unless they have a discount or exemption. The charge varies depending on the emission levels of the vehicle.
Proposals are being developed to extend the ZEZ to a wider area in the city centre. These proposals will be subject to future public consultation.
Initial air quality reports for 2022 have found that air pollution levels decreased overall both within the zero emission zone pilot, and the surrounding streets. A full report on the impact of the ZEZ pilot will be published later this year.
The ZEZ has also been a catalyst for accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles in Oxford, with several businesses already shifting towards zero emission vehicles within their fleets.
Councillor Anna Railton, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Climate Justice, said: “It is great news that the Oxford zero emission zone pilot has once again been recognised for its importance and innovation in tackling air pollution. It was a major moment in our city’s journey to tackle toxic emissions, and I am delighted that it is being praised as an exemplary scheme.”
Councillor Andrew Gant, Cabinet Member for Transport Management at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that our pioneering work to improve air quality, cut carbon emissions, and move towards zero emission travel in the city has been recognised again. It is a significant national recognition of our practical work towards our vision of healthier, greener and fairer county. I would like to recognise the hard work and commitment of all our officers who have got this scheme to this point, and I look forward to seeing it take its part in transforming Oxford and Oxfordshire in the future.”