Car tax charges: Oxford to pilot Zero Emission Zone – ‘undoubtedly ambitious’

Clean Air Zones are designed to lower levels of vehicle pollution in certain areas of towns and cities, as part of the Government’s overarching transport decarbonisation plan (TDP). So far, Birmingham and Bath have started charging in each CAZ, whilst London is set to expand the ULEZ in October.

As part of the scheme, drivers whose cars do not abide by the emissions guidelines will need to pay a daily charge to drive in and around the zone.

In Birmingham, it costs £8 a day for cars, taxis and vans, with a £50 charge for buses, coaches and HGVs.

It is slightly higher in London, with £12.50 for most cars and vans, with a £100 charge for heavier vehicles.

Oxford City Council have announced plans to create the UK’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ).

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Ultra-low emission vehicles – those that produce less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre – and motorcycles will be charged £2 per day, which will rise to £4 per day from August 2025.

CAZ compliant and low emissions vehicles will be charged £4 per day, doubling to £8 per day from 2025.

For drivers with vehicles which do not meet standards, costs will start from £10 per day from February 2022, rising to £20 from August 2025.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, is one of the key players involved with the development of the ZEZ.

The council is making these changes to encourage people to switch to low and zero emission vehicles, with Councillor Hayes hoping it will make other positive changes to their travel behaviour.

Speaking to, he said: “It really is about, in a time of scarce funding, how you attract investment into your city and how you’re able to use the investment in a way to meet your City Council’s goals rather than simply responding to market pressures.

“We’ve had Nottingham and Birmingham come to talk to us about the Zero Emissions Zone and we’ve been to London City Hall to talk about the ZEZ.

“There is a network of cities which are ambitious for cleaner air which are swapping their experiences and pushing each other on so we can further build networks and learn from each other.

“Undoubtedly I’m ambitious for my city and I want it to be a leader in all types of electric charging technologies.

“I also recognise that working with my peers across city councils, they want the same ambition for their city.

“So that competition is helpful in so far that it stirs us on to be delivering for our communities.

“I want a country which is filled with clean air where people don’t have health problems created by dirty air.”

The city has introduced two large scale energy development projects – Project LEO and Energy Superhub Oxford.

Councillor Hayes spoke of the major advantages for securing funding for these projects, with LEO looking to accelerate the UK’s transition to a zero-carbon energy system.

Energy Superhub Oxford is the world’s largest hybrid battery, which will cater for the UK’s most powerful EV charging hub towards the end of this year.

They have also introduced pop-up electric chargers which are being heralded for saving space, especially in busy metropolitan areas where open space is a rarity.

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