Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone Will Cost Some HGV Operators Dearly, No Matter What
If you run older HGVs in Oxford city centre, the introduction of the UK’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) later this month (February 2022) could mean that you’ll need to find thousands of pounds to keep your business operating in the area!
The UK government has a long-term strategy to reduce carbon and nitrogen dioxide levels in travel and improve air quality across the country – specifically in targeted hotspots such as Oxford city centre.
One of its weapons in this battle is to discourage, through penalising, the use of older, more polluting commercial vehicles. As a result, it has tasked some local authorities with introducing Clean Air Zones.
The Oxford pilot scheme, however, goes further than other CAZs; it being the UK’s first ZEZ. The initial scheme will cover just nine streets and squares in the city centre and will apply from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week, all year round. It will be en-forced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (APNR) cameras, which will record all vehicle movements in and out of the zone.
In August 2025, however, the ZEZ will be extended to other parts of the city and will affect more of Oxford’s population of over 150,000 people and its thousands of businesses.
No vehicles will be banned from accessing the zone, but it’s only zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) that won’t be charged. A zero-emission vehicle is one that doesn’t emit exhaust gas or other pollutants from its onboard source of power. Examples are fully electric vehicles or those powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
However, currently all petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will have to pay a daily charge unless they qualify for a 100% discount or exemption.
Vehicles that meet the Euro 6 diesel standard will pay £4 per day from February, later rising to £8 in August 2025. Diesel-powered HGVs that don’t meet the Euro 6 standard will be charged £10 per day, rising to £20.
If you’re operating older trucks in the centre of Oxford seven days a week, the new ZEZ could cost you £3,650 per truck per year, increasing to £7,300 within a few years!
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