Oxford city centre drivers face £10 charge next year

Cornmarket Street in Oxford Image copyright Google
Image caption Cornmarket Street would be affected by the proposal

Charges for motorists who drive into Oxford city centre could be brought in as early as next year.

The city's planned Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) would be the first of its kind in the country.

An initial rollout would start in five city streets from 1 December and motorists not driving a zero emission vehicle would be charged £10 a day.

The ZEZ is expected to cover much more of the city centre, including High Street and St Giles' by 2021 or 2022.

A consultation has begun to gauge if there is support to roll out the ZEZ in December in an area known as the red zone.

It would affect Cornmarket Street and Queen Street, two of the city's main shopping areas.

Image copyright Oxfordshire County Council
Image caption The proposed green zone - with the red zone highlighted - which the councils want to introduce by 2021 or 2022

People who do not pay the charge - which is planned by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council - would be fined £120.

The £10 charge on vehicles is proposed to jump to £20 in December 2024.

The councils have already proposed charging employers to use staff car parking spaces in an effort to cut congestion.

Yvonne Constance, county council cabinet member for environment, said: "Not only will this project make a huge difference to the quality of life and health of people living and working in the city centre, we are showing that it is possible as we start to respond seriously to the climate emergency.

"This is a great way to start an important decade of climate action."

About 1,100 vehicles use roads in the red zone every day. Residents who live inside it would need to pay 10% of the daily charge.

Businesses inside the red zone would not need to pay until December 2024 and charges would be discounted for them until December 2030.

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