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The consultation is set to end next month after hearing opinions from drivers
The changes could see hard-pressed drivers with exemptions save money indefinitely
A new consultation has been launched which looks to hear from motorists about potential changes to one of the UK’s most stringent emissions based charging zones.
Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) was first introduced in February 2022 to address pollution in the city and charges drivers from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week, all year round.
The charging zone applies to nine streets in the city centre, with most vehicles being required to pay a daily charge depending on the emissions of the vehicle.
Zero emission vehicles do not need to pay anything, in addition to any vehicles inside the area that remain parked and do not travel.
The ZEZ was launched in February 2022
Any vehicle which emits less than 75g/km of CO2, known as an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV), is charged £2, with these charges set to double from August 2025 as things stand.
Any vehicle which meets the Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 diesel standard is charged £4, while all vehicles which do not meet those standards are charged £10 per day.
A new consultation is aiming to hear the opinions of drivers about two core factors which could have a huge impact on the future of the scheme.
The first proposed change is to remove any dates that could apply to drivers who currently have exemptions from the charge.
At present, a 100 per cent discount is available for Blue Badge holders and those who have vehicles under the disabled tax class.
A further 90 per cent discount is available for ZEZ business vehicles, although all of these exemptions are due to end in July 2025.
Residents who live in the area also benefit from a 90 per cent discount, with this scheduled to come to an end in July 2030.
However, as part of the consultation proposals, the end dates would be removed, allowing the discounts to continue indefinitely.
Oxfordshire County Council has put these suggestions forward as a result of pressure from the cost of living crisis, saying it would not be appropriate for the discounts to end.
Alongside the general cost of living increasing, the cost of motoring has impacted drivers massively.
The cost of car insurance has continued to rise, petrol and diesel price reductions have ended, and experts are now warning that costs will continue to increase in the near future.
From August 1, 2025, prices were scheduled to double to further persuade drivers to get rid of their older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Council highlighted the cost of living crisis as being the main factor in the decision to launch the consultation and hear from motorists.
Once the consultation has ended, the Council will release a report on the outcomes and, if approved, changes will be made to the ZEZ charging order.
The Council highlighted the impact of the cost of living crisis in the decision to roll back charging increases
The consultation is accepting responses to the survey until 5pm on Tuesday, October 24.