Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) 2022 — The Ultimate Guide

Oxford clean air zone

You may be familiar with the London Low Emission Zone and the newly extended ULEZ, but did you also know that other UK cities are rolling out their own low emission zones? Oxford is one of them, and joins both the capital and Birmingham in aiming to lower CO2 emissions and improve air quality in the city centre. So, whether you’re local or just visit Oxford, here’s what you need to know about the Oxford Zero Emission Zone.

Does Oxford have a low emission zone?

Not yet! The Oxford Low Emission Zone was actually due to start in August 2021 but hit delays. At the moment, it is scheduled to begin in February 2022. Unlike the ULEZ in London which recently grew to impact areas far beyond central London, including many residential suburbs, the Oxford low emission zone will only impact a few select streets in the city centre. Once it is up and running, you can expect it to operate every day of the week, between 7am-7pm.

Also unlike London charges such as the congestion charge which made allowances for hybrid vehicles, the Oxford ZEZ will not do likewise. Simply put, if your car requires petrol or diesel to run, even if it also uses electricity, you will need to pay a charge to enter the Oxford ZEZ.

The Oxford ZEZ map

The Oxford clean air zone will impact a few streets in the very centre of the city, including:

  • New Road (between Bonn Square and its Castle Street junction)
  • Bonn Square
  • Cornmarket Street
  • New Inn Hall Street
  • Shoe Lane
  • Queen Street
  • Ship Street
  • Market Street (from the junction with Cornmarket)
  • St Michael’s Street
Picturesque central Oxford, the heart of the Oxford ZEZ

Frequently asked questions about the Oxford ZEZ

Do I have to pay the low emission charge?

Yes, if your car is anything but a full electric vehicle, you will need to pay the daily charge. You will be able to do this online and can pre-emptively pay up to six days in advance. You can also pay on the day, and in the six days that follow your entry into the Oxford Low Emission Zone.

What is the Oxford ZEZ pilot?

The Oxford Low Emission Zone in its current proposed state is the pilot, it is expected to be extended some time in 2022 when the pilot period is ended.

How much is the Oxford Zero Emission Zone charge?

The charge varies depending on your vehicle, but ranges from £2 to £10. These are the prices expected for February 2022, but by  August 2025, they will double, costing from £4-£20.

Oxford low emission zone daily charge
The streets of Oxford are more expensive to drive around if your car is not compliant

Will all vehicles pay the same?

No, depending on the sort of vehicle you drive or, more specifically, their emissions, you will have to pay a different total. You should take the time to check what Emission standard your car meets — maybe it’s time to sell your car and go green!

Vehicle typeCO2 EmissionsCharge (from February 2022)Charge (from August 2025)
Zero emission vehicle (ZEV)0 g/km£0£0
Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV)Less than 75g/km

Any two-three wheeled vehicle emitting more than 0g/km
Low Emission Vehicle (LEV)Vehicles with: 4+ wheelsMeet Euro 4 (Petrol)Meet Euro 6 (Diesel)£4£8
All other vehiclesVehicles that meet none of the above£10£20

Can I get an exemption from the Oxford Zero Emission Zone?

Yes, depending on your vehicle’s purpose. Naturally, zero emission vehicles will be completely exempt and there is no need to register your vehicle to make sure you aren’t charged, either. For other vehicles, you must meet some very specific requirements, so for most car owners, an exemption is unlikely to apply.

  • Hackney carriages licensed by Oxford City Council
  • Military vehicles
  • Emergency service vehicles
  • Historic vehicles
  • Hearses
  • Registered local buses
  • Agricultural and similar vehicles e.g. tractors and snow ploughs
  • Special vehicles e.g. pumping vehicles, construction vehicles
  • Certain recovery vehicles

If you are charged even though your vehicle is exempt, you can appeal against it.

compliant vehicles Oxford low emission zone
It may be time to go electric in Oxford

Are there discounts for the Oxford ZEZ?

Like with the London Low Emission Zone, Oxford also has some discounts for drivers who don’t own zero emission vehicles. These include:

  • Disabled tax vehicles
  • Health or care workers
  • Community transport vehicles
  • Vehicles belonging to businesses located within the zone
  • Students deemed to be in financial hardship who are moving to or from the zone
  • Residents of the Oxford low emission zone areas
  • Blue badge holders
  • Select other vehicles such as private hire hybrids

Applications for discounts will open six weeks before the zone comes into effect.

Are motorcyles and mopeds affected?

Yes, motorcyles and mopeds entering the Oxford clean air zone that are not zero emission will pay a fine. Before August 2025, this is £2 per day.

How is the Oxford Zero Emission Zone marked and run?

The zone will be marked by signs warning drivers that they are about to enter the zone. Once entered, CCTV will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to detect non-compliant vehicles.

What times does the Oxford Low Emission Zone operate?

The Oxford ZEZ will operate seven days a week between the hours of 7am and 7pm.

Are there penalty charges if I don’t pay the Oxford ZEZ fine?

Most likely there will be penalty charges for drivers who enter the zone and do not pay the required fee on time, but the precise cost is yet to be confirmed.

Read more

Does the introduction of the new Oxford clean air zone spell the end for your relationship with your vehicle? Then head over to our guides on how to sell your car and find a great 100% electric Oxford ZEZ compliant vehicle:

How much does it cost to tax an electric car (UK)?
What is a hydrogen fuel cell car?
What is a mild hybrid car?
Most frequently asked electric car questions
How to sell an electric car
Electric cars — should you buy or sell?
LPG cars — the ultimate guide
How long does it take to charge an electric car?