Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) 2023 – 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, Birmingham and Bath in aiming to lower CO2 emissions and improve air quality in the city centre. So, whether you’re local or expect to drive in or around Oxford, here’s what you need to know about the Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ).

    Does Oxford have a low emission zone?

    Yes, the Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) became operational as a first phase in February 2022, covering a central area of the city centre. A wider zone is expected to be announced in the near future, based on the findings of the pilot scheme.

    The ZEZ is an area throughout which zero-emission vehicles can be driven without paying a charge, however petrol and diesel vehicles will incur a charge during the hours of 7am to 7pm. In other words, non-compliant vehicles can’t be driven through the zone without paying a daily charge. There are discounts and exemptions available.

    The ZEZ was agreed by residents and the local council to encourage motorists to adopt low- and zero-emission vehicles, reducing traffic and transport pollution, and improving health in the city centre.

    The Oxford ZEZ map

    The Oxford clean air zone currently extends across several 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

    The proposed second phase maps from near the train line to Great Mill Pond Mead, extending from Jericho to Lady Margaret Hall along the north border, and from St Ebbe’s by the River to the Cherwell river along the south border.

    The current and proposed extension of the Oxford ZEZ.
    Image source: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/oxford-zero-emission-zone-zez/view-map-zez

    This map area is subject to further consultation.

    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.

    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 for February 2022 until August 2025, after which it 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, its emissions, you have to pay a different charge. 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
    £2£4
    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
    Source: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/oxford-zero-emission-zone-zez/charges-oxfords-zez

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

    Yes, depending on your vehicle’s purpose. Naturally, zero-emission vehicles are 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

    You can apply for a ZEZ discount on the Oxfordshire County Council website

    Are motorcycles and mopeds affected?

    Yes, motorcycles and mopeds entering the Oxford clean air zone that are not zero emission must pay the charge. Before August 2025, this is £2 per day.

    How is the Oxford Zero Emission Zone marked and run?

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

    What times does the Oxford Low Emission Zone operate?

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

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

    Yes, there is a penalty charge of £60.

    Non-payment of the daily charge following entry into the zone will result in a penalty charge notice (PCN). Those issued a PCN will have 28 days from the date of service (two working days after the post date on the PCN) to make a formal challenge or pay the fine.

    If the fine is paid within 14 days of the date of service it is reduced by 50% to £30.

    The PCN number, registration number and a valid debit or credit card is needed to pay the penalty charge.

    For more information, or to pay a penalty charge visit the Oxfordshire County Council website

    Selling your car?

    Read about everything you need to know about how to sell your car with more guides here. There’s a lot to learn as Clean Air Zones and emissions standards in the UK change in the run-up to 2035.