Oxford Zero Emission Zone postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak


Plans to introduce a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Tim Wallace.

The new scheme was due to begin in December 2020 but Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council said local businesses and residents needed to concentrate on managing the impact of the coronavirus.

They also admitted they would be unable to devote enough time to the scheme at the present time.

The ZEZ covers a section of Oxford city centre and will see all non-compliant vehicles face a £10 charge to enter the zone between 7am and 7pm. This figure will rise to £20 from August 2025.

Exemptions have been granted for businesses registered in the zone until July 2025, followed by a discount until July 2030.

Residents living inside the zone will be able to apply for a 90% discount until July 2030.

"We are all living through an unprecedented crisis," said councillor Tom Hayes, cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council.

"We have to get our priorities right at this time, and that means focusing on the immediate concerns of businesses who are key to the success of the Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford.

"We can’t expect businesses who are facing coronavirus challenges right now and potentially for months ahead to prioritise helping to shape the policy or focusing on the logistical planning required for these schemes.

"I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our consultations over the past few months and spent many hours shaping the future of our city.

"I know many people will share our deep disappointment. I am very hopeful that we will resume the timeline for the Oxford Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford. I hope everyone stays safe during this time and we wish our businesses and citizens well."

Farrall's buys 20 Freespan trailers from SDC

Chester-based Farrall’s Group has purchased 20 new Freespan curtainsided trailers from SDC to boost its nationwide delivery service.

The ten 4.2m high and ten 4.5m high curtainsiders, built to the EN 12642 XL standard, incorporate a GRP dome to the front and vortex generator at the rear for enhanced aerodynamics, as well as an easy-access sliding coupling box, low maintenance drum brakes, full LED lighting and full height rear doors. They also feature SDC’s low-friction Easy Roll curtain rail technology.

Farrall’s MD Matthew Farrall said: “A few months back, one of our main customers stipulated that they require a Freespan trailer for their deliveries, and when we reviewed our options, SDC’s Freespan offered significant time savings. The new trailers reduce the potential for damaged stock and offer improved safety, which allows us to minimise vehicle downtime.”

The trailers, which joined Farrall’s fleet of 55 vehicles in February, were manufactured at SDC’s Toomebridge facility in Northern Ireland and finished at its Mansfield production facility in Nottinghamshire.