Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have firmed up plans for the zero emission zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre.
From 2020, only vehicles capable of zero emissions will be allowed to park or load in the central ‘red’ zone. Further restrictions are being planned for the larger ‘green’ zone from 2022. By 2035, all non-zero emissions capable vehicles may be banned from the green zone.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is concerned that the new city centre zone will allow in hybrid cars that are capable of being zero emission while in the zone, but would not allow the same flexibility for vans or lorries, as equivalent vehicles cannot meet the car-based requirement.
“There are an array of hybrid vans and lorries becoming available that will be zero emission-capable while in this urban environment,” said Rebecca Kite, FTA’s environment policy manager.
“These vehicles would also form a bridging technology to encourage the use of battery technology in heavier vehicles, paving the way for full electrification. Vans are over twice as heavy as cars, and mid-sized lorries are 20 times heavier. One car usually carries just one person; a van can carry a tonne of goods and a medium sized HGV can carry 10 tonnes.
“They cannot be judged in the same way. Fully electric lorries are many years away; excluding zero emission capable vehicles will be missing a massive opportunity for local pollutant and greenhouse gas emission reduction.”
The proposal would admit vehicles which emit less than 75g of CO2/km from the tailpipe and are capable of at least 10 miles of zero emission driving.
Kite continued: “This is not Oxford’s fault; currently the car definition is the only definition available to them of an ultra-low emission vehicle. The Department for Transport is currently developing a standard for ultra-low emission trucks, but the same work is required on vans.
“There needs to be a vehicle-appropriate ULEV (ultra-low emission vehicle) standard, which is agreed nationally before local authorities implement any ultra-low emission requirements.”