Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have updated the city’s Zero Emission Zone plans so that only ultra-low emission cars that are capable of being zero emission can enter the city centre Zone – but would in effect excludes vans and lorries as they cannot meet the car-based requirement.
The proposal defines ultra-low emission vehicles as any vehicle which emits less than 75g of CO2/km from the tailpipe and is capable of at least 10 miles of zero emission driving.
“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,” pointed out Freight Transport Association environment policy officer Rebecca Kite. “They cannot be judged in the same way”.
Kite explained that “there are an array of hybrid vans and lorries becoming available that will be zero emission capable while in this urban environment,” but “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.”
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. There needs to be a vehicle appropriate ULEV standard, which is agreed nationally before Local Authorities implement any ultra-low emission requirements.”