In late January, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council announced an update to their Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) plans. The new city centre Zone will allow ultra-low emission cars that are capable of being zero emission while in the Zone. However, it will in effect not allow the same flexibility for vans or lorries, as equivalent vehicles cannot meet the car-based requirement.

FTA’s Environment Policy Manager Rebecca Kite commented: “There are an array of hybrid vans and lorries becoming available that will be zero emission capable while in this urban environment.

“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 defines ultra-low emission vehicles as any vehicle which emits less than 75g of CO2/km from the exhaust pipe and is capable of at least 10 miles of zero emission driving.

Ms 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 to vans.

“There needs to be a vehicle appropriate ULEV standard, which is agreed nationally before Local Authorities implement any ultra-low emission requirements.

“The Councils are planning to hold discussions with stakeholders on the new proposal; FTA will feedback its concerns in the hope they will plan to accept future definitions of ultra-low emission trucks and vans.”

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