Oxford Zero Emission Zone a tax on vital commercial vehicles

Tuesday 07 January 2020

Plans for a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford, published today (7 January 2020), are effectively a tax on trucks and vans in areas of the city, according to FTA. The business organisation, which speaks on behalf of the logistics sector, is calling for Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to reconsider their strategy until zero-emission commercial vehicles become a viable alternative for local businesses.

Rebecca Kite, Environment Policy Manager at FTA, comments: “As the voice of the UK logistics sector, FTA is calling for Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to reconsider their plans to restrict non-zero emission commercial vehicles operating within areas of the city. It is simply too soon to implement such a punitive scheme; there are currently no zero-emission trucks on the market, and very limited options for vans. And without a workable definition for an Ultra Low Emission Truck – something FTA is working with the government to develop – the scheme is effectively a tax on essential freight vehicles.

“Businesses within the logistics sector are determined to play their part in improving air quality; a recent study by FTA showed they are investing heavily in alternatively-fuelled vehicles. But until the market for zero-emission trucks and vans has fully developed – and they become a viable option for business of all sizes – FTA is strongly advising the councils to delay including commercial vehicles in the ZEZ. The government and local councils should instead, in the view of FTA, focus on supporting and developing the alternatively-fuelled vehicle market.”

Ms Kite continues: “The local economy cannot survive without products and services, all of which are delivered to the area by goods vehicles such as vans and HGVs. As it stands, the ZEZ is simply a tax on the companies working hard to deliver the goods and services needed by the residents and businesses of Oxford.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.