Ah, Oxford, the iconic seat of learning. Home to the dreaming spires and the highest standards of academic achievement. When one thinks about this place, it conjures images of historic buildings like the Bodleian Library or the Radcliffe camera. It’s famed for its elite university colleges and the cheery undergraduates milling around on bikes the world at their feet.
One image that probably doesn’t spring forth is a forest of cameras installed to impose charges on trucks entering the city as part of the proposed zero-emission zone. Nevertheless, Oxford’s plans are the latest of a series of CAZs that are due to be installed in towns and cities throughout the UK.
A Degree Of Cynicism
The RHA has been quick to criticise the Oxford zero-emission zone. They see the scheme as profoundly unfair and a cynical move by Oxford City Council to bolster public funds. Central to the RHA’s arguments is that the central ‘red zone’ will bring additional costs to city centre small businesses whose delivery trucks cannot meet the stringent emissions standard that the Oxford zero-emission zone proposes.
The Oxford CAZ will operate daily from 7 am–7 pm and will charge a
£10 per day levy on trucks that are not a complaint. There are
additional plans to expand the Oxford zero-emission area by
implementing a ‘green zone’ that will cover the whole of the city
Public consultation opened on 31st January leading to formal consultation in March. Once complete it’s likely a formal request for government funding will follow in a similar way to the approach taken by Greater Manchester.
No Truck With The Changes
The scheme is controversial in several aspects. Issues such as the exemption of city centre-based business are perceived as ‘discriminatory’. There’s also the extreme nature of the Oxford CAZ that means even the cleanest Euro VI category trucks will be subject to the charge. Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive comments on the economic impacts that may ensue:
“If council chiefs are serious about slashing emissions, they need to focus on improving road infrastructure. Current plans mean that consumers will face higher prices in the shops as hard-pressed firms have no choice but to pass on the extra costs.
“These are poorly conceived ideas which will leave Oxford’s communities footing the bill with price hikes in the high street if they go ahead.”
Learning The Lessons
There are hard lessons ahead. As CAZ schemes like the Oxford zero-emission zone start to emerge throughout the country, the challenges for SMEs and delivery firms will become increasingly insurmountable.
Part of the solution for delivery firms will be to plan for the changes and adapt accordingly. Investments in new technology like Truckcraft’s solar assisted delivery trucks could have a big part to play in this period of transition, as they provide a money-saving, CAZ-friendly option to hard-pressed delivery firms.
Our team have taken a good hard look at the future of the delivery sector, and we continue to monitor moves like the Oxford CAZ. Using this information, we’ll continue to innovate and develop products that meet these challenges head-on.
That way you’ll know your investment in a Truckcraft vehicle will be one that’ll set you fair for whatever you encounter on the road ahead.
For more information on our CAZ-friendly delivery trucks and vans, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: Feb 06