OXFORD's Zero Emissions Zone rollout will be postponed until next summer because of the coronavirus crisis.

The first part of the scheme to stop fossil fuel burning vehicles entering the city  centre was due to be in place by the end of the year.

But due to the economic crisis caused by coronavirus social distancing measures, the scheme will be postponed, with the hope it will be in place by summer 2021.

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The scheme is a joint effort between Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council.

The two councils have issued a statement saying they 'are committed to taking climate action to address the need to reduce emissions'.

They added that the 'detailed logistical planning' needed from businesses for the ZEZ should not be expected in the current period of uncertainty.

The first area set to be covered by the ZEZ was the 'red zone' which included Cornmarket Street, Queen Street and several surrounding side streets.

Oxford Mail:

The propozed red zone.

A larger green zone was set to be rolled out next year, but a public consultation on the red zone will be paused until later in the year.

As a result of this, all parts of the scheme are likely to be postponed.

The news comes as £150,000 of funding has been secured from Defra to buy automatic number plate recognition technology which will be used to catch drivers disobeying the rules of the Oxford ZEZ. 

Meanwhile, plans for a scheme called Connecting Oxford, which is aimed at stopping traffic congestion in the city, are continuing.

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A statement from the two councils said the next stage of this plan would be creating a detailed business case for how it would work.

But a series of face to face meetings to take into account people's opinions of Connecting Oxford might now be postponed.

Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council's cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, said: "We are all living through an unprecedented crisis. We have to get our priorities right at this time.

He added: "We can’t expect businesses who are facing Coronavirus challenges right now and potentially for months ahead to prioritise helping to shape the policy or focusing on the logistical planning required for these schemes."