Small businesses in Oxford have described plans to extend the Zero Emission Zone to most of the city centre as 'another stress'. 

After surviving multiple lockdowns due to Covid, many small businesses across the country are just finding their feet again. 

Those in Oxford will not only have to contend with a cost of living crisis but also extra charges from a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) that, if the current trial consultation period is successful, will extend to the entire city centre in 2023.

Cars that release emissions will have to pay £10 a day for using roads in the ZEZ

According to the council, there will be a discount for businesses operating in the ZEZ Pilot zone until 2025.

Deliveries in non-zero emission vehicles are also free of charge before 7am and after 7pm.

READ MORE: POLL: Do you think Oxford's zero emission zone is a good idea?

"I already don’t sleep at night" - Charlotte Martell, Owner of The Crafter's Emporium

Oxford Mail:

The Owner of Crafter Emporium on High Street has said that her biggest concern is getting deliveries to the shop. 

The 22-year-old said: "I get that it is a process but they have to think about local businesses down the High Street. It makes it hard to get deliveries and will really add to the costs.

"We have different vehicles delivering to us, not just one. But also what about customers collecting? It is too heavy to walk over a chest of drawers for example from Westgate car park, we would not be able to carry it.

"It would just be another stress, and there’s already a lot as the costs of everything is increasing. I already don’t sleep at night."

READ MORE: £500k grant to support Oxford in becoming a zero emission city

'I think it is a con' - Colin Bennett, a worker at David John Butchers

Oxford Mail: Colin Bennett, 52, who works at David John Butchers.Colin Bennett, 52, who works at David John Butchers.

A worker at family-run business David John Pies in The Covered Market said that 'shoppers will just go elsewhere'. 

He said: "I think it is a con. It’s making it harder and harder for us retailers. Lots of businesses have gone under due to Covid. What are they trying to do?

“I think they should scrap it. Car parking prices are already up. Soon people will go to Witney, Abingdon or Didcot. They'll avoid Oxford.”

"I understand the motivation behind it" - Graham McDonald, owner of IScream

Oxford Mail: Owner of IScream, Graham McDonaldOwner of IScream, Graham McDonald

The co-owner of the ice cream shop IScream, Graham McDonald, has said that he feels positive about the scheme but 'workable options' need to be given to small businesses. 

The independent business uses an electric car for its deliveries so will still be able to drive in the ZEZ.

He said: "When a new scheme comes in anywhere it is going to cause a lot of confusion but I understand the motivation behind it. The difficulty with trying to run a business in the city centre is trying to get goods in and out.

"We all want the ideal world scenario with less traffic but we need it to be liveable too. We want the public to come and shop here."

READ MORE: We asked small businesses about the impacts of the cost of living crisis

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