Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) has begun today in Oxford in an effort to tackle toxic air pollution in the city.

Under the scheme, all petrol and diesel cars will have to pay a daily charge to enter certain pilot streets. Zero emission vehicles such as electric cars will be allowed to enter the pilot area free of charge.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed to enforce the zone.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council hope the results will help introduce a larger ZEZ covering most of the city centre next year.

Cllr Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel and development strategy at Oxfordshire County Council, said: 'The ZEZ pilot is a very important step towards our aim of moving towards a zero carbon transport system in the county. I want to thank all the residents and businesses who sent us their feedback and worked with us as we developed the pilot.

'Over the next year we will learn from this pilot and continue working with our communities before expanding the ZEZ. Poor air quality is a public health risk for everyone. The ZEZ will reduce toxic air pollution in our city and while making Oxford a safer, cleaner and better place for people who live and work here and for those who visit.'