New Clean Air Zones in the UK
Stay up to speed with where you’ll find Clean Air Zones across the country
Inspired by London's ULEZ-based Clean Air Zone, other densely populated cities outside of the capital are also introducing Clean Air Zones of their own.
From Portsmouth to Birmingham, we explain where the current Clean Air Zones are already in place, as well as plans for future cities which will implement their own Clean Air Zones later into 2022…
What is a Clean Air Zone?
A Clean Air Zone (also referred to as CAZ) is implemented to improve air quality in a designated area. The very first form of Clean Air Zone in the UK was introduced to central London in April 2019, known as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The scheme has proved so successful in reducing the amount of air pollution levels, that Clean Air Zones have been rolled out in other major cities across the UK, where vehicle-caused pollution is a big problem. The idea behind the scheme is to tackle harmful levels of air pollution, mostly caused by taxis, vans, buses, and larger commercial vehicles.
If you drive into or through a Clean Air Zone in a vehicle which exceeds emission standards, you will have to pay a charge - similar to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Congestion Zones in London. In some cases, your vehicle may not even be permitted to enter a designated Clean Air Zone.
Typically, CAZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is enforced using ANPR technology (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) in order to record the registration plate of all vehicles travelling within or through city Clean Air Zones.
Types of Clean Air Zones
The Clean Air Zones have been broken down into four different categories, in order to determine what type of vehicles are affected in any given area. They are:
Buses, coaches, taxis, and private hire vehicles
Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, and heavy goods vehicles
Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, and minibuses
Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, plus the option to include motorcycles
All motorists are made aware when they are about to enter a Clean Air Zone and its dedicated Class, through clearly designated signposts.
Current UK Clean Air Zones
Discover the selection of cities that already have a Clean Air Zone in place:
The city of Bath in Somerset has had a Class C Clean Air Zone in place since the 15th March 2021. Bath’s dedicated CAZ will help the city meet UK air quality legislation as prior to the scheme, several places in the area exceeded legal limits of nitrogen dioxide emissions, mainly caused by visiting vehicles.
Bath’s Clean Air Zone covers the city centre, as outlined within the map below. If you’re visiting Bath & North East Somerset, you can check to see if your destination is inside the zone by using the Postcode Checker via the official Bath & North East Somerset Council website.
Non-compliant vehicles will be charged between £9 to £100 a day for driving a higher emission vehicle into the Bath Clean Air Zone.
The city of Birmingham in the West Midlands has had a Class D Clean Air Zone in place since the 1st June 2021. Birmingham is on a journey to cleaner air, to help better the health of people living, working and studying in the city.
Its dedicated CAZ covers all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the actual Middleway itself, as identified within the map below. If you’re visiting the Birmingham area, you can check to see if your destination is inside the zone by searching the address through the official Birmingham City Council website.
The cost to enter the Birmingham Clean Air Zone is £8 per day for cars, taxis and LGVs, or £50 a day for coaches, buses and HGVs.
The city of Portsmouth in Hampshire has had a Class B Clean Air Zone in place since the 29th November 2021. Due to rising levels of pollutants, the scheme was implemented across the densely populated city.
Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone is located to the South West of Portsmouth and is approximately 3km squared in distance across the city, as identified within the map below. If you’re visiting the Portsmouth area, you can check to see if your destination is inside the zone by zooming in on the map via the official Cleaner Air Portsmouth website.
The cost to enter the Portsmouth Clean Air Zone is £10 per day for non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles, or £50 per day for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches.
Future UK Clean Air Zones
To further protect major cities around the UK, Clean Air Zones will be rolled out in other areas of the country during 2022. These include:
The city of Bradford in West Yorkshire will introduce a Class C Clean Air Zone in Spring 2022. The zone will cover the area inside of Bradford, including the city’s outer ring road. It will not affect passenger cars and motorcycles, nor taxis or private hire vehicles. Keep an eye on the official Bradford Council website for more information.
The city of Bristol in South West England will introduce a Class D Clean Air Zone in Summer 2022. The main routes into the city, such as Cumberland Basin and Portway, will be included in the dedicated zone. Keep an eye on the official Bristol City Council website for more information.
Subject to further consultation, Greater Manchester will be launching a Clean Air Zone in July 2022 to help create a greener and cleaner city for everyone to enjoy. Further details are yet to be issued, so be sure to keep an eye on the official Clean Air Greater Manchester website for all the latest updates.
Clean Air Zone Charges
If you’re travelling into a Clean Air Zone, you can check beforehand to see if you’ll need to pay a charge. Each city has its own Clean Air Zone charges, which you can check via official council websites ahead of travel into a zoned area.
A non-compliant vehicle driving within a dedicated Clean Air Zone will pay once for the day, then is permitted to drive in the area without limit during the day itself.
Do you know if your vehicle is Clean Air Zone compliant? Check to find out if you need to pay to enter a Clean Air Zone by entering your registration plate details using the official Government website vehicle checker.
Switch to a Clean Air Zone Compliant Car
Here at Wilsons Epsom, we can help you find a greener car to suit you and your needs. We’re accelerating the change to low and zero emission vehicles, such as hybrid and electric cars, which have risen dramatically in their popularity.
Make sure you are Clean Air Zone compliant by visiting our state-of-the-art multi-showroom dealership in Epsom, Surrey. You’ll discover the latest new and nearly new electric cars from big EV brands such as Peugeot, Renault, MG, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Tesla.
Why not explore our electric offering online to see what we have in store. Our experts are on-hand to help every step of the way, so get started by booking your EV test drive today!