PLEASE NOTE: The introduction of some clean air zones (CAZs) are being delayed until the Government overcomes the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is a Clean Air Zone?
A clean air zone (CAZ) defines an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality and resources are prioritised and co-ordinated to deliver improved health benefits and support economic growth.
CAZs aim to address all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, and reduce public exposure to them using a range of measures tailored to the particular location.
It can be confined to a single road or a part of a city (for which areas of the UK are considering or decided to introduce a CAZ see the interactive map below).
This can include an area in which vehicles can be charged or fined for entering.
> UK Clean Air Zone plans interactive map
> Will you be charged to enter a Clean Air Zone? Look-up tool
Why is the Government introducing Clean Air Zones?
The Government has a long term strategy to improve air quality across the country by discouraging the use of older, more polluting, vehicles and has a short term goal to reduce the number of areas in the UK where air pollution breaches legal limits.
The Government expects CAZs to facilitate low emission take-up, involve councils and contractors displaying leadership in vehicle procurement, improve local emission standards for taxis, buses and private hire vehicles, and support healthy active travel by cycle and walking.
Its Clean Air Strategy identified a CAZ where drivers were charged if their vehicles did not meet stipulated environmental standards as the most effective way of improving air quality in as short a time as possible.
How will Clean Air Zones be introduced?
Local authorities are responsible for the implementation of clean air zones.
Each Council was asked to create an Air Quality Improvement Plan and submit it to Government by March 2018.
Once approved, the local authority can receive funding to help set up the zone.
What vehicles will be affected by the Clean Air Zones?
Local authorities can decide what level of restriction to apply.
There are four classes of Clean Air Zone:
1. Class A - Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
2. Class B - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
3. Class C - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
4. Class D - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars
Buses, coaches and HGVs that meet Euro VI emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.
Cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.
Ultra-low emission vehicles with a significant zero-emission range must be exempt from and charges or restrictions.
How much will it cost to enter a Clean Air Zone?
Charging is not compulsory. Local authorities will only be able to set charges at levels designed to reduce pollution, not to raise additional revenue beyond recovering the costs of the scheme.
Will I be charged to enter a CAZ?
The Government provides a tool for drivers to check. You'll need the registration number of the vehicle in question.
Zoom in and click on the area you're interested in to see details on clean air zone proposals
Clean Air Zone expected or being planned
Area required by government to produce a CAZ plan
CAZ not expected or opposed by local authority
What cities are introducing a CAZ?
Basildon | Bath | Birmingham | Bradford | Bristol | Cambridge | Canterbury | Coventry | Derby | Exeter | Leeds | Leicester | Liverpool | London | Manchester | Newcastle | Nottingham | Oxford | Portsmouth | Sefton | Sheffield Southampton | St Albans | Warrington | Wokingham | York
Scotland | Wales
Bath's CAZ is live.
Non-compliant vans, taxis and minibuses will be charged £9, while non-compliant trucks and lorries, and coaches and buses face a daily charge of £100. Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged.
Birmingham's CAZ is live.
Birmingham’s Class D CAZ applies to all vehicles that do not meet the minimum emissions standards of Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol.
Restrictions apply to all roads within Birmingham’s A4540 Middleway Ring Road, except the ring road itself. The CAZ is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays.
Cars, vans and taxis will face an £8 charge, while HGVs, buses and coaches will have to pay £50 per day.
CAZ to be launched in June 2022.
Bristol City Council is awaiting Government approval for a small Class D CAZ in its city centre.
The proposed CAZ will see all non-compliant vehicles charged if they enter the area. Private cars, taxis and vans will be charged £9 per day and buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £100 per day.
Bristol City Council said it will allow drivers of older vehicles to apply for a one-year exemption from the charge.
ULEZ expansion from October 25, 2021.
The existing central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205) on October 25. The North and South Circular Roads themselves are not included in the zone.
The area covered by the ULEZ is the same area as the Congestion Charging Zone, both charges will apply to non-exempt vehicles.
The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and public holidays.
The ULEZ standards are:
- Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
- Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
- Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
- Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles
Charges: £12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles; £100 for buses, lorries and coaches.
Residents within the zone have 100% ULEZ exemption and will continue to receive 90% discount on vehicles that do not meet T-charge emission standards until 24th October 2021, after which they will pay the full ULEZ charge. Cars and vehicles registered with ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax classes 100% exempt until 26th October 2025.
CAZ expected in May 30, 2022.
Transport for Greater Manchester is planning to introduce a CAZ for private-hire vehicles, vans, buses and HGVs.
It will cover local roads across the whole of Greater Manchester and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cars (excluding taxis) will be exempt from any restrictions.
Other measures include a workplace parking levy, incentives to help uptake of electric vehicles in the city and converting public transport and local authority fleets to be low emissions.
Manchester has also called for a scrappage scheme to help incentivise drivers of older diesel vehicles to switch to an ultra-low emissions models.
What cities are planning a CAZ?
CAZ expected in 2022.
Bradford City Council is planning to introduce a Class C CAZ that covers the majority of Bradford and Shipley.
Non-compliant vehicles will face daily charges of up to £50.
The implementation is dependent on a £60m Government grant.
CAZ plans have been scrapped. Defra has confirmed that no CAZ is now required to meet air pollution targets after major improvements to air quality in the city.
CAZ expected in summer 2022.
Final proposals are in place for a CAZ in Newcastle city centre, affecting buses, coaches and lorries, plus vans and taxis.Private cars will not be affected.
The introduction was planned for January 2021, but has been delayed, in part, due to a legal dispute over the supply of ANPR cameras for the scheme.
Non-compliant HGV’s, buses & coaches to be charged £50; taxis & vans £12.50.
Alongside the fees, the council also plans to reduce traffic flow on the Tyne bridge to one lane in each direction.
CAZ launched in November 2021.
The Government approved Portsmouth’s proposals for a Class B CAZ in March 2020 and the City submitted its final plan to Government in December 2020.
The Portsmouth CAZ is a class B, meaning that ‘non-compliant’ vehicles will be issued a daily charge to drive in the zone.
For the Portsmouth CAZ ‘non-compliant’ vehicles are buses, coaches, taxi, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet euro 6 standards if diesel, or euro 4 standard if petrol.
Non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged £10 per day to drive through the zone, and non-compliant buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles will pay £50 per day.
There are some specific vehicle exemptions, including for emergency service and military vehicles.
CAZ to launch late 2022.
Sheffield plans to implement a Class C CAZ in 2022, affecting a zone on the inner ring road surrounding the city centre.
Proposed charges are £50 a day for buses, coaches and HGVs, £10 a day for taxis and private hire vehicles and £10 a day for vans and light goods vehicles above 3.5 tonnes.
Sheffield Council is seeking £40 million in Government funding to support affected businesses and taxis to help upgrade their vehicles.
Clean Air Zone proposals by city
Basildon and Rochford Councils have been told by the Government that they must consider a CAZ to address two areas of illegal pollution by 2020.
The councils are fighting the order which, if implemented, could impose restrictions on the A127.
The council is proposing a new cycle route and £470,000 of investment for rapid charging points as an alternative to a CAZ.
CAZ under consideration.
Cambridge City Council is currently evaluating a Clean Air Zone within the existing Air Quality Management Area in Cambridge, which includes the trafficked parts of the historic core and the inner ring road.
It has not made a decision on whether the zone will be chargeable or which types of vehicle it will seek to restrict.
The council will also look to reduce HGV emissions in the city centre by promoting greener methods for making deliveries of goods, such as by cycle.
Other proposed policies include incentives for electric or hybrid taxis and reducing bus and coach emissions by working with partners to invest in more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
CAZ not expected.
Canterbury City Council is planning to reduce emissions by adopting strict anti-idling enforcement which would be encouraged at coach parks, on-street parking bays, taxi ranks and at level crossings.
The council will also explore the use of its fee structure to encourage taxi drivers and bus companies to use low-emission vehicles.
Council officers will seek to work with freight companies to encourage them to use the right routes around the city and promote better driving.
The Government has accepted local proposals to reduce pollution in Coventry in lieu of a CAZ.
Coventry has been awarded grant funding of £24.5m to implement the schemes.
Derby has rejected plans to introduce a CAZ and will instead focus on traffic management measures to address air quality issues without any charges for road users.
The current plan is to introduce a traffic management/signal scheme to help reduce traffic flows through Stafford Street near the city centre to help address the air quality issues that have been identified in that location.
This will involve limiting the traffic in Stafford Street and redistribute it to others parts of the highway network.
In addition there will be a need to implement a new urban traffic management and control system across a wider area of the city, which will optimise traffic flow on adjacent routes.
Exeter City Council does not intend to introduce a CAZ or apply access restrictions or limits to the age and type of vehicles which can enter certain areas of the city.
In its Air Quality Action Plan the council says that it aims to discourage private car use and increase use of public transport, cycling and walking.
The Plan concentrates on improving air quality in the Air Quality Management Area, particularly in Heavitree where the highest levels of pollution are measured.
CAZ no longer required (originally due to be introduced in January 2020).
The zone covered all roads within the boundary of the A61 and A63, near Leeds city centre, however, the council found that more than 90% of buses and 80% of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) driven in the city now use cleaner Euro VI engines and therefore wouldn’t be charged if a zone was introduced.
Nearly half of the city’s licensed taxi and private hire cars are also now hybrid or electric.
The review found that, because of the dramatic shift to cleaner vehicles, air pollution in Leeds on key routes is below legal limits and is not likely to exceed them again—even if traffic were to return to ‘normal’ levels or slightly higher.
The council has written to the Government requesting to keep £6.9 million of CAZ funding that Leeds had previously secured to ‘lock in’ the full extent of air quality improvements.
The money would be used to continue offering grants to help local businesses switch to cleaner vehicles as well as to provide free licensing costs to drivers of less polluting taxi and private hire cars.
Leeds will also be able to keep and repurpose the ANPR camera infrastructure that had been installed to monitor and enforce the zone.
In the unlikely event that air quality declined for any reason, the council retains this infrastructure and says it could seek support from central Government to introduce a CAZ.
CAZ 'highly likely' but no dates yet..
Liverpool City Council is currently assessing the viability of a chargeable Clean Air Zone but has not outlined any formal details.
Liverpool’s Mayor has previously suggested a blanket ban on all diesel vehicles entering the city.
The council has already proposed to enforce anti-idling fixed penalty notices using local authority officers. Liverpool City Council is also switching its city centre fleet to be diesel free from 2020, followed by council vehicles used across the wider city from 2024.
CAZ not required.
Nottingham City Council has cancelled its plans to introduce a clean air zone (CAZ).
The Government approved the city’s plan to tackle air pollution without a CAZ after modelling showed it could reduce air pollution to below the legal limit within two years.
Nottingham’s plan will see the council improving air quality by:
- Retrofitting 180 buses with technology to reduce emissions, funded through the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.
- Changing the age and emissions policy for hackney carriages and supporting an increase in low emission taxis. £1m from government will be used to provide a licensing discount for drivers, a taxi rank with charging points, fund home chargers and expand the council’s ‘try before you buy’ scheme, which started this week.
- In addition, Nottingham City Council has received funding from the Government to support the conversion of its own fleet, including replacing heavy, high polluting vehicles such as bin lorries with electric vehicles.
Zero Emissions Zone planned for February 2022.
Oxford is set to become the first city to introduce a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), charging all petrol and diesel powered vehicles that enter its city centre.
The new proposals outline a red zone, which covers a small area of the city centre and will start from February 2022.
It also outlines a green zone covering the rest of the city centre later in the year, which would offer discounted charges for vehicles which comply with the London Ultra Low Emission Zone standards.
The red zone will be enforced between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone.
In 2022, the councils are considering an expansion to the ZEZ to cover the remainder of the city centre – also known as the green zone. This zone will charge a discounted rate for ULEZ exempt vehicles.
Read more about Oxford’s plans.
Non-charging CAZ in operation.
Southampton introduced a Clean Air Zone on a non-charging basis in 2017.
The local authority decided against introducing a vehicle charge following a consultation and, instead, will use other measures to achieve emissions compliance.
These measures include:
Port measures: Including shore side power and preferential charging of the port HGV booking scheme
HGVs: Offering opportunities for businesses to assess and trial freight consolidation, thereby removing HGV trips in the city, and an accreditation scheme for HGV operators so businesses can identify those operators that are least polluting
Buses: Introduction of a traffic regulation condition that will ensure all operating buses meet the highest emission standard
Taxis: Revising taxi licensing conditions to remove the most polluting vehicles, expanding the existing low emission taxi scheme to support more operators, and offering a ‘try before you buy scheme’ for operators to experience the benefits of an electric taxi for up to three months.
CAZ under consideration
Sefton Council commissioned an independent report into the impact of a potential CAZ which concluded a charging CAZ is needed.
Plans are ongoing but buses, lorries and taxis are to potentially be targeted. Exact charges TBC. Private vehicles set to be exempt.
CAZ under consideration.
St Albans City & District Council is considering plans to set up Clean Air Zones in areas where the air quality is poor, or vulnerable people are concentrated.
The scheme is likely to concentrate on fining drivers for excessive idling.
CAZ under consideration.
Warrington Borough Council will examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of introducing a Clean Air Zone.
It has already adopted its five-year plan to tackle pollution, which includes measures such as increasing the use of electric vehicles and establishing new cycling and walking links.
Low Emission Zone under consideration.
Wokingham Borough Council has published its Air Quality Action Plan, which highlights two locations where emissions levels need to be reduced - Wokingham town centre and Twyford Crossroads.
The plan outlines the potential for a Low Emission Zone within the borough, although the Council has not stipulated how this will operate.
CAZ launched in January 2021.
York City Council implemented a Clean Air Zone for buses, targeting an area within York’s inner ring road and city centre.
It will limit the frequency that buses can enter the zone, based on the emissions performance of the bus.
York is also looking to convert 17% of taxis to electric hybrids. There will also be a new taxi licencing policy in place to specify minimum emissions standards.
Local authorities required by government to produce a local action plan:
- Bolton Borough Council
- Bury Borough Council
- Fareham Borough Council
- Gateshead Borough Council
- Guildford Borough Council
- Middlesbrough Borough Council
- North Tyneside Council
- Rochford Borough Council
- Rotherham Borough Council
- Rushmoor Borough Council
- Salford Borough Council
- Stockport Borough Council
- Surrey Heath Borough Council
- Tameside Borough Council
- Trafford Borough Council
The Scottish Government plans to have four Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in operation by 2022, with the first already up and running in Glasgow.
Alongside Glasgow, LEZs are also expected to be introduced in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.
Glasgow’s LEZ currently targets buses, but will be extended to cover all vehicle types by 2022.
It will ban non-compliant vehicles from entering the city centre. Penalty charges will apply to those that contravene the restrictions.
Edinburgh are currently working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to test LEZ options, with others in Aberdeen and Dundee due by the end of 2020.
It’s also expected that Air Quality Management Areas will be established in other Scottish cities and towns by 2023 and they will use LEZs to reduce pollution.
The Welsh Government is seeking views on its Clean Air Zone proposals, which include charging the most polluting vehicles for entering certain parts of its cities.
Cardiff has ruled out a CAZ but is instead looking to introduce a £2 congestion charge for non-residents by 2024 as part of its new ‘transport vision’.
Road user charging isn't the only option available to raise money and the council said it will be looking at other options in a business case it plans to undertake over the next year.
Caerphilly is looking to introduce a Clean Air Zone on the A472 at Hafodrynys Hill and a total ban on HGVs at peak times in the area.
The Welsh Government has said it will encourage local authorities to introduce clean air zones, where evidence suggests they are needed to reduce harmful emissions
Temporary speed limits (50mph) have also been introduced to reduce emissions at five locations:
- A494 at Deeside
- A483 at Wrexham
- M4 between Junctions 41 & 42 (Port Talbot)
- M4 between junctions 25 & 26 (Newport)
- A470 between Upper Boat & Pontypridd
Cardiff Council has already agreed to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a CAZ is needed in the city.
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