Clean Air Zones

3 Minute Read
UK clean air zones sign

You’ve probably heard of the new CAZs (Clean Air Zones) now operating in a number of UK cities. You may even have to negotiate one.

If you’re not aware of them then chances are you soon will be.

Versions are already running in Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield, York, Newcastle/Tyneside, and Oxford. London operates its own ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone) scheduled to be extended across the city in 2023.

Why Clean Air Zones?

Clean Air Zones exist to do three things:
  • Accelerate the transition to low or zero emissions vehicles. With the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars banned from 2030 and new hybrid cars from 2035, expect to see more CAZs in the near future.
  • Encourage people to take public transport, share vehicles, walk and cycle
  • Cut congestion and reduce pollution


Environmentally? CAZs are a great idea – who doesn’t want to live in a cleaner, kinder environment with fewer harmful emissions?

Economically? If you regularly drive a non-exempt petrol or diesel vehicle you could very well find yourself racking up significant costs.

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A national and local government initiative designed to improve air quality by ensuring only the cleanest vehicles will be allowed to operate within any CAZ boundary free of charge.

Some high-emission vehicles may be banned from them altogether.

  • If you drive a vehicle that fails to meet specified emissions standards you will be charged to travel within the CAZ boundaries. The amount is set locally and is dependent on how your vehicle is rated.
  • CAZs run 24/7, 365 days a year and are enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
  • Some vehicles are discounted and others are exempt. To learn more check the local authority website.


Want to know whether you’ll be charged to drive in a CAZ?

Simply enter the number plate of your vehicle into the Government CAZ checking tool.

The Four Types of Clean Air Zone

CAZs are divided into four Classes:
  • Class A: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
  • Class B: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles
  • Class C: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses
  • Class D: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars and the option to include motorcycles


The minimum compliance standard for each type of vehicle is listed below:
  • Euro VI  Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles
  • Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol) – Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, cars 
  • Euro 3 – Motorcycles

If you’re unsure whether your vehicle complies with Euro emissions standards, then consider its age. If it was made after 2014 (2016 for vans) then you should be ok to drive for free in a CAZ.

Clean Air Zone Charges

Costs vary depending on location.

For example, the ULEZ is a Class D CAZ. Anyone driving/riding non-compliant motorcycles, mopeds, cars, vans, and minibuses will be charged £12.50 a day, except Christmas Day.

Bristol, also a Class D CAZ, charges non-compliant cars, taxis, and vans £9 per day. Trucks, buses, and coaches must pay £100.

Class D Birmingham with its 24/7, 365 policy charges £8 for non-compliant cars, vans and taxis. Non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches must pay £50 per day.

Oxford’s 7am and 7pm Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) is free for electric vehicles, while hybrid drivers must pay £2 per day. Petrol and diesel drivers are charged £10 a day.

Remember – if you need to know how much you’ll be charged to drive in a CAZ you can use the Government CAZ checking tool to find out. You can even make payment if necessary

Driving in London? Then use the The Transport for London portal.

How to Avoid CAZ charges

The easy way to sidestep the costs of CAZ is to drive an electric or hybrid vehicle.

And while that’s much easier said than done – there’s never been a better time to do it.

Of course, you’ll have a thousand and one things to consider before you switch. The right type of vehicle for the job, the upfront, running and repair costs, insurance, waiting times and whether to buy or to lease.

But with the world transitioning to EVs, the competitive advantages, the convenience and the ability to display your green credentials all make a compelling case for change.

The most important thing to do if you are considering going electric is to make sure you get the right advice. Advice from somebody already experienced in helping charities like yours make that transition.

At Charity Fleetcare we specialise in helping all sorts of charities make the most of their vehicles. We share advice on models, leasing terms, driver certification and not least integrated Connected Van technology to make driving safer and save our clients serious amounts of money on fuel, repairs and insurance premiums.

Talk to us today – Arrange a callback

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