Your guide to Clean Air Zones

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Your guide to Clean Air Zones

With the UK Government aiming to bring carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050, regions across the country are taking steps to reduce their emissions.

One of the ways they are doing this is by creating Clean Air Zones (CAZ), Zero Emission Zones (ZEZ) and Low Emission Zones (LEZ).

This guide will advise what these zones are, and how they may affect you.

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone, or CAZ for short, is a geographical area where action is being taken to reduce emissions.

Vehicles that do not meet emission standards have to pay a charge to drive in the area.

If the vehicle owner does not pay the charge, they will have to pay a fine.

Where are the Clean Air Zones in the UK?

There are currently two Clean Air Zones in the UK

  • Bath (Class C)
  • Birmingham (Class D).

Portsmouth will become a Clean Air Zone later in 2021.

Many more cities are considering bringing in Clean Air Zones in the next few years.

Find out more about the Bath Clean Air Zone

Find out more about the Birmingham Clean Air Zone

How much will I be charged for entering a Clean Air Zone?

It depends. Local authorities are responsible for setting their own charges.

Local authorities aren't allowed to make a profit from Clean Air Zones. Any money received is reinvested into improving transport options for the area.

Are there differences between the Clean Air Zones?

Yes. The local authority can decide on the specific rules a Clean Air Zone has, from the geographical boundaries to which vehicles are affected by the charges.

For example, there are four different types of Clean Air Zones. Class A is the least strict and Class D is the most strict.

Class type Vehicles that are affected
A Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
B Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles
C Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses
D Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars. The local authority can also include motorcycles.

What is the difference between a Clean Air Zone and a Low Emission Zone?

Low Emission Zone is another name for a Clean Air Zone. The two are often used interchangeably.

What is the difference between a Clean Air Zone and a Zero Emission Zone?

In a Clean Air Zone, vehicles that generate low emissions are exempt from charges. In a Zero Emission Zone, only vehicles that generate zero emissions (for example, electric vehicles), are exempt from charges.

How do I know if my vehicle is affected?

If you are planning a visit to a Clean Air Zone, you can find out if your vehicle is exempt on the GOV.UK website.

Can I get an exemption?

There are national and local exemptions in place for certain vehicles, such as ultra-low emission vehicles and vehicles for passengers with disabilities.

You can find out more about the specific exemptions by visiting the relevant local authority website.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. Central London has been operating as a ULEZ since 2019, and is the only one of its kind in the country.

London has some of the highest levels of pollution in the country, and the ULEZ has been introduce to improve air quality and encourage residents and businesses to move to more sustainable modes of transport.

The ULEZ in London will be expanding from 25 October 2021.

Find out more about the Ultra Low Emission Zone

Check if your vehicle is exempt from the ULEZ charge.

In conclusion

Clean Air Zones, Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones will change how people use transport in cities, with more people turning to sustainable options like public transport and electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are exempt from charges meaning that if you are looking to change your vehicle in the next few years, an EV could save you money.

There are grants available for purchasing electric vehicles. Local authorities with Clean Air Zones may also offer additional incentives for choosing cleaner vehicles.

Looking for a company to install an electric vehicle charger at your home or place of work? Hawkesworth is here to help.

Get in touch with our team today to find out more about installing an electric vehicle charging point.


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