Guidance

Clean Air Zones

Where you’ll find Clean Air Zones, how to check if you'll need to pay a charge and create a business account, and what support or exemptions are available.

Applies to England

To improve air quality, some local authorities are introducing Clean Air Zones. If your vehicle exceeds emission standards, you may have to pay a charge if you drive in a Clean Air Zone.

Cities with Clean Air Zones

Bath has a Class C Clean Air Zone.

Birmingham has a Class D Clean Air Zone.

Future Clean Air Zones

Portsmouth will start charging in late 2021.

More cities will implement Clean Air Zones later in 2021 and 2022.

Types of Clean Air Zones

There are 4 types of Clean Air Zones, Class A to D.

Class Vehicle type
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 has the option to include motorcycles

Minimum emission standards

Each vehicle type has a minimum emission standard. You can find your vehicle’s emission standard in your vehicle logbook or from your vehicle manufacturer.

To avoid being charged in a Clean Air Zone, your vehicle must meet the following minimum standard:

Vehicle type Clean Air Zone minimum standard
Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles Euro VI
Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, cars Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)
Motorcycles Euro 3

Local authorities may set a different standard for taxis and private hire vehicles. You should always check if you will need to pay a charge or contact the local authority for more information.

Check and pay a charge

You can check if you’ll need to pay a charge for a vehicle before you drive in a Clean Air Zone. If you’re a business, you can check and pay for multiple vehicles.

Use the online service to check or pay a charge in a Clean Air Zone.

The maximum payment that can be made in a single transaction is £5,000. Payments that exceed this limit will need to be split into separate transactions.

You must pay the charge by 11:59pm on the sixth day after driving into the zone. You can pay up to 6 days before you travel. If you do not pay the charge in this time, you may get a penalty charge notice (PCN).

If you’re a business with multiple vehicles

Businesses that own or manage 2 or more UK registered vehicles can set up an account to check and pay charges for multiple vehicles. You can create an account when you check or pay online.

To create an account you’ll need:

  • your company name
  • an email address

Once your account is set up, you can:

  • upload multiple number plates from a spreadsheet (CSV) or add them one by one
  • view what each vehicle will be charged in each clean air zone
  • manage your vehicles - add and remove them
  • add up to 10 team members to help manage the account
  • set up an agreement to pay by bank account, ready for when charging starts
  • view maps of the clean air zones, see when they are live and find out about exemptions

Exemptions

There are some national and local exemptions from the charge.

You’re automatically entitled to a national exemption, and do not have to pay a charge, if you have:

  • a vehicle that’s ultra low emission
  • a disabled passenger tax class vehicle
  • a disabled tax class vehicle
  • a military vehicle
  • a historic vehicle
  • a vehicle retrofitted with technology accredited by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)
  • certain types of agricultural vehicles

You can find out more about local exemptions for driving in:

Refunds

You may be able to claim a refund if you paid the charge when you did not need to.

Contact Bath and North East Somerset Council to claim a refund for the Bath Clean Air Zone.

Get support to reduce your emissions

You can get support to reduce your emissions and stop paying Clean Air Zone charges:

  • the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles offers a range of grants to help you choose cleaner vehicles
  • the Go Ultra Low Campaign has information about electric vehicles, including grants you can apply for
  • the Clean Air Fund provides support to individuals and businesses, for example local travel discounts, cycling to work schemes or vehicle upgrades – you can access it through your local authority

Your local authority may provide support to help you upgrade or replace your vehicle:

Your local authority may also provide information about cycling and public transport options in Clean Air Zones for:

Contact us

You can contact the Clean Air Zone helpdesk using the online contact form or by phone.

Clean Air Zone helpdesk
Telephone: 0300 029 8888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm

Published 28 January 2020
Last updated 7 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added Portsmouth to the future Clean Air Zones and exemptions list, and updated when you need to pay a charge.

  2. Updated details of the Birmingham Class D Clean Air Zone.

  3. Added maximum payment information.

  4. Updated information about when to pay the charge and the refund link.

  5. Bath Clean Air Zone has launched, updated content about how to pay the charge and how to get a refund. Updated exemptions list. Removed London ULEZ link as this is not a Clean Air Zone.

  6. Updated with guidance on checking charges for multiple business vehicles.

  7. Removed information about Leeds as Leeds City Council have decided not to introduce a clean air zone.

  8. Added launch dates for Bath and Birmingham clean air zones.

  9. Opening times for helpdesk changed to Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm.

  10. Added links to Bath, Birmingham and Leeds city council websites for more information about local exemptions, support to upgrade or replace vehicles, and alternatives to driving.

  11. Helpdesk number updated and link to online contact form added.

  12. First published.