Guidance

Driving in a clean air zone

Where you’ll find clean air zones, how to check if you'll need to pay a charge, and what support or exemptions are available.

To improve air quality, some local authorities are introducing clean air zones (CAZ). If your vehicle exceeds emission standards, you may have to pay a charge if you drive in a clean air zone.

Clean air zones

The first clean air zones will be launched in Birmingham and Leeds from summer 2020. More cities will implement clean air zones in 2021 and 2022.

City Type of clean air zone Date
Birmingham Class D Summer 2020
Leeds Class B Summer 2020
London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – to be expanded to North and South Circular roads October 2021

Check if you will be charged

You can check if you’ll need to pay a charge before you drive in a clear air zone.

You’ll need:

  • the registration details (number plate) of the vehicle
  • which city or town you’re driving the vehicle in

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:

You can find out more about local exemptions from the local authority in the area you’re driving in.

Types of clean air zones

There are four 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 CAZ 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.

Reducing your emissions

You can get support to reduce your emissions and stop paying clean air zone charges:

  • the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) 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

Contact us

For more information about clean air zones, contact the CAZ helpdesk on 0345 873 6070.

Published 28 January 2020