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.
There are different rules if you want to drive in London’s low or ultra low emission zones. Check your vehicle on the Transport for London (TfL) website.
Cities with clean air zones
Bath has a Class C clean air zone.
Birmingham has a Class D clean air zone.
Bradford has a Class C clean air zone.
Bristol has a Class D clean air zone.
Portsmouth has a Class B clean air zone.
Sheffield has a Class C clean air zone.
Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) has a Class C clean air zone.
Future clean air zones
Greater Manchester (under review).
Types of clean air zones
There are 4 types of clean air zones, Class A to D.
|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 log book 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)|
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 zones operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
The charge period runs from midnight to midnight.
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).
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.
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
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:
- Greater Manchester
- Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead)
There is a temporary exemption in Greater Manchester for light goods vehicles until 31 May 2023.
There is a temporary exemption in Sheffield for some light goods vehicles and hackney carriage vehicles (HCVs) until 4 June 2023.
There is a temporary exemption in Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) for light goods vehicles until July 2023.
You may be able to claim a refund if you paid the charge when you did not need to. Find out more about claiming a refund in:
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
- find out how much money you can save on fuel by switching to an electric vehicle – make your next car electric
- 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 clean air zone support
If you need help, you can contact clean air zone support.
Clean air zone support
Online contact form
Telephone: 0300 029 8888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Find out about call charges.
If you’re unhappy with the service provided, contact the department you’ve been dealing with.
If you’ve spoken to the department but your issue has not been resolved, find out how to complain.
Last updated 27 February 2023 + show all updates
Sheffield's Class C clean air zone is now in operation. We've also added a link to information about claiming a refund in Sheffield.
Updated the list of clean air zones as a Class C clean air zone is now in operation in Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead).
We've removed a link to information about the Clean Air Fund for taxis and private hire vehicles in Portsmouth, as this is no longer open.
There are different rules if you want to drive in London’s low or ultra low emission zones. We've added a link to a tool that helps you check if your vehicle meets emissions standards required to drive in London.
Updated the launch date for Sheffield's clean air zone to 27 February 2023. Also added information about a temporary exemption in Sheffield for some light goods vehicles and hackney carriage vehicles (HCVs).
Added links to guidance on Sheffield Council's website about local exemptions, support to reduce your emissions, and guidance on cycling and local transport options.
Updated details of Bristol's clean air zone, as this is now in operation. Added a link to information about applying for a refund in Bristol.
Tyneside's clean air zone will start charging on 30 January 2023.
Updated details of Bradford's clean air zone, as this is now in operation.
The closing date for a temporary exemption for light goods vehicles in Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) has been amended to July 2023.
There is a temporary exemption in Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) for light goods vehicles until 17 July 2023.
Sheffield's clean air zone will start charging in early 2023.
Bristol will start charging on 28 November 2022.
Added a link for more information about local exemptions for driving in Tyneside.
Added Tyneside to the list of future clean air zones.
Updated the start date for Bradford's clean air zone to 26 September 2022.
Replaced 'Go Ultra Low' with 'Make your next car electric'.
Added a link to information about complaints.
Updated to show that charging for Greater Manchester is under review.
Added Bristol to the list of cities that will have a clean air zone in the future.
Updated to reflect that Portsmouth is now charging. Portsmouth has a Class B Clean Air Zone.
Added link to exemptions for Bradford.
Updated the Future Clean Air Zones to include Bradford (charging starts 2022) and Greater Manchester (charging starts on 30 May 2022). Updated exemptions to include Greater Manchester.
Added Portsmouth charging start date: 29 November 2021.
Updated contact details - support now open on Saturdays 8am to 2pm and until 7pm during the week.
Added link to claiming refund in Birmingham.
Added Portsmouth to the future Clean Air Zones and exemptions list, and updated when you need to pay a charge.
Updated details of the Birmingham Class D Clean Air Zone.
Added maximum payment information.
Updated information about when to pay the charge and the refund link.
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.
Updated with guidance on checking charges for multiple business vehicles.
Removed information about Leeds as Leeds City Council have decided not to introduce a clean air zone.
Added launch dates for Bath and Birmingham clean air zones.
Opening times for helpdesk changed to Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm.
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.
Helpdesk number updated and link to online contact form added.