UK Clean Air Zone (CAZ) FAQs


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Fleet News has provided further clarity on the UK’s Clean Air Zones and more information with their Frequently Asked Questions below:

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone is defined an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality.

It can be confined to a single road or a part of a city.

This can include an area in which vehicles can be charged or fined for entering.

Why is the Government introducing Clean Air Zones?

The Government has a long-term strategy to improve air quality across the country by discouraging the use of older, more polluting, vehicles and has a short-term goal to reduce the number of areas in the UK where air pollution breaches legal limits.

What areas will be targeted by Clean Air Zones?

Five cities have been mandated by the Government to introduce a Clean Air Zone, these are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

The Government has also named 23 local authorities where it expects pollution levels to reach illegal levels by 2021. They must all carry out a feasibility study to determine whether a Clean Air Zone is required.

How will Clean Air Zones be introduced?

Local authorities are responsible for the implementation of clean air zones.

Each Council was asked to create an Air Quality Improvement Plan and submit it to Government by March 2018.

Once approved, the local authority can receive funding to help set up the zone.

What vehicles will be affected by the Clean Air Zones?

Local authorities can decide what level of restriction to apply.

There are four classes of Clean Air Zone:

  1. Class A – Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
  2. Class B – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
  3. Class C – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
  4. Class D – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars

Buses, coaches and HGVs that meet Euro VI emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.

Cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.

Ultra-low emission vehicles with a significant zero-emission range must be exempt from and charges or restrictions.

How much will it cost to enter a Clean Air Zone?

Charging is not compulsory. Local authorities will only be able to set charges at levels designed to reduce pollution, not to raise additional revenue beyond recovering the costs of the scheme.

Clean Air Zone FAQsClick on the map to see further details

What cities are involved in introducing a CAZ?

Five cities have been mandated by government to introduce a Clean Air Zone

CAZ expected by 2020
Birmingham is proposing a Class D CAZ

Charges would apply to the most polluting vehicles which enter the CAZ, including buses, coaches, lorries, taxis and private hire vehicles, vans and private cars.

In Birmingham, it is proposed that the CAZ should cover all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road.

The proposals will be published for public consultation in July.

CAZ expected by 2019/2020
Derby is proposing three plans which have been outlined.

Derby City Council may charge up to £20 a time for any vehicles entering the city centre depending on consultation process of their three plans, but it most likely they will opt for new traffic measures rather than CAZ.

Councillors are confident they can meet their air quality obligations through alternative measures, including a proposed scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles.

It is legally required to submit a full business case to the secretary of state before September 15.

The Council will invest £2.5 million from the clean bus technology fund to retrofit 150 buses, which will reduce tailpipe emissions in the city by up to 90%.

It also plans to install more electric vehicle charging points and promote a healthier lifestyle through sport and cycling.

CAZ expected end of 2019.
Leeds City Council has proposed a chargeable Clean Air Zone.

The zone covers all roads within the boundary of the A61 and A63, near Leeds city centre.

Buses, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles that fail to meet the required emissions standards will be charged a fee to enter the zone.

This which would include charges of £50 per day for EU5 or earlier diesel buses and coaches, £50 per day for EU5 or earlier diesel HGVs and £12.50 per day for EU5 or earlier diesel or EU3 or earlier taxis or private hire vehicles.

Additional measures to improve air quality include encouraging voluntary movement to alternative vehicles and moving private taxis from Euro 6 to hybrid and electric.

CAZ was expected early 2019 but have since said they are no longer considering this.

Nottingham City Council published details of its proposed CAZ in June and suggested it was no longer considering CAZ charges.

The council has a number of other measures designed to improve the city’s air quality including an Eco Expressway, prioritising electric buses, a Go Ultra Low Nottingham scheme intended to encourage the uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, and new cycle routes.

CAZ charging expected: from 2019
Southampton introduced a Clean Air Zone on a non-charging basis in 2017.

Access restrictions and penalty charges will be introduced in 2019.

The full extent of the Clean Air Zone area, and which vehicles will be charged, will be announced later this year.

ULEZ from April 2019
London is introducing an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) affecting all vehicles entering central London.

The area covered by the ULEZ is the same area as the Congestion Charging Zone

The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and public holidays.

The ULEZ standards are:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles

Charges: £12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles; £100 for buses, lorries and coaches.

London boroughs

Hackney and Islingston
Hackney and Islington Councils are currently consulting on a new scheme which could see all but the cleanest vehicles banned from two zones in Shoreditch.

It proposes a ban on any vehicles emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 from entering nine streets between 7-10am and 4-7pm, Monday to Friday.

The consultation states that businesses and residents located in these zones will be able to register for an exemption.

Kensington and Chelsea
Proposals to extend the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South circular roads are being supported by Kensington and Chelsea council.

Clean Air Zone proposals by city

CAZ opposed
Basildon and Rochford Councils have been told by the Government that they must consider a CAZ to address two areas of illegal pollution by 2020.

The councils are fighting the order which, if implemented, could impose restrictions on the A127.

CAZ expected 2020.
Three options are being considered in Bath. Each option features a different class of Clean Air Charging Zone, alongside a range of other measures to encourage greener modes of travel.

The proposed area covers the centre of the town and includes a section of the A4 London Road.

CAZ expected 2019
Bristol city council has outlined five potential options for the establishment of a clean air zone within the city.

The options include a small or medium-sized Class C or Class D charging clean air zone in the centre of the city, which could levy a charge for the use of buses and coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles, heavy and lights goods vehicles, and potentially also private cars.

CAZ expected: date TBC.
Cambridge City Council is currently evaluating a Clean Air Zone within the existing Air Quality Management Area in Cambridge, which includes the trafficked parts of the historic core and the inner ring road.

It has not made a decision on whether the zone will be chargeable or which types of vehicle it will seek to restrict.

The council will also look to reduce HGV emissions in the city centre by promoting greener methods for making deliveries of goods, such as by cycle.

Other proposed policies include incentives for electric or hybrid taxis and reducing bus and coach emissions by working with partners to invest in more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

CAZ not expected.
Canterbury City Council is planning to reduce emissions by adopting strict anti-idling enforcement which would be encouraged at coach parks, on-street parking bays, taxi ranks and at level crossings.

The council will also explore the use of its fee structure to encourage taxi drivers and bus companies to use low-emission vehicles.

Council officers will seek to work with freight companies to encourage them to use the right routes around the city and promote better driving.

CAZ not expected.
Exeter City Council does not intend to introduce a CAZ or apply access restrictions or limits to the age and type of vehicles which can enter certain areas of the city.

In its Air Quality Action Plan the council says that it aims to discourage private car use and increase use of public transport, cycling and walking.

The Plan concentrates on improving air quality in the Air Quality Management Area, particularly in Heavitree where the highest levels of pollution are measured.

CAZ expected by 2026.
Leicester City Council is seeking to deliver a clean air zone by 2026 or sooner.

By 2020 it expects to implement a Clean Air Zone for buses only.

CAZ expected: date TBC
Liverpool City Council is currently assessing the viability of a chargeable Clean Air Zone but has not outlined any formal details.

Liverpool’s Mayor has previously suggested a blanket ban on all diesel vehicles entering the city.

The council has already proposed to enforce anti-idling fixed penalty notices using local authority officers.

CAZ not defined.
Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham has said that no vehicle charging scheme will be implemented as part of any air quality measures

The region could look to restrict certain vehicles from operating in polluted parts of the city – starting with the most polluting HGVs – in order to address air pollution, but it has not published any official plans yet.

CAZ not expected.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has ruled out Clean Air Zones, saying it will build on existing policies in the city to promote alternative modes of transport to the car.

The council’s draft air quality plan is currently under review but is likely to include measures to improve emissions on the A167 north of and over the Tyne Bridge, large sections of the western bypass (A1) and the Coast Road (A1058).

Zero emissions zone planned for 2020.
Oxford City Council is planning to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from Oxford City Centre by introducing a Zero Emissions Zone.

The plans – which are out for consultation – suggest the ban would be introduced in phases, starting with preventing non-zero-emitting taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles and buses from using a small number of streets in 2020.

The zone will gradually extend to cover all non-electric vehicles, including HGVs, in the whole of the city centre by 2035.

CAZ under consideration.
Sheffield City Council has said that it will consider Clean Air Zone charging for some larger vehicles including buses, coaches and HGVs but outlines in its Clean Air Plan that it has no intention of charging private car users to travel within the city.

As part of its strategy, the council has committed to working with the city’s bus operators to reduce emissions through replacement low-emission buses or retrofitting vehicles with cleaner engine technology.

St Albans
CAZ under consideration.

St Albans City & District Council is considering plans to set up Clean Air Zones in areas where the air quality is poor, or vulnerable people are concentrated.

The scheme is likely to concentrate on fining drivers for excessive idling.

CAZ under consideration.

Warrington Borough Council will examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of introducing a Clean Air Zone.

It has already adopted its five-year plan to tackle pollution, which includes measures such as increasing the use of electric vehicles and establishing new cycling and walking links.

Low Emission Zone under consideration.

Wokingham Borough Council has published its Air Quality Action Plan, which highlights two locations where emissions levels need to be reduced – Wokingham town centre and Twyford Crossroads.

The plan outlines the potential for a Low Emission Zone within the borough, although the Council has not stipulated how this will operate.

CAZ proposed for buses.

York City Council plans to implement a Clean Air Zone for buses, targeting an area within York’s inner ring road and city centre.

It will limit the frequency that buses can enter the zone, based on the emissions performance of the bus.

Current proposals suggest that buses entering the targeted zone 10 times per day or more must meet a minimum of the Euro 6 emissions standard by 2020.

Local authorities required by government to produce a local action plan this year

  • Bolton Borough Council
  • Bury Borough Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Fareham Borough Council
  • Gateshead Borough Council
  • Guildford Borough Council
  • Middlesbrough Borough Council
  • North Tyneside Council
  • Rochford Borough Council
  • Rotherham Borough Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Salford Borough Council
  • Stockport Borough Council
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Tameside Borough Council
  • Trafford Borough Council


The Scottish Government has outlined plans to have four Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in operation by 2020, with the first to be established in Glasgow by the end of 2018.

Alongside Glasgow, LEZs are also expected to be introduced in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The proposals in Glasgow include an initial focus on securing cleaner bus services within the city, in an area currently covered by the city’s air quality management area, from the end of 2018.

A second phase is likely to cover other vehicles and will be consulted on over the course of the next 12 months.

As part of the consultation, the Scottish Government suggested a minimum standard of Euro 6 for diesel cars, Euro 4 for petrol cars and Euro VI for buses – the proposal was backed by 62% of respondents.

Some three quarters of respondents agreed that emission sources from construction machinery and/or large or small refrigerated units should be included within the scope of LEZs.


The Welsh Government is seeking views on its Clean Air Zone proposals, which include charging the most polluting vehicles for entering certain parts of its cities.

It is not mandating the implementation of any CAZs but it has directed both Caerphilly County Borough Council and Cardiff Council to look at whether a CAZ is needed.

The consultation will run until June, with a response expected by July.

The Welsh Government has said it will encourage local authorities to introduce clean air zones, where evidence suggests they are needed to reduce harmful emissions

Temporary speed limits (50mph) have also been introduced to reduce emissions at five locations:

  • A494 at Deeside
  • A483 at Wrexham
  • M4 between Junctions 41 & 42 (Port Talbot)
  • M4 between junctions 25 & 26 (Newport)
  • A470 between Upper Boat & Pontypridd

Cardiff Council has already agreed to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a CAZ is needed in the city.

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