Are you ready for Clean Air Zones?On By
With the negative impact poor air quality has on our health, Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are popping up in cities across the UK to combat this issue, but do you know how they work and what penalties you could face if you do not adhere to their rules?
Clean Air Zones were created so that only the cleanest vehicles could drive within their borders in order to improve air quality in the worst affected parts of the country. Any vehicles breaking the rules of the zone will be required to pay a fee.
Some cities are looking to go a step further by creating Low Emission Zones and even Zero Emission Zones.
CAZs will usually be in operation 24/7 and will enforce fines through a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. There will be some discounts and exemptions to these fines depending on your vehicle and situation, which can be checked on your local authority site.
The Government has also provided a vehicle checker tool to see if you would need to pay a fine if you travelled through a CAZ, which you can view here.
Types of Clean Air Zones
There are four categories; A B, C and D, which can give charges on the following vehicles:
Category A: Buses, Coaches, Taxis, Private Hire Vehicles
Category B: Buses, Coaches, Taxis, Private Hire Vehicles, Heavy Goods Vehicles
Category C: Buses, Coaches, Taxis, Private Hire Vehicles, Heavy Goods Vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles
Category D: Buses, Coaches, Taxis, Private Hire Vehicles, Heavy Goods Vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles, Cars
Each vehicle has a minimum emission standard that must be met in order to avoid being charged. For buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles the standard is Euro VI. For vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles and cars the standard is Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol). For motorcycles the standard is Euro 3.
Standards, timings and charges will differ between zones so you should check with your local authority before making trips into these areas.
In 2019, an Ultra Low Emission Zone was set up in central London which operates 24/7, except for the 25th December.
The current charge for non-compliant cars, motorcycles and vans is £12.50 per day and £100 for heavier vehicles such as lorries. These charges are payable in addition to the weekday Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone charge.
On the 25th October 2021, the ULEZ will expand from just central London to cover a much larger area, that stretches between the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205)
The future of Clean Air Zones
Clean Air zones have been successful so far and as a result there are many plans to introduce more.
On top of London’s ULEZ expansion; Bristol, Bradford, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester (to name a few) all look set to adopt a form of CAZ by this time next year.
Along with the 2030 ban on new ICE cars, Clean Air Zones will no doubt encourage more people to make the switch to electric in the next few years.
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