Where Are the UK Clean Air Zones in 2023?
As a professional driver, you’ll be aware that vehicle emissions are a hot topic. Cities across the UK are ramping up efforts to reduce pollution from cars, trucks, buses and taxis.
What began in London with the introduction of its central Congestion Zone in 2003, has now blossomed out to other urban areas. London’s latest Ultra Low Emission Zone, first launched in April 2019 has become the standard that cities like Manchester and Sheffield are introducing this year. Furthermore, the ULEZ will be expanding across all London Boroughs from 29 August 2023.
In the last 4 years, 7 cities have introduced Clean Air Zones, such as Portsmouth and Bristol, with more under review. Make no mistake, regardless of when the CAZ comes to your town, the impact on professional drivers will be big. As expected, the CAZ proposals have raised many questions, such as: Will my vehicle be affected? What do I do if it is? What will it mean to me? And what can I do to offset the impact?
To answer these, we thought it was time someone laid out the facts: So, here’s the full story on Clean Air Zones and what they mean to UK Uber drivers.
What are Clean Air Zones?
They’re special city areas with strict vehicle emissions laws. Vehicles entering these zones – which operate 24/7 in London – will have to pay a fee if their exhaust gases fail to meet zone standards. London’s fee is £12.50 per day. Some vehicles, such as all-electric cars are granted an exemption from the CAZ rules, but as a class, private hire vehicles are not exempt.
Do these rules apply to all vehicles?
Yes. In London, vehicles that meet Euro 4 and 6 emissions standards are currently exempt from the ULEZ charge. Vehicles that do not reach the Euro standards and don’t have a special exemption have to pay the daily fee.
What are Euro 4 and 6 standards?
They are Europe-wide emissions rules. Petrol cars that meet London’s ULEZ standards are generally those first registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001. Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those first registered with the
DVLA after September 2015.
Will my car meet the CAZ requirements?
It depends which Euro standard your vehicle was built to. TFL provides a vehicle checker where you can find out if your car qualifies or not and you can expect other cities to follow suit. You can also check with DVLA for your car’s Euro standard or consult your vehicle’s log book.
What happens if my vehicle is not exempt?
You’ll have to pay the CAZ fee. If you fail to pay, you may be subject to a fine and prosecution.
Do you pay the CAZ fee if you go in and out of the zone more than once a day?
No. You only pay once per day. In London, if you enter and exit the CAZ across the midnight cut-off, you must pay for two days of access to the zone.
Be aware that Euro standards are constantly updating, and targets set by individual CAZ may change quickly. Upgrading to a newer vehicle to meet the current rules only to find out you’ve lost your exemption can be a pain if minimum emissions standards rise. One potential way to avoid this problem is to consider an all-electric vehicle.
Clean Air Zones coming to most major UK cities
Private Hire Vehicles are not exempt
Daily fees can range from £7.50 to £12.50
Fines can go as high as £160
London’s CAZ in place since April 2019
Birmingham and Leeds coming in 2020
Manchester arriving in 2021
All-electric vehicles best exempt option
SOURCES and LINKS:
London ULEZ: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-where-and-when
Manchester CAZ: https://cleanairgm.com/clean-air-plan
Birmingham CAZ: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20076/pollution/1763/a_clean_air_zone_for_birmingham
Leeds CAZ: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/business/environmental-health-for-business/air-quality/exempt-vehicles-clean-air-charging-zone
TFL vehicle checker: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle-35896
DVLA vehicle checker: https://www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla
Leeds financial support for PHV: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/business/environmental-health-for-business/air-quality/support-for-taxis-and-private-hire-clean-air-charging-zone
Birmingham financial support for PHV: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20076/pollution/1763/a_clean_air_zone_for_birmingham/7