Guide to Clean Air Zones

All you need to know about Clean Air Zones, ULEZ and Low Emission Zones, all in one place.

The major cities and towns of the UK have both a legal and moral duty to reduce NO2 emissions. To combat this, certain cities have been identified as needing to act. Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Low Emission Zones are already being used, and more are being proposed. Our Clean Air Zone Guide helps you find all the information you need to help your business avoid the costly charges and fines for non-compliant vehicles.

The Areas Affected - Clean Air Zones & Low Emission Zones

In this section we focus on the areas that have introduced – or are about to introduce – measures to reduce emissions in their cities. From the Clean Air Zones, ULEZ and Oxford’s pilot Zero Emissions Zone – to the Low Emission Zones in Scotland – you can find out more about the individual areas to help understand more about the impact likely on your business.

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  • Low Emission & Clean Air Zones - FAQs

    The introduction of the Clean Air Zones is something that can have a major impact on businesses up and down the UK. Here we have put together a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any questions you wish to ask then please feel free to drop us a line using the form at the bottom of the page. 

    Back in 2015, the UK Government launched a number of initiatives to improve the air quality in the UK – particularly over it’s major towns and cities. One of the ways this could be done was through the implementation of “Clean Air Zones” – often abbreviated down to CAZ. These Clean Air Zones are designated zones in and around a city centre where air quality is deemed a particular issue. Any vehicles which doesn’t meet the specified emission requirements for the zone will have to pay a fee to operate within the zone.

    Once a zone is “live” it is important to note the following; 

    • They are in operation 24-7. 
    • ANPR cameras are used to check EVERY vehicle registration plate using the zone to make sure any appropriate fee is paid.
    • You must make any payments through the relevant online Government portal (we have provided a link in each zone listing above)
    • There are exemptions although some restrictions may apply. You need to check the relevant local authority website for each zone to make sure your vehicle is exempt (again, we have provided a link to the local authority website in the zone listings we have created above).

    If you want to check the eligibility for exemption of a single vehicle, the Government has provided a vehicle checker on their website where you can input the registration number of the vehicle. 

    If you have more than one vehicle then you need to register for an account. Once you have done this, you can create a CSV file of your vehicles and upload this to your account to check multiple vehicles.

    The London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) is similar in principle, but is based on emission levels and run by Transport for London (TfL). 

    For more information on driving in London, you need to visit the ULEZ Website where you can check if your vehicle is eligible for charges and where you can also make payments.

    In Scotland, the LEZ (Low Emission Zone) that are being introduced in the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – works on the principle that there isn’t a daily fee for non-compliant vehicles, there is simply a PCN of £60 if your vehicle isn’t compliant with the Low Emission Zone and is used in it’s boundaries. 

    For more information, visit the Scotland LEZ website.

    When to Pay

    You can pay:

    • six days in advance of the day of your visit
    • the day of your visit
    • six days after the day of your visit

    How to Pay

    Payments for ALL the Clean Air Zones are paid through a centralised Government centre – either online, or over the phone.

    To make payment online, you can click on the links at the bottom of this page*. If you need to register multiple vehicles, you need to create an account first.

    You can also call 0300 029 8888 (Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm).

    *For details on the Paying for ULEZ (London) then follow the link at the bottom of this page for ULEZ.

    The Clean Air Zone’s are broken down into 4 Grades – A-D – to categorise the mimimum requirements for exemption of the types of vehicles facing charges in a particular zone.  

    The CAZ Grades

    Grade A

    Vehicle type

    Compliance standards

    Buses

    Euro VI

    Coaches

    Euro VI

    Taxis

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Private Hire Vehicles

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Grade B

    Vehicle type

    Compliance standards

    Buses

    Euro VI

    Coaches

    Euro VI

    Taxis

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Private hire vehicles

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    HGVs

    Euro VI

    Grade C

    Vehicle type

    Compliance standards

    Buses

    Euro VI

    Coaches

    Euro VI

    Taxis

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Private hire vehicles

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    HGVs

    Euro VI

    LGVs

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Grade D

    Vehicle type

    Compliance standards

    Buses

    Euro VI

    Coaches

    Euro VI

    Taxis

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Private hire vehicles

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    HGVs

    Euro VI

    LGVs

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Cars

    Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

    Motorcycles and mopeds (optional)

      Euro 3

    As you can imagine, the charges have raised eyebrows in certain quarters – and seen as a “stealth tax”. 

    All the money raised from the charges and subsequent fines will be used to fund sustainable transport-related measures such as walking and cycling routes and public transport, as set out in the Charging Order.

    It cannot be used for “profiteering” purposes.

    What if I don’t pay?

    If you do not pay within that timeframe, you will be issued with a £120 Penalty Charge Notice. This will be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

    The onus is on you as the driver to:

    • know if your vehicle is subject to the charge
    • be aware if you have driven within the zone
    • make payment within the allocated payment window.

    You will only be charged if you are seen driving on a particular day within a Clean Air Zone. 

    So if, for example, you drive into a Clean Air Zone on a Monday and park up, not driving the vehicle again until the Friday then you would only be charged for the Monday and the Friday – not the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday when the vehicle was un-used.

    Paying a CAZ charge

    Click here to start the process to pay for a Clean Air Zone charge. If you are looking to pay for multiple vehicles you will need to create a business account first.

    Paying a ULEZ Charge

    If you are going to be in the London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) then you need to pay a separate fee. You can do this but clicking onto the ULEZ website with Transport for London.

    Create a Business Account for CAZ

    To pay for multiple vehicles you need to create a business account. From here you will be able to upload your vehicles from a .csv spreadsheet. Click the button below to begin registering.

    Check Vehicle Compliance

    You can use this Vehicle Checker to see if your vehicle is liable for any CAZ charges. Simply enter the vehicle registration number, check the details and you will see if your vehicle is liable for a charge in any zones.

    Scotland Low Emission Zones (LEZ)

    The four biggest cities in Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are all introducing Low Emission Zones. Find out more about these zones and how they will operate.