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UK Clean Air Zones - Everything you need to know

UK Clean Air Zones - Everything you need to know

Low Emission Zones in UK cities are becoming increasingly common in an attempt to tackle the issue of poor air quality.

Vansdirect take a look at all of the Low Emission Zones in the UK, including those already in place and those set for the near future, keep an eye out for your city below!

Low Emission Zones

Low Emission Zones are schemes which cover specific areas (primarily in cities), which discourage certain types of vehicles from entering a specified zone, with the aim of tackling pollution in the area.

This typically means a charge for the vehicle should it not meet a minimum emissions standard for entering this zone.

Low Emission Zones do not actually prohibit higher emission vans and cars from entering the zone, however daily charges to enter the zone are in place and failure to pay these charges could result in heavy financial penalties.

Where are the UK's Low Emission Zones?

It is important to be aware of the Low Emission Zones in your particular area and be prepared to pay any charges if your van doesn’t meet set emission standards.

We’ve broken down the latest LEZ rules by city, so you can keep up to date with the charges in your area:


London’s Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs) will expand to cover the entire city, in a move to clear London’s air and improve public health, coming into effect on 29th August 2023.

This means that most vehicles now – including vans – will be subject to a £12.50 charge every day for driving within London’s ULEZ zones unless they meet emissions standards.

With this now calculated based on a vehicle’s specific emissions rather than age, it’s important to check your van’s ULEZ status, which you can do using the Transport for London’s online vehicle checker.


The city of Bath introduced Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in March 2021, making it the first city outside of London to do so.

Covering the city centre, this operates 24-hours a day, every day of the year. Charges for vehicles including vans, taxis and minibuses which do not meet emission standards are currently £9 a day for driving into the zone.

Larger vehicles such as trucks, lorries, buses, and coaches could face an even higher charge of £100 per day, while the only vehicles currently exempt are private cars and motorbikes.


Birmingham adopted a Class D Clean Air Zone affecting buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles in June 2021. This operates within the inner ring road (A4540 Middleway), with charges of £8 incurred daily for non-compliant cars, taxis and vans, and a £50 daily charge for buses, coaches, and HGVs.

This also operates 24-hours a day throughout the year, and exemptions include electric or hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.


Bradford began enforcing clean air zone restrictions in September 2022. These charge taxis which do not meet emission standards £7 per day, while lorries, buses and coaches which are non-compliant are charged £50.

The zone covers the area inside the Bradford outer ring road, extending along the Aire valley corridor (Manningham Lane/Bradford Road and Canal Road) including Shipley and Saltaire.

Private cars do not have to pay charges for entering these zones currently.


Bristol has operated a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) since November 2022. This affects private cars, taxis, and vans, with a £9 daily charge, while buses, coaches and HGVs are charged £100 per day.

Older vehicles can be given an exemption for one year if applied for by the owner, and charges don’t apply to:

- Euro 4, 5, and 6 petrol vehicles – roughly 2006 upwards

- Euro 6 diesel vehicles, from the end of 2015 onwards

- Fully electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles

- Modified or retrofitted vehicles registered under the Energy Saving Trust’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)

- Motorbikes

Greater Manchester

Clean air zones are currently being reviewed in Greater Manchester, with a scheme due to come into effect on 30th May 2022 being reconsidered.

The proposed scheme would affect private hire vehicles, vans, buses and HGVs, though the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester local authority leaders asked the Government to delay introducing CAZs legally due to concerns over the financial hardship this may cause.

The Government have however introduced a policy requiring Manchester’s top ten local authorities to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide on local roads to legally set limits by no later than 2026.


Leeds introduced Clean Air Zone restrictions in 2022, with private cars and light goods vehicles exempt from charges.

Those who are affected include non-compliant HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis, and private hire vehicles.


Liverpool Council are currently considering introducing a Clean Air Zone, with the city’s Clean Air Plan. If approved, this will come into effect this year in 2023 and is likely to cover the city centre where the highest levels of pollution are.


In February 2022, Oxford introduced a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), covering several streets in the city centre. The plan then introduced a larger ZEZ covering most of the city centre which comes into effect this year (2023).

This will affect petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles, with a £10 daily charge incurred on vehicles entering the zone between 7am and 7pm.

Areas covered include New Road, between Bonn Square and the junction with Castle Street, Bonn Square, Queen Street, Cornmarket Street, New Inn Hall Street, Shoe Lane, Market Street, from Cornmarket junction 40 metres east, Ship Street, and St Michael’s Street.

Electric vehicles producing zero emissions will be able to enter these areas free of charge, and cars which emit less than 75g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be charged £2. Euro 4 petrol and Euro 6 diesel cars will be charged £4, while all other cars will be charged £10.

Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside

As of 2022, most of Newcastle City Centre was placed into a Clean Air Zone, while Tyneside’s CAZ was introduced at the end of January 2023.

This affects taxis, vans, buses, coaches, and HGVs which do not comply with the emissions standards.

For taxis and vans, this refers to Euro 6 diesel models registered after September 2015, while for petrol vehicles this refers to Euro 4 models registered after 2005.

Buses and coaches affected will be Euro VI vehicles registered after 2014.

Non-compliant vehicles will be charged £12.50 daily for entering these zones, including vans and taxis, while buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £50 a day.

Private cars are still currently exempt.


Portsmouth currently operates a CAZ in the southwest of the city, which affects non-compliant vehicles such as HGVs, buses and coaches, taxis, and private hire vehicles.

This is if they either don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards (are Euro 5 or older), are diesel, or do not meet Euro 4 emissions standards (are Euro 3 or older) if they are petrol.

HGVs, buses, and coaches which are older and therefore produce more emissions will pay £50 a day when entering the zone, while taxis and private hire vehicles will pay £10.

Due to this being a Class B CAZ, private cars, motorcycles, and vans are not currently charged.


Sheffield has recently introduced a Clean Air Zone in February 2023, covering the inner ring road and city centre, including Park Square and the A61/Parkway junction.

Private cars will not be charged for entering the zone in the city centre, though buses, HGVs and taxis will be since they are accountable for half the air pollution.

The following types of vehicles will not be charged if they meet these standards:

- Taxis which are ultra-low emissions (hybrid, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell-powered)

- Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) LGVs and minibuses with Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol

- Buses and coaches with Euro 6 diesel

- HGVs with Euro 6 diesel

Vehicles that are charged for entering this zone will have to pay £10 a day for a polluting LGV or taxi, and £50 a day for buses, coaches, and HGVs.


York introduced a Clean Air Zone affecting buses and taxis, with areas covered including the ring road and city centre.

Buses will be limited on how many times they can enter these zones depending on their emissions.


Leicester introduced a Clean Air Zone in 2021, which does not include private vehicles currently.

Keep up to date with more of the latest news and information you need via our newsroom.

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