11 November, 2019

UK Clean Air Zones – Will you be paying to drive in your city?

 What are Clean Air Zones?

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are areas identified by government research that suggest they’re some of the most polluted areas in the land. In order to combat these levels of pollution, local councils are creating plans in order to reduce the pollution and effectively make our cities cleaner.


There are generally two types of CAZ, the first being where a council decides to charge certain vehicles a charge to drive through a CAZ area. The alternative is where the council puts measures in place, without charging a fee, that will effectively reduce pollution.


Are you in a CAZ? Find out on the BBC website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47389830


Why are they being implemented?

In 2015 an environmental organisation called ClientEarth took the government to court after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide, also known as NO2, and it was alleged that the UK wasn’t doing enough to tackle these levels of pollution.


The countries highest court, the Supreme Court, agreed with ClientEarth and forced ministers to come up with a plan to tackle emissions and bring them down so they were within acceptable EU limits.


The result of the legal action was an initial introduction of Clean Air Zones, where the government identified five of the most polluting cities in the country outside London, these being Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby.


London avoided being identified as London’s Low Emission Zone had been stared in 2008, well ahead of the ruling made by the Supreme Court.


Although only five areas were designated as CAZs, further legal action forced the government to speed up their plans and as a result the government forced 28 councils to draw up plans to introduce a CAZ and a further 33 to undertake feasibility study to see whether a CAZ may benefit pollution.


Where are the CAZs that charge drivers?

  • London
  • Leeds
  • Birmingham
  • Bath
  • Sheffield
  • Greater Manchester
  • Oxford
  • Glasgow


Which CAZ areas do not charge?

  • Southampton
  • York


Where are CAZs being considered?

  • Bristol
  • Derby
  • Cambridge
  • Newcastle
  • Gateshead
  • North Tyneside
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Dundee
  • Aberdeen


Who are conducting feasibility studies?

  • Bolsover
  • Bradford
  • Portsmouth
  • Broxbourne
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Fareham
  • Warrington
  • Reading
  • Slough


For those eagle eyed readers amongst you, you’ll realise that Nottingham doesn’t feature in any of the lists. Although the city featured in the original list, it has sinced produced research which has shown that a CAZ was not needed and Ministers have backed taking the city off the list.


What are the fee’s?

Unfortunately as cities have been left to setup and manage their own CAZs there are no consistent prices. Even the types of vehicle which are to be charged vary from city to city, with some only charging commercial transport whilst others charge private vehicles as well.


To find out how you’ll be affected, visit the BBC website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47389830