Cities across the UK are adopting something called ‘low emission zones’ or ‘clean air zones’, which were introduced to encourage more people to use public transport rather than drive everywhere.
One of the most talked-about areas is London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which covers a large portion of the city and is constantly expanding.
But it isn’t just the capital that has introduced these zones. So, where are the other LEZ charge zones, and what are the different rules for each?
London has two emissions zones that you need to be aware of. The first is the aforementioned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and the second is the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
ULEZ covers a large part of the city and will expand across all London boroughs by the end of 2023. If your vehicle is not compliant (if it’s not Euro 4 for petrol or Euro 6 for diesel) then you’ll need to pay a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, motorcycles and vans, and £100 for heavier vehicles such as lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes as well as buses and coaches weighing more than five tonnes.
To see the clean zones in more detail, we’d recommend checking out the government’s TFL tool to see if your car is compliant.
As of 2021, Birmingham introduced its Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which covers all roads inside the Middleway ring road. It applies the same rules as London’s, but charges £8 a day if you want to drive inside the zone and £50 for lorries.
Like Birmingham, Bath introduced its CAZ in 2021 but it works in a completely different way. It doesn’t yet affect personal cars, but all company cars including taxis and HGVs will have to pay if they don’t meet the correct emissions standards.
Driving isn’t the best way to get around Oxford as it is because the streets are so small and quaint, but there's still a CAZ in place to keep the city centre as clean as possible.
This zone spans just nine streets in the city and comes with a fee of between £2 and £10 for cars wanting to enter the area (except for electric cars). However, for HGVs etc., there is a higher charge.
In 2022, Bristol announced its own CAZ that covers a portion of the city centre. Like with others, if your petrol car is pre-Euro 4 and your diesel car is pre-Euro 6 then you will face a £9 fee to enter the zone. As for larger vehicles such as HGVs and buses, there is a fine of £100.
Luckily for most people, Bradford’s clean air zone doesn’t apply to cars, but it does affect taxis and other commercial vehicles that wish to enter the zone. The fee for a taxi is £7 and it’s £50 for larger vehicles.
Covering a portion of Portsea Island, Portsmouth’s CAZ means that taxis that don’t meet the emissions standards will be charged £10 to enter the zone each day, and larger vehicles will pay £50.
Is my car exempt from clean air zones?
Not every clean air zone in the UK has banned private cars – in fact, it’s quite a small portion of cities. But there are still some such as London and Oxford where these rules and restrictions are being tightened.
While every car is different, the best way to know whether your car is exempt or not is to check if it’s compliant using the government’s calculator. But as a general rule, all petrol cars pre-Euro 4 and diesel vehicles pre-Euro 6 will be affected.
Euro 4 was made a law on all new petrol cars built from January 2006, and Euro 6 applies to all diesel vehicles made from September 2014 – but it’s still worth checking where your car sits.