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What is a Clean Air Zone?

What is a Clean Air Zone?

You may have heard of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, but did you know Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are being rolled out in specific cities across the UK?

In short, a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is a designated area within a city or town where measures are implemented to reduce air pollution and improve air quality. CAZs are typically areas where air pollution exceeds legal limits or where levels of harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM), are high.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know – from where and why these zones are being implemented to how they could benefit electric vehicle drivers.

What is a Clean Air Zone? And what is a Low Emission Zone?

First things first, Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are almost identical, and the names are often used interchangeably.

If you enter either one of these zones and your vehicle does not meet the zone emission standards, you will be penalised. Typically, this is usually in the form of a daily charge which fluctuates depending on what your vehicle type is and which zone you enter.

These zones operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. However, there are national exemptions as well as local exemptions and discounts, such as for Blue Badge holders and community transport. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are used to check whether your vehicle meets the emission standards in these areas.

Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones are different to London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and the Congestion Charge.

What are the minimum emission standards?

To avoid being charged, your vehicle needs to meet the below requirements:

Vehicle Type Clean Air Zone Minimum Standard
Buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles Euro VI
Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles and cars Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)
Motorcycles Euro 3

However, different Clean Air Zones have different Class ratings on a scale of A-D, which also affects who pays the charge:

Class Vehicle Type
Class A Buses, coaches, taxis, and private hire vehicles
Class B Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles
Class C Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses
Class D Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, and cars. Motorcycles can also be included in this category. However, it’s down to the local authority.

Do electric vehicles pay when entering these zones?

Pure electric cars are not subjected to charges when entering these zones. This is because they are zero emission from the tailpipe, making them an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, and so they are exempt from any charges.

However, be careful if you have a hybrid as they have to meet the same standards as petrol or diesel cars.

You can double-check whether your hybrid meets the standards here.

Why do we need Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones in the UK?

The aim of these zones is to encourage the transition to cleaner modes of transport, either by investing in pure electric vehicles or by taking advantage of local public transport in cities. It’s all in an effort to decrease air pollution and, in turn, improve air quality and public health.

You may be thinking – why do we need to improve air quality? It’s because older and more polluting vehicles produce more harmful carbon emissions, which can cause lung cancer, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. Many cities across the UK where air pollution is rife exceed the safe legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution due to vehicle emissions, which is why cities are tackling this with the introduction of these zones.

How do I know if I am entering a Clean Air Zone or a Low Emission Zone?

You’ll know when you’re entering a Clean Air Zone as it will be heavily signposted on the approach.

Where are these clean air zones in the UK currently?

  • Bath Clean Air Zone

Launched in 2021, the Bath Clean Air Zone is a Class C CAZ and covers Bath City Centre and the surrounding areas, including Bathwick and Kingsmead.

Vehicle Type Daily charge for non-compliance
Coaches and buses £100
Trucks and lorries £100
Taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, vans and light goods vehicles £9

You can view the entire Bath Clean Air Zone Map here.

  • Bradford Clean Air Zone

The Bradford Clean Air Zone is a Class C CAZ and started charging on 26 September 2022. The zone covers the Bradford outer ring road as well as the Aire Valley corridor, including Shipley and Saltaire.

Vehicle Type Daily Charge for non-compliance
HGVs, buses and coaches, £50
Minibuses and LGVs £9
Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles £7

View the Bradford Clean Air Zone map here.

  • Birmingham Clean Air Zone

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone was launched in June 2021 and covers the area of Birmingham city centre within the A4540 Middleway. Rated at a Class D CAZ, you’ll find that private cars are included in the charging.

Vehicle Type Daily Charge for non-compliance
Cars, vans and taxis £8
Coaches, buses and HGVs £50

View the Birmingham Clean Air Zone map here.

  • Portsmouth Clean Air Zone

Launched on 29 November 2021, the Portsmouth CAZ is a Class B zone and covers the southwest of Portsmouth, including the University of Portsmouth.

Vehicle Type Daily Charge for non-compliance
Non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles £10
HGVs, buses and coaches £50

View the Portsmouth Clean Air Zone Map here.

  • Bristol Clean Air Zone

The Clean Air Zone in Bristol was only just launched on 28 November 2022 and, similarly to Birmingham, has been classed as a D CAZ.

Vehicle Type Daily Charge for non-compliance
Private petrol and private diesel cars £9
Taxis £9
Light Goods Vehicle (under 3.5t) £9
Heavy Goods Vehicle (over 3.5t), buses and coaches £100

View the map to the Bristol Clean Air Zone here.

Which cities will have low emission zones in the future?

  • Sheffield Clean Air Zone

Sheffield City Council has plans set in motion for a CAZ to launch in Sheffield on 27 February 2023.

  • Newcastle Clean Air Zone

The Newcastle Clean Air Zone was launched in October 2022; however, it is currently non-charging. That being said, plans are confirmed for Newcastle to start charging non-compliant buses, coaches and HGVs from January 2023. It won’t be until July 2023 that vans and LGVs will be charged. The zone will extend to most of Newcastle’s city centre, including roads over the Tyne.

  • Edinburgh Low Emission Zone

Edinburgh is technically already a Low Emission Zone, having been introduced on 31 May 2022. However, enforcement will start in 2024 after a two-year grace period, whereby charges will commence.

  • Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone

The Clean Air Zone in Manchester was originally meant to launch in May 2022. However, the government pressed pause on the introduction. A new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan has been submitted, and a public consolation should take place in early 2023.

Are Clean Air Zones the same as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone?

It’s important to note that Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones differ slightly from London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has stricter regulations. Currently, the only Ultra Low Emission Zone in the UK is in London.

From August 2023, the Ultra Low Emission Zone will be expanding to cover the whole of London and impacting over five million Londoners. However, the upside is that if you own an electric vehicle, you will be exempt from the daily ULEZ charge of £12.50.


  • Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones are very similar, with both charging high carbon emission vehicles a fee when entering a designated area within a city or town that has high air pollution levels.
  • Pure electric vehicles do not have to pay when entering these zones as zero-emission vehicles
  • Clean Air Zones are located in Bath, Bradford, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Bristol.
  • Clean Air Zones will be rolled out in Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinborough, Greater Manchester.

With the introduction of these new Clean Air Zones, it’s hoped to improve air pollution and encourage the transition to electric.

If you have recently made the switch and are in need of a home EV charger, feel free to contact us at 03333 44 96 99 or fill out the contact form below, and one of our team will be in touch. We install nationwide and offer a range of the best home EV chargers on the market.

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Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.

Spread over a 60 month period.

Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.

You decide the amount of months.

Minimum of £1000.

We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.

Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.

Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

Overhead cable

We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation. 

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.