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UK cities introducing clean air zones to penalise polluting vehicles

UK cities introducing clean air zones to penalise polluting vehicles

20th June, 2022

As we move forward with the times, reducing air pollution and improving the overall quality of life is becoming a key consideration in policy making decisions. That said, many major cities will be following in London’s footsteps, as more Clean Air and Zero Emission Zones will be introduced across the UK in the years to come.

Low emissions zones, often referred to as LEZs or sometimes CAZs (clean air zone), are inner-city areas that drivers of some highly polluting vehicles must pay to drive through.

The aim is to encourage drivers to use newer, less polluting vehicles, such as electric cars or plug-in hybrids, or make the switch to walking, cycling or using public transport. It’s a move that takes us one step closer to the petrol and diesel ban.

London has two zones: the Low Emission Zone, which covers most of the capital, and the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which features stricter regulations and covers an area up to the North and South Circular roads.

You can find out if your vehicle meets emissions and safety standards required to drive in London, or if you need to pay a daily charge by clicking here. Fines incurred for not paying the fee are rather expensive, so it’s important to check before making your trip.

Cars exempt from London’s existing zones include electric cars and low-emitting plug-in hybrid vehicles, and it’s likely any future changes to other schemes across the country would follow the same path.

Here’s an idea of what you can expect from other major cities:

Glasgow city centre was the first area in Scotland to have a low emission zone. It came into effect on 31st December, 2018. The first phase affects local buses, while the second will see all vehicles needing to meet certain emissions standards to be able to enter the zone, and this will be introduced in 2023.

Aberdeen will introduce a Low Emissions Zone later in 2022, though no exact date has been confirmed yet. Dundee has also proposed the idea.

Edinburgh has looked at options from limiting HGVs to applying charges to all vehicles entering the zone, but again, nothing has been confirmed.

You can find out more about the Scottish LEZs on the Low Emission Zones Scotland website.

In England, Bristol’s clean air zone starts in summer 2022 and you can find more details on

Bath launched its Clean Air Zone in March 2021 which only affects business-use vehicles like taxis and HGVs if they don’t meet certain emissions standards.

Birmingham’s  Clean Air Zone covers all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road and applies to all private vehicles. It’s been in operation since June 2021.

A Clean Air Zone across Greater Manchester was expected to launch in 2022, but has been delayed.

Newcastle City Council had planned to introduce a Clean Air Zone in the city centre in January 2021, though it has now been delayed.

A pilot for Oxford’s zero emission zone, which covers five streets in the centre, started on 28 February this year and could be expanded.

Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone won’t affect private vehicles for the time being — though older taxis, vans and large vehicles will be subject to a charge for entering the zone.

LGVs and taxis will have to pay £10 a day, with coaches, buses and HGVs subject to a £50 fee. It’s expected to be introduced in late 2022.

After 2030, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned and, eventually, only electric vehicles will be allowed on the roads. The introduction of more Ultra Low Emission Zones is one of many tactics being made to help us achieve a greener future as a country. Other moves, like the nationwide installation of electric vehicle charging points in new homes and buildings, are also taking place.

Perhaps you already own an electric vehicle – or maybe you’re thinking of getting one? If so, One Eco Charge can help you find a great deal on the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charging point for your home. Feel free to visit their website or give them a call on 01302 5655509.

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* Please note that the above information has been gathered through secondary research. The information provided is not based on our opinion. You should seek further guidance and information before making an informed decision.

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