By RAM Tracking on 25 Apr 2023

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was first introduced in London in 2017 to tackle the high levels of pollution in the city and improve the general health of its citizens. Since then, 8 major cities around the UK have introduced their own variations of these zones. It can be difficult to keep track of each city’s zones and their rules, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you avoid hefty fines.

London Clean Air Zone

The initial aim of introducing the ULEZ was to improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles in London that don’t meet their emission standards. According to Transport for London: 94% of vehicles driving in the current zone now meet the strict emission standards, which is significantly higher than the 39% in 2017 when the ULEZ was first introduced. 

Despite all this progress, pollution levels are still high across all of London, so from the 29th of August 2023, the ULEZ will be expanded across all London boroughs.

Bath and Birmingham Clean Air Zone

Introduced in 2021, the Bath and Birmingham Clean Air Zones (CAZ) have made major differences in their city’s air pollution. Bath introduced theirs in 2020 and by the end of 2021, it has helped replace 772 polluting vehicles with cleaner, compliant ones. Bath operates a Class C CAZ. This means that taxis, vans, HGVs, LGVs, buses, and coaches are all charged to enter the zone daily if they do not comply with the required emissions standards. 

In Birmingham, the CAZ operates all hours of the day, every day of the year in the city centre. You don’t have to pay the CAZ fine if you drive a hybrid/electric vehicle or if your car meets emission standards

Bradford and Bristol Clean Air Zone

Bradford operates a C+ class clean air zone, meaning It does not apply to passenger cars, motorbikes, taxis, and private vehicles. This CAZ was started in 2022 and has seen a 9% reduction in traffic volumes since. 

Since starting in 2022, Bristol’s CAZ has seen 71% of vehicles meet the zone’s emission standards.

The charges don’t apply to:

  • Euro 6 diesel vehicles
  • Fully electric and hydrogen-fuel vehicles
  • Modified or retrofitted vehicles
  • Motorbikes

Portsmouth, Sheffield, and Newcastle Clean Air Zone

Started in 2021, Portsmouth’s CAZ has been widely successful thanks to their relaxed approach to lowering pollution levels and reducing emissions over time. Portsmouth’s CAZ only applies to:

  • HGVs
  • Buses and coaches
  • Taxi and private hire vehicles
  • Larger motorhomes

On the other hand, Sheffield and Newcastle’s CAZ were only recently introduced in early 2023. Sheffield’s applies to HGVs, LGVs, vans, taxis, buses, and coaches. In Newcastle, private cars, motorbikes, or vehicles that meet the minimum emission standards aren’t charged.

Manchester CAZ

Initially planned for 2022, Manchester’s CAZ was delayed due to the pandemic. The council saw a rise in costs for both the project and their citizens with the cost-of-living crisis and, as a result, felt it wasn’t a priority. Their new plan is to meet the legal limits for air pollution without introducing a Clean Air Zone charge. Greater Manchester leaders do not believe charging vehicles is necessary and are providing the government with evidence to support an investment-led, non-charging clean air plan.

ULEZ and CAZ charge

As each area provides a different charge, we understand it can be a little confusing.

We’ve compiled all the known ULEZ and CAZ charges in UK cities as of May 2023:

  • London ULEZ:

- £12.50 daily charge to drive inside the zone if your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ emission standards and isn’t exempt. 

- If your car, van, motorcycle, caravan, or minibus does not meet the ULEZ emission standards and you haven’t paid the correct charge you will be fined up to £180.

  • Bath CAZ:

- Private cars and motorbikes are not required to pay to drive within the CAZ. coaches, buses, trucks, HGVs, and lorries must pay £100 a day to drive within the affected areas. 

  • Birmingham CAZ:

- If your vehicle doesn’t meet the CAZ standards, you must pay £8 a day for taxis, cars and LGVs or £50 a day for coaches and HGVs. 

- You’ll get a £120 penalty charge if you do not pay.

  • Bradford CAZ:

- Charges do not apply to private cars or motorcycles (even if you use them for work) 

- HGVs, buses, and coaches must pay £50 if they are non-compliant. 

- Minibuses and LGVs must pay £9.

- Hackney carriages and hire vehicles must pay £7.

  • Bristol CAZ: 

- If you do not pay Bristol’s CAZ charge, you can face a fine of up to £120. Bristol’s daily charges are as follows:

- Private petrol and diesel cars, taxis and LGVs must pay £9.

- HGVs, buses, and coaches must pay £100.

  • Portsmouth CAZ:

- In Portsmouth, there are no daily charges for private cars, motorcycles, and vans. 

- Non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles must pay £10 per day and non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches must pay £50 per day.

  • Sheffield CAZ:

- £50 per day for larger vehicles – such as buses, coaches, and HGVs

- £10 per day for smaller vehicles – such as taxis and LGVs.

- Larger campervans and motorhomes can apply for a discounted rate, reducing the charge amount to £10.

  • Newcastle CAZ:

- Private cars, motorbikes and low-emission vehicles do not have to pay.

- Non-compliant buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £50 per day, while non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged £12.50 per day.

  • Manchester CAZ:

- There is currently no charge to drive in Manchester’s CAZ.

How can I avoid a fine?

It is essential to be aware of the ULEZ and CAZ charges in the UK to avoid the hefty fines and RAM Tracking’s vehicle tracking software can help you with that. By utilising our geofencing tool, you can avoid fines and keep drivers out of the paid areas, monitor idling to ensure your drivers are being as environmentally friendly as possible and meet regular maintenance needs.

Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help your business save money and decrease your carbon footprint!

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