Clean Air Zones explained

By 29th January 2020Insights

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are increasingly talked about in the transport industry. Since London’s introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019, more cities have started to bring in measures to improve air quality. For fleets with operations inside these cities, the idea of CAZs and their potential fines or charges can be daunting and may justify investment in alternative vehicles.

Click below read our answers below to some of the most common questions surrounding CAZs.

What are Clean Air Zones?

  • A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is an area where measures are taken to improve air quality
  • These measures include restricting access for vehicles that fail to adhere to emission standards
  • Clean Air Zones can be large areas that cover whole parts of a city, or a single road that might liable to high levels air pollution
  • Some local authorities charge or fine certain vehicles for entering a CAZ
  • There are four classes of CAZ, each with different vehicle restrictions…
  • Fleets may be liable for a fine or charge across all classes of CAZ, so it’s worth calculating which of your vehicles will be restricted in which Class.

What vehicles are restricted?

  • Vehicles that fail to meet emission standards may be liable for a charge or fine when entering a Clean Air Zone (CAZ)
  • The emissions a vehicle produces and the class of CAZ determines the restrictions for each area
  • Buses, Coaches, and HGVs that fall below Euro VI standards may be charged
  • Cars, Vans, Taxis, and Minibuses that fall below Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) standards may be charged
  • Motorbikes and Mopeds that fall below Euro 3 standards may be charged

How do you know you're entering a Clean Air Zone?

  • All local authorities are required to clearly warn drivers when the are approaching, entering, and leaving a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), as well as provide information regarding charges and payments applicable to their vehicle.
  • Below is a summary of the signs driver can expect to see relating to CAZs:

Advanced warning signs will allow drivers to avoid a CAZ. These will be positioned at the last main junction that drivers can use to divert around a zone.

Entry signs will mark the start of a CAZ. Depending on their vehicle and the class of CAZ (A,B,C,D), drivers will be liable to pay charges and fines beyond this point.

Camera signs will be around the CAZ to to remind drivers that ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology is being used for enforcement purposes.

Exit signs mark the end of a CAZ and are positioned at all exit points. It’s worth drivers noting how to pay and the dealine for any charges that might have been incurred.

Where are the Clean Air Zones? What will it cost?

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) have been proposed across the UK. For London, the extension of the ULEZ means that fleet managers need to ensure that their vehicles either comply with the restrictions, or that they have factored in any charges or route changes that may occur.

Below is a list of some of the key areas that CAZs have been implemented or proposed. Use “CTRL+F” to quickly find the location that your fleet operates in.

Location Date of CAZ implementation Details
Bath 2020 Class B CAZ in the city centre by end of 2020. £100 for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches. £9 for non-compliant taxis and vans.
Birmingham 2020 Class D CAZ for all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, due July 2020. £50 for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches. £8 for non-compliant cars, taxis, LGVs and Minibuses.
Bristol 2021 Class B (predicted) CAZ in the city centre expected March 2021. Smaller zone where private diesel vehicles are banned 7am-3pm. Charges TBC.
Derby N/A No CAZ expected. Other non-charging traffic management measures proposed for the city centre.
London 2019/2021 Expansion of ULEZ to North and South circular roads planned for 2021. £12.50 for non-compliant cars, vans and motorcycles. £100 for non-compliant buses, lorries and coaches
Greater Manchester N/A No CAZ defined, but still under consideration. Other clean-air incentives are also being considered but are yet to be implemented.
Leeds 2020 Class B CAZ expected July 2020 to cover all roads within the boundary of the A61 and A63. Charges range from £12.50 (Taxis and PHV) to £50 (HGV, Buses and Coaches) per day for non-compliant vehicles.
Leicester 2021 Class C (predicted) CAZ expected by end of 2021. Boundary and charges TBC.
Nottingham N/A No plans for CAZ. Other clean-air measures being considered.
Sheffield 2021 Class C (predicted) CAZ for inside the inner ring road expected early 2021. Charges range from £10 (Taxis, PHV, LGV) to £50 (HGV, Buses and Coaches) per day for non-compliant vehicles.
Southampton N/A Non-charging CAZ to be continued. Other clean-air incentives are also being considered.

If your fleet operates in an area that isn’t on our list, take a look at your local authority’s website for more information about how CAZs might affect you.

What about Grey Fleet?

Grey fleet vehicles are vehicles that do not belong to the company, but are used for business travel.

Fleet managers must be aware that some of their grey fleet vehicles may not be able to complete some business journeys without incurring a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge, and should make arrangements for the liability of these charges.

A fleet management platform that shows the age and tax class of a grey fleet vehicle will allow fleet managers to make informed decisions about which of their grey fleet vehicles fall short of the CAZ criteria.

When making decisions about allowing them into a CAZ, it’s worth considering the type of vehicle (van or car), the class of CAZ (A,B,C,D), the charges, and the emission standards of any grey fleet vehicles.

Hopefully this guide has provided you with points to consider when updating your fleet policy on Clean Air Zones (CAZs), and will help to answer the key questions you should be asking:

  • “Which of my vehicles are liable to charges?”
    • Example answer: Three HGVs that are below Euro VI standards
  • “What class of clean air zone will my drivers be entering?”
    • Example answer: My drivers will be entering a Class B CAZ, so my LGVs will not be affected
  • “What will the cost of any potential charges be?”
    • Example answer: My non-compliant vehicles will be charged £50 per day
  • “Who will be responsible for paying any charges?”
    • Example answer: All charges picked up by ANPR will be the responsibility of the company, not the driver

CAZs represent just one element of driving that may have changed since your drivers last looked at the highway code. With continual changes to UK roads such as these, how do you ensure your drivers always have the most up-to-date information?

E-learning solutions such as CHOICES can be the answer, with bespoke modules that can be tailored to the needs of your fleet – including topics such as Clean Air zones. Additionally, we currently offer a limited number of Electric Vehicle Familiarisation courses free of charge, helping commercial drivers with the fundamentals of eco-safe driving.

Contact us today to find out more.

Peter Williams

Author Peter Williams

Marketing Executive at IAM RoadSmart

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