Clean Air Zones within the UK

The UK Government is in the process of introducing ‘Clean Air Zones’, with the aim to improve air quality by setting legal limits for air pollution. Bristol’s ‘Clean Air Zone’ is the next to come into effect during the Summer of 2022 after Portsmouth in November 2021. 

In a bid to reduce pollution within England the UK Government has set a legal limit for pollution and has been introducing a ‘Clean Air Zone’ in a variety of cities, to ensure that these limits are met by the vehicles driving through.

Air pollution is majorly caused by road traffic, in particular vehicles with diesel engines. Given that the effects of air pollution are felt by so many, especially by children, older people, and those with heart, breathing and underlying health conditions. Additional information on key air pollutants, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, other pollutants and their effects can be found on the government website.

The Bristol ‘Clean Air Zone’ comes into effect during the Summer of 2022 and is one of the next ‘Clean Air Zones’ to be introduced following Bath back on 15 March 2021, Birmingham on 01 June 2021 and Portsmouth on 29 November 2021.

Each ‘Clean Air Zone’ is condensed to a specific area, usually the city centre, with the aim in reducing the amount of pollution exposure to the public. The ‘Clean Air Zone’ specifically aims to place ‘restrictions on the highest polluting vehicles’, ‘encourage the use of cleaner vehicles’ and ‘encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transports’.

There are four different types of zones, categorised to break down the different types of vehicles restricted within the different zone classes. These are Zones A, B, C and D; broken down on the table shown here. Full information on all the zones and how they are broken down are displayed on the Government website.

Although the zones do come with charges for those vehicles emitting heavier air pollution the ‘Clean Air Zone’ also offers benefits to the drivers of today such as ‘loans and grants to help people switch to a cleaner vehicle or less polluting forms of transport’, ‘changes to traffic signal timings to improve traffic flows’ and ‘increased priority for buses, such as bus lanes and priority at traffic signals’.

Whilst no vehicles are banned within the ‘Clean Air Zones’ certain types of vehicles, older and/or more polluting vehicles are required to pay a daily charge for travelling within a zone.

The charges do not apply to Euro 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles, (vehicles from approximately 2006 onwards) or Euro 6 diesel vehicles, (vehicles from approximately 2015 onwards). Some other national and local exemptions apply, and full lists can be found on the Government website.

When travelling around the UK with your Motorhome / Campervan it’s important to check in on the cities you’re travelling through prior to your arrival there, this is to ensure you're complying with any active ‘Clean Air Zones’ within the different locations. As, unfortunately, if the daily charges are not paid for to cover your vehicle whilst you're driving through the ‘Clean Air Zone’ large fines may follow from local authorities.

For full information on the ‘Clean Air Zone’ fees follow the below;