Clean Air Zones FAQ

What is a Clean Air Zone (CAZ)?

Affected local authorities have been instructed to produce comprehensive action plans detailing how they will reduce all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, using a range of activities tailored to the specific needs of that zone’s location.

Cities with the most persistent air quality problems will apply restrictions to encourage only the cleanest vehicles to operate within the boundaries of their CAZ. This could take the form of a charging CAZ, where any vehicle not meeting the specified emission standards will be required to pay a fee to operate within the boundaries of that zone, or it may even introduce a total ban of any non-compliant vehicle.

Wherever CAZs are implemented, the BVRLA believes that a strong partnership between the fleet sector, national government, local authorities, businesses and communities can help combat air pollution and improve everyone’s quality of life.

What is being proposed?

There are four grades of charging Clean Air Zones (CAZ) that local authorities can consider implementing, as set out in the Government’s national framework.

Class A

Has the fewest restrictions, and only charges buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles.

Minimum standards required for compliance are listed below:

Vehicle type

Compliance standards

Buses

Euro VI

Coaches

Euro VI

Taxis

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Private Hire Vehicles

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

 

Class B

Charges HGVs in addition to the vehicles listed for Class A.

Minimum standards required for compliance are listed below:

Vehicle type

Compliance standards

Buses

Euro VI

Coaches

Euro VI

Taxis

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Private hire vehicles

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

HGVs

Euro VI

 

Class C

Charges LGVs in addition to all those listed for Class B.

Minimum standards required for compliance are listed below:

Vehicle type

Compliance standards

Buses

Euro VI

Coaches

Euro VI

Taxis

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Private hire vehicles

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

HGVs

Euro VI

LGVs

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

 

Class D

Charges cars in addition to all those listed for Class C.

Minimum standards required for compliance are listed below:

Vehicle type

Compliance standards

Buses

Euro VI

Coaches

Euro VI

Taxis

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Private hire vehicles

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

HGVs

Euro VI

LGVs

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Cars

Euro 6 (Diesel) Euro 4 (Petrol)

Motorcycles and mopeds (optional)

  Euro 3

 

There are three distinct groupings of local authorities considering a variety of air quality improvement measures including Clean Air Zones (CAZ). The BVRLA has produced a map and collated resources for all of the locations instructed by the government to formulate clean air action plans:

Stage 1: The first five

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) asked five cities which are currently not compliant with EU emissions standards to consider implementing CAZs in their respective city centres in 2020. These cities were Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, and Southampton. Following consultation with residents and stakeholders (including the BVRLA), the cities submitted final plans to Defra by the end of 2018, with only Leeds and Birmingham opting to put in place a charging Clean Air Zone. 

Although the exact cost for non compliant vehicles varies from city to city, the range most commonly considered for daily charging is as follows:

 

Class

Buses / coaches

Taxis / PHVs

HGVs

Vans

Cars

Birmingham

D

£50-£100

£12.50

£50-£100

£12.50

£6-£12.50

Southampton

B

£100

£12.50

£100

No charge

No charge

Leeds

B

£50

£12.50*

£50

No charge

No charge

Nottingham

No CAZ

 

 

 

 

 

Derby

No CAZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Or £50 per week for Leeds’ licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles.

Stage 2: The second round of 23 

The Government asked a further 23 councils in England to produce Local Action Plans to tackle hot spots of severe air pollution in their area. Final outlines of plans were due at the end of 2018. The 23 local authorities are:

  • Basildon Borough Council
  • Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Bristol City Council 
  • Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Coventry City Council 
  • Fareham Borough Council 
  • Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Guildford Borough Council 
  • Manchester City Council 
  • Middlesbrough Borough Council
  • New Forest District Council 
  • Newcastle City Council 
  • North Tyneside Council 
  • Rochford District Council 
  • Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Salford City Council 
  • Sheffield City Council 
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council 
Stage 3: The further 33

In addition to the original five cities and the extra 23 listed above, the Government, following a legal ruling in 2018, also requested plans to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in a further 33 local authority areas. Councils had until 31st July 2018 to submit proposals and a final supplementary plan for these additional areas was due by 5th October 2018. These 33 areas are listed below:

  • Ashfield District Council
  • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
  • Blaby District Council
  • Bolsover District Council
  • Bournemouth Borough Council
  • City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Broxbourne Borough Council 
  • Burnley Borough Council 
  • Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Cheltenham Borough Council 
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Kirklees Council 
  • Leicester City Council 
  • Liverpool City Council 
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
  • Oldham Council 
  • Oxford City Council 
  • Peterborough City Council 
  • Plymouth City Council 
  • Poole Borough Council 
  • Portsmouth City Council 
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • South Gloucestershire Council 
  • South Tyneside Council 
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council 
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council 
  • Sunderland City Council 
  • Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Walsall Council 
  • City of Wolverhampton Council 

 

What is BVRLA calling for?

The BVRLA has carried out a series of policy roundtables in four of the English cities (Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham), plus a further event in Glasgow. The objective of these events was to ensure the voice of the fleet sector in agreeing the final CAZ standards, and that the resulting zone would be impactful in reducing NOx emissions, cost-effective, and business-friendly.

1. Restrict use of CAZs

Given their disruptive effects on local businesses and people, and limited benefits, CAZs should only be used where absolutely necessary. Where they are required they should be as a small as possible to minimise disruption.

2. Smart use of road space

Giving hauliers the flexibility to deliver at night would result in a lot of freight vehicles moving off congested urban roads during peak business hours. Allowing HGVs to use bus lanes outside of commuting hours would enable them to operate as efficiently as possible and avoid them sitting in congestion idling. A lorry stuck in congestion, stopping and accelerating back up to 30mph three times a mile triples fuel consumption compared to cruising at a constant speed. In addition, the Government needs to provide local authorities with sufficient guidance and resources to identify congestion hotspots and improve traffic management. This could reduce emissions and minimise the need to charge any road users, including HGVs.

3. Location-based exemptions

Consideration should be given to providing selected route-based HGV charge exemptions for certain essential locations within Clean Air Zones. These should include vehicle dealerships and Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs), where test lane capacity is already an issue across parts of the UK. There may also be a case for providing other route exemptions for large logistics hubs that are situated just inside a CAZ and involve minimal transport within an urban area.

4. Phased charging

A reduced Euro V charge would maintain residual values for these vehicles, thus making it easier for operators to sell them and fund an upgrade to a compliant Euro VI truck. It would also provide a lower cost upgrade for operators that are never going to be able to afford a brand-new truck. This temporary measure would help accelerate the removal of the 20% of the HGV market that is likely to still be Euro IV or under at the end of 2020. One suggested approach to such a phased system would see lower Clean Air Zone charges applied to Euro V lorries initially, with charges increasing as the proportion of Euro VI vehicles in the lorry fleet rises between 2020 and 2024.

5. Retrofit

There is a danger that retrofit is being given undue prominence as a potential solution for upgrading non-CAZ compliant vehicles. There is currently no retrofit option for heavier commercial vehicles.

6. Consistent Clean Air Zones

As far as possible, local authorities should adhere to common clean air zone standards in terms of hours of operation, signage, communications and use of mitigation measures and exemptions. As many businesses will operate within multiple cities and regions daily it is vital that a standardised approach is developed to avoid confusion and improve the ease of compliance for drivers.

What actions has the BVRLA taken?

The BVRLA has been campaigning for a fleet-friendly approach to improving air quality in the UK's most polluted cities ever since the first Clean Air Zones (CAZs) were announced. 

Roundtables

Throughout 2017 and 2018 the BVRLA co-hosted a series of roundtables with the Energy Savings Trust, Fleet News and ACFO in four of the first five cities considering a CAZ (Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, and Nottingham) as well as in Glasgow, the first of the Scottish cities to take steps towards a Low Emisison Zone (LEZ). These roundtbales offered a forum for local authority representatives to meet with local fleet operators and BVRLA members to discuss the impact and implementation of potetial CAZs in their city. 

Resources

Following the roundtable discussions the BVRLA has produced a series of recommendations for local authrorities who are considering how to implement a CAZ. These recommendations are outlined within the association's 'Fleet-friendly Air Quality' factsheet for policy makers. Similarly the BVRLA has worked with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), and the Frieght Transport Association (FTA) to produce a bespoke factsheet on the impact of CAZs on HGVs. 

Influencing Decision Makers

The BVRLA has regular contact with policy makers in the cities currently considering CAZs, as well as at a national level with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU). Furthermore, the association meets with senior MPs, Peers and other engaged stakeholders frequently to discuss air quality measures and plans, including with relevant select committe members and chairs. Finally, the BVRLA has met with both Environment Minister, Dr Therese Coffey MP and Transport Minister, Jesse Norman MP during 2018 on the subject of CAZs and in particular the Government's vision on the use of charging CAZs across the UK. 

 

When will this happen?

  • 2015

The first five cities are instructed to investigate the implementation of clean measures including CAZs.

  • 2018

Following a court case, an additional 33 local authrorities are instructed to consider air quality measures including, potentially, the introduction of a CAZ.

  • October 2018

The air quality plans for the first five cities approved by Government.

  • November 2018

Bath and Slough consult on their air quality plans.

  • December 2018

The 23 Local Authorities under instruction in the second wave of Government CAZ mandates submit their final plans.

  • April 2019

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) begins operation.

  • May 2019

Greater Manchester Combined Authority launches an informal, initial consultaion on clean air proposals. 

  • July 2019

Bristol and Sheffield City Councils launch their CAZ consultations. Respondents have until August 2019 to respond. 

  • October 2019

10 local authorities instructed as part of the third wave of 33 clean air cities are due to report back their findings from additional monitoring and assessment of pollution management in their location. 

  • 2020

Birmingham and Leeds City Councils are due to launch their charging Clean Air Zones at some point during 2020. 

Which cities are considering a Clean Air Zone?

A map and details of cities mandated to consider clean air measures, including the implementation of a CAZ, is available on the BVRLA website:

 

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