Air Quality Plan and Clean Air Zones

The UK is currently in breach of air pollution limits set by the European Commission

Friday 06 April 2018

The UK is currently in breach of air pollution limits set by the European Commission.

The Government was instructed to release a plan to reduce emissions. The Air Quality Plan was released in July 2017 and predominantly calls for the introduction of CAZs, positioned at multiple hot spot locations across the UK.

The vehicle standards for entering these CAZs will be Euro VI for diesel and Euro IV for petrol, any non-compliant vehicles will be charged upon entry to the zone, but not banned. The charges have yet to be confirmed, however FTA estimates it could be £20 per day for vans and £100 per day for HGVs.

There will be two phases to the UK’s Air Quality Plan, the first relates to London and the first five zones; Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton are expected to deliver their clean air zones by the end of 2019. London and Southampton will be in place by April 2019, the others are to be confirmed. All are now expected to include HGVs and vans.

The second phase relates to the additional 23 zones that will also be required across the UK, the feasibility studies for these areas will need to be completed no later than the 31st March 2018, local authorities then have until 31st December to identify their preferred option for their clean air zone. It should also be noted that unlike London, these clean air zones will only be enforced as long as they are needed, once emissions have reached a safe, compliant level, the zones will no longer be required, and should come to a close. Their exact duration however is unknown.

The Government have released a hierarchy of vehicles, in four chargeable CAZ categories;

  • Category A- buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Category B- buses, coaches, (HGVs) taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Category C- buses, coaches, HGVs, vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Category D- buses, coaches, HGVs, vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles, cars, motorcycles and mopeds

These categories have been shared with the local authorities affected and will guide them when selecting the vehicles included within their chargeable CAZ to achieve their emission reduction target. The local authorities are unable to deviate from the categories and must select the categories in the order provided.

Although not officially released, it is anticipated that Sheffield and Middlesbrough clean air zones will include HGVs and taxis. Bath, Greater Manchester, Bristol, Coventry, Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside will include HGV’s. Rotherham, New Forest, Fareham, Farnborough, Aldershot, Camberley and Guildford will be buses only and therefore non-chargeable.

Where can I find advice?

Look at our latest notes on UK Urban Restrictions and Charges.

What is FTA campaigning for?

FTA are offering to work with the local authorities affected, to assist them in the development of their plans so that they can achieve their NO2 reduction target whilst also supporting businesses and the economy given the short lead times for businesses to adapt.

Find out more

Contact Rebecca Kite, Environment Policy Manager at FTA