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Understanding (Ultra) Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones

At Places for People, we're here to share important information that can affect your daily life.  You may be aware that many cities and regions are now using (Ultra) Low Emission Zones (ULEZs) and Clean Air Zones (CAZs) to make the air cleaner and the environment healthier. This guide explains what these zones are, where they are, and how they might affect you, if you use a vehicle in these zones. We'll also tell you about discounts, schemes, and grants to help you adjust to these changes.

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What are (Ultra) Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones?

Low Emission Zones (LEZs)

LEZ (1)

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are specific areas where only vehicles meeting strict emission standards are allowed. These zones are designed to reduce air pollution, especially from vehicles that output harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx). 

Clean Air Zones (CAZs)

CAZ (1)

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) encourage cleaner transportation through specific measures and regulations that target vehicles used within these zones. 

Both LEZs and CAZs might charge vehicles based on their Euro Emission Standards. 

ULEZ rules

LEZs are typically based on the Euro Emission Standards for vehicles, which state the maximum level of pollutants. If your vehicle does not meet specific standards, then you could face a daily charge for using your vehicle within these zones.

Do I need to pay ULEZ?

You may need to pay ULEZ if your vehicle is:

  • Pre Euro 6 Diesel (Vehicles registered on or before 1st Sept 2015)
  • Pre Euro 4 Petrol (Vehicles registered on or before 1st Jan 2006)

Electric and Hybrid vehicles are eligible for discounts, exemptions, and unrestricted access. 

Find out if your vehicle is subject to the Low Emission Zones or Clean Air Zones regulations by visiting the Government website and entering your vehicle registration.

Clean Air Zone rules

Do I need to pay CAZ?

Clean Air Zones are divided into classes A-D. These classes determine which vehicles need to pay charges:

Class A: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles

Class B: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

Class C: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses

Class D: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses, cars (motorcycles may be included by local authorities)

Useful Tip – Before entering a clean air zone, always check the posted signs that indicate the classification. 

Reminder - D Zones have charges to cars that do not meet the Euro Emission Standards. 

Key Performance Vehicle Type CAZ Minimum Standard

Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles

Euro VI (6), typically those registered after September 2015
Vans, minivans, taxis, private hire vehicles and cars

Petrol Vehicles: Pre-Euro 4 standard, typically those registered before 2006.

Diesel Vehicles: Pre-Euro 6 standard, typically registered before 2015

Motorcycles Euro 3, typically registered after 2007 will be compliant

Where are these zones located and Active?

Several cities and regions have already introduced LEZs and CAZs, with more to follow. It is important to know where these zones are to understand their impact on your daily travel.

Zone Charges apply to Fee
London ULEZ Pre Euro 4 Petrol, Pre Euro 6 Diesels £12.50
 Birmingham CAZ Pre Euro 4 Petrol, Pre Euro 6 Diesels   £8.00
 Bristol CAZ  Pre Euro 4 Petrol, Pre Euro 6 Diesels  £9.00
 Oxford CAZ All cars excluding electric/hydrogen cars  £2.00-£10.00
 Glasgow ULEZ Outright ban on Pre Euro 4 Petrol & Pre Euro 6 Diesels   £60.00 (£30.00 if paid within 14 days)

If you're planning to drive through Clean Air Zones in the following areas, check the Government website to see if your vehicle qualifies for a CAZ charge. 

  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Greater Manchester
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield
  • Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead

What can you do? 

We understand that adjusting to these changes can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to minimise the impact:

  • Vehicle Upgrade: Consider a newer, eco-friendly vehicle meeting the emission standards.
  • Vehicle Check: Check your vehicle’s emissions status on the official government website or talk to an authorized dealer.
  • Greener Transportation: Try public transport, cycling, or walking for shorter journeys within the zones.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Incentives: Explore the available incentives, grants, and discounts for purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle, they may make an electric vehicle a more affordable and sustainable option.
  • ULEZ/CAZ Exemptions and Discounts: Find out if you qualify for any exemptions or discounts.

Schemes and Grants

  • EV Purchase Grants: Financial help to reduce the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle.
  • Charging Infrastructure Grants: Support for the installation of home charging points for electric vehicles through the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) grant scheme.
  • Low Emission Vehicle Loans: Low-interest loans to purchase a low-emission vehicle.
  • Cycling Initiatives: Schemes to promote cycling, including bike-sharing programs and cycle lane expansions.
  • Public Transportation Subsidies: Reduced fares or subsidies for public transportation users.

Additional support is available for Customers through offers on bikes, e-bikes, e-scooter hire, car/vans, find out more here.

Financial compensation for Customers is available for those looking to scrap non- compliant vehicles.


Exemptions from (Ultra) Low Emission Zones (ULEZs) and Clean Air Zones (CAZs) can vary depending on the specific regulations and policies implemented by different cities and regions. The following list provides examples of exemptions that have been commonly considered and applied in various locations. However, these may have evolved or changed, and it is important to check with the relevant local authorities for the most current and accurate information.

  • A low emission vehicle (Electric/Hybrid)
  • Some ULEZ and CAZs offer exemptions for residents living within the zone.
  • Blue Badge Holders.
  • Disabled and Disabled passenger vehicle tax class
  • Wheelchair accessible vehicles 

More detail on discounts and exemptions can be found here.