What is a Clean Air Zone and will it affect me?
With five Clean Air Zones planned to be operational by next year here in the UK, here’s the low down on what they are, where they will be and if they will affect you.
What’s a Clean Air Zone?
Back in 2015, the government announced the introduction of Clean Air Zones in a bid to improve the air quality in busy cities. A Clean Air Zone is an area where targeted action is going to be taken to improve air quality by tackling the dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide found in some of the country’s busiest cities.
With an estimated 40,000 premature deaths every year being linked to poor air quality, it’s hoped that each Clean Air Zone will help to reduce pollution as well as contribute towards the UK’s compliance with the EU’s clean air directive.
There will be two types of Clean Air Zones: charging and non-charging.
If you enter a charging zone, you will be charged a fee to do so if your vehicle fails to meet the required environmental standards. This will most likely be based on your car’s Euro emissions standard which can be found on the RAC website: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/euro-emissions-standards/. By introducing a fee for non-compliant cars, it’s hoped that this will reduce the number of vehicles giving off the most emissions from entering these areas.
Non-charging zones will focus on other methods of improving air quality including retrofitting certain vehicles, introducing traffic flow management to reduce vehicle emissions and re-routing traffic.
How will this affect me?
It was initially thought that Clean Air Zones would only apply to buses, taxis and HGVs. Following a legal challenge however, this was extended to include non-compliant private vehicles. This means that private motorists will be affected as well as commercial operators.
Local authorities will be responsible for deciding which level of restriction to apply. There will be four classes of Clean Air Zone:
- Class A – Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
- Class B – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
- Class C – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
- Class D – Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars
Vehicles exempt from any charges or restrictions include:
- Buses, coaches and HGVs that meet Euro VI emissions standards
- Cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards
- Ultra-low emission vehicles with a significant zero-emission range
Where are these Clean Air Zones?
Five cities have been mandated by the government to introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020. These include, Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Southampton and Birmingham. Hot off the press, Ministers have just approved Birmingham’s plans for their Clean Air Zone. Follow this link to read more: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/13/ministers-approve-birminghams-clean-air-zone/
23 other local authorities that are expected to reach illegal levels of pollution by 2021, have been asked to carry out feasibility studies to assess whether or not they will need Clean Air Zones.
What can you do?
If you drive a non-compliant vehicle and travel regularly, especially to the areas listed above, why not look at leasing an electric vehicle? Electric vehicles will be exempt from any charge for Clean Air Zones so could be a viable option to reduce your ongoing motoring costs. Personal car leasing is becoming an ever more popular way for people to drive a brand new car that allows them to get the most up to date technology.