In an attempt to reduce the levels of toxic NO2 in the air, Birmingham will be introducing a Clean Air Zone in the city centre. This means vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards will be charged for every day they drive into the defined area. The zone is set to start in July 2020, so will be arriving imminently.
The Birmingham Clean Air Zone is being introduced in response to the city failing to deliver on targets for increasing the air quality. It is designed to prevent the highest polluting vehicles from entering the centre, therefore reducing the pollution in the local air.
Currently, the clean air zone is expected to start on the 1st July 2020. As long as this date remains in place, any non-compliant vehicle entering the zone will have to pay the charge or risk a fine.
The zone was initially planned for January 2020 but was delayed due to delays in delivering the equipment and software needed. There is potential for it to be delayed again, but as of yet, the 1st July is still the planned date.
The Clean Air Zone covers the centre of Birmingham. The boundaries are clearly defined by the A4540 road circling the centre. The map here, identifies the affected area.
Once started, the Birmingham Clean Air Zone will apply at all times. The CAZ any relevant charges will have affect 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
For most non-compliant vehicles the charge is £8 per day. This includes non-compliant cars, taxis, LGVs and minibuses. For larger vehicles, over 3.5 tonnes, the charge is £50 per day.
The charge operates on a day rate meaning if cars repeatedly go in and out of the area on the same day, the charge will apply once.
If a car is already in the area on a particular day, but has not been driven and remained park, it will not be subject to the charge.
The charge will be payable via an online portal, similar to that of the Dartford Tunnel or London Congestion Charge.
There is a clear line in defining what cars will have to the pay the charge or not. Any Diesel Car not conforming to the Euro 6 Emission standards and any Petrol Cars not at least conforming to the Euro 4 standard will be subject to the charge.
Unfortunately for the average driver it’s not easy for them to identify whether their cars conform to the Euro 6 or Euro 4 standard. As a general rule, Diesel vehicles registered before the 1st September 2015 and Petrol vehicles registered before the 1st January 2006 will be subject to the charge.
This general rule can vary so you can check if your vehicle is affected by the CAZ using the government’s online checker.
When it comes to Hybrid vehicles, the same rules apply. The Diesel or Petrol part of the engine must meet the same standards.
There are a few exemptions to the introduction of the Birmingham Clean Air Zone, with the main one’s being for Residents and Commuters. A summary of these can be found below.
Residents within the zone
Residents are exempt from the charge for any vehicles registered at their address
2 years from when the CAZ is introduced
Commuters earning less than £30,000 per year
Selected commuters traveling to a registered place of work within the Zone are exempt. They are also offered a £2,000 travel card or contribution towards changing vehicle if they scrap their non-compliant vehicle
1 year after the CAZ is introduced.
Visitors to Hospitals
Those visiting Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Badger Medical or Attwood Green Health Centre Will be exempt
1 year after the CAZ is introduced.
Vehicles with disabled or disabled passenger tax class.
Note, this does not apply to Blue Badge Holders and only vehicles in tax class 85.
No Time Limit
Taxis are not exempt from the zone, however they can apply for various forms of support towards changing to a lower emission vehicle.
There will almost definitely be penalties for unpaid charges. Exact plans are still to be confirmed, but they are currently planned at £120. This penalty would be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
If you live in or regularly travel to the centre of Birmingham, we recommend that you check whether your vehicle is compliant early so you can be prepared.
If you’re already looking at changing your vehicle, it’d be best to make sure that your new car meets the required emissions standard.
If you’re not looking at changing your car and you regular travel into Birmingham, it may be worth considering if public transport is a viable alternative. If it isn’t, then changing your car now may make financial sense considering the savings you could make by not paying the CAZ charge.
All of our new cars meet the latest emissions standard so won’t be subject to the Clean Air Zone Charge. Similarly, all of our petrol used cars and most of our diesel cars will meet the required standard. Just ask us if you want to be sure.
Alternatively, you might want to consider an electric or hybrid car. Oxford is introducing a Zero Emissions Zone and it is likely that more and more places will impose tighter restriction on vehicles driving in their city. An electric or hybrid vehicle might be a safer long term option for these cases.
Find out more about our New and Used Electric and Hybrid range
Please note, this page is as accurate as possible at the time of creation (February 2020). All plans and details may change at a later date.