Clean Air Zone FAQ's

General FAQ's

  Question  Answer
1. What is a Clean Air Zone? 

A Clean Air Zone is an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality, particularly because of pollution from road vehicles.  

In Birmingham, we are introducing a charging Clean Air Zone, where the most polluting vehicles must pay if they wish to drive in the zone.

2.  When will the Clean Air Zone be introduced? 
 

The Clean Air Zone has been delayed due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.  The zone will now be launched in 2021.  The exact date will be announced this summer. We recommend signing up for our Expression of Interest via the link below to ensure you get the most up to date information from the Clean Air Zone team:

https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/1/welcome/15/express-interest 

3. What is air pollution and what causes it? 

Air pollution has two main parts: 

• Exhaust fumes from vehicle engines contain a group of gases called nitrogen oxides. These include nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a harmful gas produced by burning fossil fuels like petrol and diesel.

• Particulate matter (PM) is made up of partially-burned fuel – petrol or diesel – together with engine oils, tiny specks from worn tyres, brake discs and road dust. 

4. Why is a Clean Air Zone being implemented in Birmingham? 

Up to 900 deaths a year in Birmingham are caused by air pollution, mostly caused by road transport and the increased use of diesel vehicles. By contrast, there are, on average, fewer than 30 deaths resulting from collisions on Birmingham’s roads each year. The Clean Air Zone will reduce air pollution and improve the health of Birmingham’s citizens. 

We also have a legal duty to reduce levels of NO2 in the air to an average of 40μg/m3 as soon as possible. Once we reach that target, we want to continue to lower the amount of NO2 and PM in the air as far as possible. 

5. Which roads are in the Clean Air Zone?  Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will cover all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself. A map is available at https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/3/clean-airzone/2/clean-air-zone-1 showing the boundary of the zone. 
 
6. What types of vehicles are charged to enter the Clean Air Zone?

Birmingham is implementing a “CAZ D” Clean Air Zone which means that buses, coaches, HGVs (lorries), LGVs (vans), taxis (including private hire vehicles and Hackney/black cabs) and cars that are not compliant will be charged to enter the CAZ.

Mopeds/motorcycles will not be charged for entering the CAZ. 

7. Which vehicles are compliant?

To avoid paying to drive in the Clean Air Zone your vehicle will need to meet certain criteria, depending on the fuel type:

  • Diesel – Euro 6 (VI) standard or better (roughly end of 2015 onwards)     
  • Petrol or LPG added to original petrol engine – Euro 4 standard or better (roughly 2006 onwards)   
  • Gas – Euro 6 (VI) standard or better   
  • Fully electric or hydrogen fuel cell – all are compliant and avoid CAZ charges     
  • Hybrid electric – the diesel/petrol engine must meet the relevant criteria above 

If your vehicle does not meet the criteria above, you might be able to make it compliant by fitting a retrofit technology. This must be approved by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS). 
Mopeds/motorcycles will not be charged for entering the CAZ. 
 
A Vehicle Checker has been developed by the DVLA and is now available for public usage.  This Checker enables users to immediately determine whether their vehicle is compliant by entering their registration details. 

8. How do I check if my vehicle is compliant?

The DVLA has developed a Vehicle Checker to check vehicle compliance for Clean Air Zones in Birmingham and Leeds.

https://www.gov.uk/check-clean-air-zone-charge 

The date your vehicle was registered also gives a good indication: 

Emissions standard Applied to most new registrations from 
Euro 4 1 January 2006 
Euro 5 1 January 2011 
Euro 6 1 September 2015* 

*Some vehicles registered between 1 September 2015 and 1 September 2016 are Euro 5. All new registrations from 1 September 2016 are Euro 6. 

Please note: The Birmingham Clean Air Zone vehicle standards are not the same as those for the London ULEZ, so if you have previously checked your potential compliance via the ULEZ tool, you will need to check this again on the DVLA Vehicle Checker.

9. I have a Euro 4 or Euro 6 vehicle but the vehicle checker says I have to pay.  Why? 

Some Euro 4 and Euro 6 vehicles that were registered close to the date that these emission standards were introduced are being shown as non-compliant in the Birmingham Clean Air Zone.  The vehicle checker is a new service and results are continuously being improved.  If you believe your result to be incorrect you will need to contact the DVLA via the link below to have your vehicle details updated. 

https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/caz 

10. Why is my vehicle showing as chargeable in Birmingham but not Leeds or London? 

Leeds are not charging private vehicles in their proposed Clean Air Zone so all private vehicles will show as not having to pay a charge. 

It is not clear what data the London Ultra Low Emission Zone compliance checker utilises so we would recommend always checking compliance using the official DVLA checker on our website: 

https://www.gov.uk/check-clean-air-zone-charge 

11.  Why do I have to pay to enter the City Centre? 

This is not a charge to visit the city centre, or a congestion charge.  This is a charge for the most polluting vehicles only. 

Roughly two thirds of vehicles entering the CAZ are compliant, so it is essential for users to check their compliance in advance of using the zone or making applications for exemptions/incentives, as they may already be compliant and face no charge/further action.

We would prefer that the most polluting vehicles are not used in the Clean Air Zone and that people change their habits, switching to walking, cycling, public transport, cleaner vehicles or avoid the area. The cost is intended to encourage people to make these changes. 

However, we will not ban any vehicles from the CAZ, so if people do still choose to use a more polluting vehicle, they will have to pay the daily charge. 

12.  What is the daily charge for entering the Clean Air Zone? 

If your vehicle is not CAZ compliant the daily charge to drive in the CAZ will be:  

  • £8 for cars, taxis (Hackney Carriages/black cabs & Private Hire), LGVs (vans)           
  • £50 for HGVs (trucks and lorries), coaches and buses. 
13. How can I pay the Clean Air Zone Charge? 

There are several ways you will be able to pay the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge including online and by phone with the JAQU (Joint Air Quality Unit) National Helpdesk (tel: 0300 028 0300 029 8888. You will only have to pay the charge once per day, no matter how many times you leave and re-enter the CAZ.  

More details on the Clean Air Zone payment system will be released as they are confirmed.  Register online to keep up to date with CAZ developments at: (www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/1/welcome/15/express-interest). 

14. What are the timings for the Clean Air Zone? 

The CAZ is due to become operational in 2021. It will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  A day’s use runs from midnight to midnight.  

Please note: as an example, if you make a journey into the CAZ (with a non-compliant vehicle)at 10pm and leave at 1am, you would be liable for 2 x daily charges, as you would have entered the next daily charging phase (from midnight onwards). 

15. If I go in and out of the city centre several times a day do I have to pay several CAZ charges? 

The charges will be applied daily and run from midnight to midnight. A non-compliant vehicle driving in the CAZ will pay once for the day, and then may drive in the CAZ area without limit on that day. 

Users of the CAZ will be able to pay the charge up to 6 days in advance of their visit, on the day of the visit itself, or within 6 days after the visit.  Failure to pay during this period will result in an additional fine of up to £120 (reduced to £60, if paid within 14-days).  

16. How will the Clean Air Zone be enforced? 

Drivers of non-compliant vehicles who drive in the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will be responsible for paying the CAZ charge – they will not be sent a bill.  Signage warning of the CAZ boundaries is in the process of being erected and will cover all sections of the CAZ, ensuring users/drivers are fully aware before entering and leaving the CAZ.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology will be used to identify which vehicles enter the Clean Air Zone. Vehicles that are not CAZ compliant and not exempt will be identified and charged. 

The ANPR technology will be used within the CAZ as well as on the perimeter. This will ensure that non-compliant vehicles are charged for every day that they move within the zone and are not able to evade charges by not leaving and re-entering the CAZ.  

17. What alternative travel options are there
  • Walk or cycle: If your journey is less than 2 miles, consider walking, or less than 5 miles, consider cycling. Google will plan a walking route for you, or consult Birmingham City Council’s ‘Cycling in Birmingham’ page (https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr) for cycling route options and further information.  Also try: (https://maps.google.co.uk/

 

 

 

  • Car sharing: If you live and work near to a friend or colleague, car sharing could save you both money.  There is a wide range of apps to help find car-sharing buddies.  You should also speak to your employer about potential options available in the workplace. 

 

  • Car hire: For longer, occasional journeys, you might find traditional car hire works out cheapest. 
18. I’m a Blue Badge holder – do I have to pay?

Blue badge holders will not be exempt from the CAZ charge. If your vehicle is not compliant and you drive in the Clean Air Zone, you will have to pay the charge. 

Vehicles registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class will not have to pay. For information about the eligibility criteria for the disabled tax exemption defined by the government, see https://www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vehicles-and-transport  

19. I’m travelling to the Children’s hospital, do I have to pay

If your vehicle is not CAZ compliant and you are visiting the Children’s Hospital (and the Badger Clinic or Attwood Green Medical Centre) you will not be charged to drive in the CAZ until one year after the CAZ is introduced.  A voucher will be available from these centres during your visit and, once the unique voucher code has been redeemed, any potential charge you would have received will be redacted.  You must request this voucher in order to ensure the charge is not issued. 

This system is currently in development but will be hosted on our Brum Breathes website. 

20. How do I apply for an exemption/ additional incentive? 

You can apply for an exemption via our website via the link below.  Please ensure you read the guidance document and terms and conditions before applying. https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/5/exemptions-additional-support/21/apply-exemption 

Applications for additional incentives such as the CAZ worker scrappage scheme are not yet available.  We recommend signing up for updates via our Expression of Interest form in order to be the first to find out when these grants are available for applications:  https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/1/welcome/15/express-interest 

21.  Do emergency vehicles have to pay?  All specialist emergency vehicles will be exempt from CAZ charges.  
 
22. I have a historic vehicle, do I have to pay? 

Vehicles registered with the DVLA as having a historic tax class will be exempt from Birmingham’s CAZ.  

You can apply to stop paying vehicle tax if your vehicle was built more than 40 years ago. This date moves forward on a 40-year rolling system. When the CAZ launches in 2020, vehicles built before 1980 will be eligible to apply for historic vehicle tax class. 

23.  Where can I find further information regarding the Clean Air Zone?  Further information is available on the Brum Breathes Website 
https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/  
24. What information do I need to provide to become exempt? 

Eligibility criteria and the proofs required for your application are detailed in our terms and conditions: 

https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/5/exemptions-additional-support/21/apply-exemption/2 

25. How long will it take to process my exemption? 

The CAZ (Clean Air Zone) is due to come into effect in 2021.  The aim is to ensure the majority of exemption applications received before the launch date are processed beforehand.  Confirmation of successful or unsuccessful exemption applications will be provided to applicants in advance of the launch.  

It is important to note that your vehicle will not be registered as exempt until you receive confirmation from us.  We recommend applying as soon as possible to ensure your application can be processed ahead of the launch.

26. Can I apply for multiple vehicle exemptions Yes if you are the registered keeper of more than one non-compliant vehicle you can apply for an exemption for each vehicle.  This needs to be done on separate applications for residents and CAZ workers.  
27. If my car is parked in the CAZ for several days, is it chargeable for that time? 

Your vehicle is only chargeable when in motion.  The ANPR cameras record vehicles when they are moving, so you would receive a charge for each individual day the vehicle in question is picked up by the cameras.  

Your vehicle does not have to be registered as SORN (statutory off-road notification) with the DVLA to avoid charges whilst being stationary.  

28. What is the number for the National Contact Centre?  The National Helpdesk can be contacted on 0300 029 8888 or via the link below: 
https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/caz/ 

CAZ Resident specific FAQ's

  Question Answer
1. I live in the City Centre – do I have to pay? 

If you live within the CAZ and your vehicle is not CAZ compliant, we are not planning to charge you to drive in the CAZ until 2023, up to two years after the CAZ is introduced. 

This will not be an automatic exemption and you will have to submit an application form online. You will need to supply evidence that your vehicle is registered to your address within the CAZ. . If your application is successful, we will initially issue you with a one year exemption after which you will have to reapply for year two.  This is so we can confirm you still meet the requirements of the CAZ Resident exemption.   

2. How can I apply for a CAZ resident exemption?  You will be able to apply for a CAZ Resident exemption (permit) via the Brum Breathes website https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/5/exemptions-additional-support/21/apply-exemption/2 
3. What information do I need to provide to apply for a CAZ Resident Exemption

You only need to apply for a CAZ Residential Exemption if your vehicle is not CAZ Compliant. For CAZ residential exemption applications you would need to provide: 

  • Confirmation the vehicle for which you are applying is registered to you (via your V5 document)                   
  • Confirmation of your address within the CAZ 

Additional details of the required documentation will be available from on the Brum Breathes website (https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/) when the exemption application process is live, early 2020.    

4. How long will it take to process my exemption The CAZ (Clean Air Zone) is due to launch in 2021.  The aim is to ensure all exemption applications received before the launch date are processed beforehand.  Confirmation of success/unsuccessful exemption applications will be provided to applicants.  

CAZ Worker/Business specific FAQ's

  Question Answer
1. I work in the city centre, do I have to pay?

If your vehicle is not CAZ compliant, you currently drive to a place of work in the CAZ area, and you earn no more than £30,000 a year and work at least 21 hours per week, we are not planning to charge you to drive in the CAZ until one year after the CAZ is launched. 

This will not be an automatic exemption, you will need to supply evidence that your usual place of work is within the CAZ and that your total gross annual salary is no more than £30,000. 

2. What type of incentives are available to me as a CAZ worker who earns no more than £30k per year?  

The following additional incentives will be available following a successful application process: 

Scrappage Scheme: 

  • £2000 package, incorporating                  
  • a) £2000 towards the cost of purchasing a compliant vehicle via our preferred scrappage provider (company TBC asap) or   
  • b) £2000 mobility credit (via TWM/Swift). 

If you keep your non-complaint vehicle: 
- Up to £1000 mobility credit (Swift card) 

More information on the available incentives can be found on our Brum Breathes website (https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/exemptions-and-additional-support). 

3. I volunteer in the City Centre – do I have to pay?   Currently there are no exemptions for Volunteers who drive into the CAZ in a non-compliant vehicle. Volunteers will have to pay the CAZ daily charge - £8 for Cars & Vans (LGV’s), Taxis (Hackney Carriages & Private Hire), and £50 for HGVs, coaches and buses.
4. I run a business within the CAZ, what support is available for my business? 

Businesses registered within the CAZ are eligible for an exemption of up to one year from the CAZ charges (maximum 2 vehicles per company).  

The government has allocated £10.05 million for a HGV and coach compliance fund which will allow businesses to bid for up to £15,000 (maximum 2 funding awards per business) towards the cost of a retrofit (where available) or towards the cost of a purchasing or leasing a compliant vehicle. 

Further information is available online: https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/exemptions-and-additionalsupport  

5. When can I apply for an exemption or additional incentive? 

If you plan on driving a non-compliant vehicle into the CAZ you may be eligible for an exemption or additional incentive, via an application process. Details of how to apply will be available in the coming months.  

Some vehicles will not require you to apply to be exempted, such as special adapted disabled vehicles, military and historic vehicles.  

Please keep an eye on the website www.birmingham.gov.uk/caz for more information.  

6. How do I apply for an exemption?  You will be able to apply for an exemption (permit) via the Brum Breathes website https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/5/exemptions-additional-support/21/apply-exemption/2 
7. What information do I need to provide to become exempt? 

Please see terms and conditions on the below page:  

https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/5/exemptions-additional-support/21/apply-exemption/2 

8. How long will it take to process my exemption?  The CAZ (Clean Air Zone) is due to launch in 2021.  The aim is to ensure all exemption applications received before the launch date are processed beforehand.  Confirmation of success/unsuccessful exemption applications will be provided to applicants.

Taxi specific FAQ's

  Question Answer
1. As a taxi driver, am I entitled to an exemption?  Taxis are not entitled to exemptions, but there are incentives to assist with non-compliant taxis to be converted (via LPG) technology, or funding to facilitate the purchase of a compliant vehicle. 
2. What is the daily CAZ charge for noncompliant Hackney Carriages and PHV’s (Private Hire Vehicles)? 

Non-Compliant Taxi’s will be subject to the daily charge of £8, enforceable 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.  The daily charge period runs midnight to midnight.  Non-compliant vehicles/users are only charged once per day. 

Important: your vehicle may already be compliant.  Please ensure you check your registration details via the DVLA-developed Vehicle Checker.  This will be available for public use early 2020. 

3. What incentives/support is available to Taxi’s? 

Hackney Carriage: 

  • Up to £5,000 towards CVRAS-accredited retrofit technology for your non-compliant vehicle (Hackney Carriage only)            
  • Up to £5,000 towards the running costs of an electric Hackney Carriage                                    
  • The option to join an electric Hackney Carriage rental scheme, utilising Birmingham City Council’s fleet of 50 all-electric Hackney Carriage taxis. 

Private Hire Vehicles: 

  •  Grant funding of up to £1000 for the purchase or long-term lease of a compliant petrol or diesel vehicle (PHV only)              
  • Grant funding of up to £2000 for the purchase or long-term lease of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or hybrid electric vehicle which is not eligible for the government’s plug-in grant   
  • Grant funding of up to £2500 (x2 £1250 payments) as a contribution to the operating expenses of a full-electric vehicle, or long-range plug-in hybrid vehicle 

 
Birmingham City Council are planning to install 197 new electric charge points within the City and outlying districts within the next two years.  These will be both rapid and fast charge devices.  

4. When can I apply for a Taxi additional Incentive?  We expect the incentives application process to be available for applications by April/May 2020.  You can register an expression of interest for updates concerning the CAZ via the Brum Breathes website (https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/info/1/welcome/15/express-interest), which will include important dates and developments, such as the publication of the DVLA Vehicle Checker and the launch for incentive applications.  
5. How do I apply for an additional incentive? Details of how to apply for additional incentives will be available in the coming months. Please keep an eye on the website www.birmingham.gov.uk/caz for more information