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Driving in a Clean Air Zone

The framework for clean air zones (CAZ) sets out the guidelines for local authorities to use when setting up areas that discourage certain vehicles from entering.

This help guide explains how to find cities where a clean air zone is already in place and how to check if you need to pay a charge in England.

UK Cities with Clean Air Zones in Place

Some clean air zones are already in place across the major cities in the United Kingdom.

Plus, the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will include all the boroughs in London.


The aim is to further improve levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Government figures are already showing a 20% reduction [June 2023].

As a result, London is only one of the cities that are introducing clean air policies. Other cities across the country already have them in place, or have them set in motion.

In fact, many other cities have been earmarked for similar schemes – or have them in place already – to cut down on pollution levels.

Where to Find Clean Air Zones

The local authorities that are introducing clean air zones are trying to improve the general quality of the air. Thus, you may need to pay a charge if you drive a vehicle in a clean air zone (e.g. if it exceeds emission standards).

Cities across the United Kingdom that already have clean air zones in place, include:

Future clean air zones are also planned for:

Note: The UK rules for driving a vehicle in a clean air zone differ in the ULEZ (London) and in the LEZ (Scotland).

4 Different Types of Clean Air Zones

Vehicle Minimum Emission Standards

You will be charged for driving in a clean air zone unless the vehicle meets the following minimum standard:

You should contact the vehicle manufacturer if you can't find your emission standard in the vehicle log book. But, some local authorities could have different standards for taxis and private hire vehicles.

Check if You Need to Pay a Charge

Motorists can check online to find out whether they need to pay a charge for their vehicle before driving in a clean air zone. Businesses will be able to check (and pay) for multiple vehicles.

Key takeaways:

Important: There is a maximum payment for driving in clean air zones (£5,000 single transaction). Payments would need to be split into separate transactions if they exceed the limit. Refunds are also available for drivers who paid the charge but did not need to.

Businesses Using Multiple Vehicles

It's common for some businesses to own or manage more than one UK registered vehicle. In this case, they will be able to set up an account to check and pay charges for two (2) or more vehicles.

Clean Air Zone Exemptions

Some national and local exemptions apply and you do not need to pay the charge. Hence, automatic entitlement for a national exemption applies for:

How to Stop Paying Clean Air Zone Charges?

There are several ways to get support so you can reduce your vehicle's emissions and stop paying the charges in clean air zones:

Clean Air Zone Support

Online contact form
Telephone: 0300 029 8888
Monday to Friday: 8am to 7pm (except bank holidays)
Saturday: 8am to 2pm

You should follow the proper complaints procedure if you're dissatisfied with the service you received from a clean air zone (CAZ).

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