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Birmingham clean air zone – what is it and how will I be affected?

Birmingham clean air zone – what is it and how will I be affected?


The government has granted funding for a new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Birmingham city centre, and the new measures are due to be implemented from January 1 next year.

The scheme will charge a fee to drivers of higher-emitting vehicles around the city, with a goal of improving Birmingham’s air quality and reducing its congestion levels.

Where does the new zone apply?

The clean air zone sits inside the A450 Middleway ring road. That means the whole of the city centre is included in it, as well as sections of the Jewellery Quarter, Bordesley and Newtown, Digbeth, Highgate and parts of Ladywood too.

Will my car be affected?

Much like the low emission zone in London, whether or not you’ll be able to drive your car into Birmingham’s CAZ will depend on its age and efficiency.

To avoid paying a charge, your car will need to be a diesel of Euro 6 standard or better, or a petrol of Euro 4 standard or better. It means that most diesels registered before 1 September 2015, or petrols registered before 1 January 2006 will be liable to pay the charge – though it’s worth checking beforehand.

Of course, zero-emissions electric vehicles don’t have to pay the charge, and low-emissions vehicles such as hybrids won’t have to either provided they meet Euro 6 diesel and Euro 4 petrol standards.

What will the charge be?

Cars entering the zone will be charged £8 per day, while lorries and buses will have to stump up £50 per day.

Will anyone be exempt from the charge?

Certain people won’t have to pay the Clean Air Zone charge. However, there are time limits on these exemptions in most cases, with people only being excluded from the charge for a period of one or two years.

If you live within the Clean Zone Area

If you already reside inside the Clean Zone Area – and have done so since before September 2018 – you won’t be charged to drive until January 2022, two years after the zone is implemented.

People commuting into the zone for work

Those drivers who commute into the city centre – and earn less than £30,000 per year – will initially be exempt from the charge – but this is for one year only.

People visiting key hospitals, GPs and care homes

Drivers who regularly visit key hospitals, GPs and care homes located within the zone will be exempt from the charge for a year.

Community and school transport vans and buses

Vans and minibuses registered for use as community and school transport won’t have to pay the charge – as long as they are classified as section 19 operators and are registered for operation in Birmingham.

Certain commercial vehicles

Commercial vehicles which have been registered within the Clean Air Zone – up to two per company – will not have to pay for the first year.

Disabled tax class cars

Vehicles registered with a disabled tax class won’t have to pay a charge at all.