• October 16, 2020

  • Abby Nuttall

Last month we wrote about how reduced emissions in city centres due to national and local lockdowns meant that several cities’ plans for low emission zones (LEZs) and clean air zones (CAZs) had been put on hold.

There are four classes of CAZ areas which are:

  • Class A – applies to buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).
  • Class B – applies to buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
  • Class C – applies to buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs).
  • Class D – applies to buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs, LGVs and cars.

The local authority decides which level of CAZ is appropriate for their area, and often consult with local businesses and residents to help decide this.

The minimum vehicle standard for a CAZ is Euro VI for buses, coaches and HGVs and Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol) for vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire and cars.

Following on from reviewing the impact of Covid-19 on their plans, Bath and Birmingham have now both announced their go-live date for CAZs.

Bath will open their CAZ on the 15th of March 2021, which will be a CAZ C, so there will be no charge for uncompliant private cars or motorcycles. The charge for a HGV will be £100 a day and for vans and LGVs it will be £9 per day.

Birmingham will go live later in the year on the 1st of June 2020. It will be a CAZ D, so all uncompliant vehicles will be charged to enter the area. The charge for a HGV will be £50 a day and for cars and LGVs it will be £8 per day.

In both cities, there are schemes to provide financial assistance programmes to support smaller businesses with the cost of upgrading to compliant vehicles.

Bristol and Manchester have now reopened consultations on plans for reducing emissions in their city centres as well.

Bristol’s consultation is proposing either a small CAZ D, which would apply to all vehicles, or a medium-sized CAZ C, which would apply to all apart from private cars. The consultation will be open for responses until the 22nd of November.

Manchester is looking at a CAZ C, which would apply to all vehicles apart from private cars, and the consultation will be open until the 3rd of December.

Following on from the nationwide lockdown, Leeds reviewed their plans for a CAZ B as they reached compliance earlier than expected. The Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) has reviewed the data and confirmed that Leeds will no longer need to introduce a CAZ.  The city council will continue to work with JAQU to ensure the improvements in air quality are maintained.

CAZs run for the entire year, with a chargeable day running from midnight to midnight, so if entry is before midnight and exit occurs afterwards, this will be charged as two days.

After entering a CAZ the driver, or company, responsible for the vehicle will have six days to pay the CAZ charge otherwise they will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. You can also pay up to seven days ahead of entry.

You can see all the planned and current CAZs on the BVRLA’s website. And to see if a vehicle will be charged you can check on the Government’s vehicle checker.

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