What it is and the purpose of Bristol's Clean Air Zone.

Why we have a Clean Air Zone

The Government has set legal limits for pollution and we have introduced a Clean Air Zone to ensure Bristol meets those limits within the shortest possible time. A major source of air pollution in cities is road traffic, particularly diesel engines. 

Air pollution affects everyone in Bristol, especially:

  • children
  • older people
  • people with heart, breathing and underlying health conditions

We measure the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide over a calendar year to see if we meet the current legal limits for air pollution. Visit our Open Data website for information including the 28 sites in Bristol where air pollution exceeded the legal levels in 2021 Go to https://opendata.bristol.gov.uk/pages/air-quality-dashboard-new/?fbclid=IwAR2K8nvW79pg-DCk47D-SeBwAzx5Ej0e86qjPAxmqGcW6LUoo1QYoFl6LE8#statistics (opens new window).

 Find out more about the link between air pollution and health on Health matters: air pollution Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-air-pollution/health-matters-air-pollution (opens new window) (GOV.UK) and on the Clean Air for Bristol Go to https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/ (opens new window) website.

What a Clean Air Zone is

A Clean Air Zone is a specific location that aims to reduce public exposure to nitrogen dioxide through:

  • restrictions on the highest polluting vehicles
  • encouraging the use of cleaner vehicles
  • encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transports

Bristol has a small CAZ D Clean Air Zone. Find about the four different types of zones Go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-a-clean-air-zone#types-of-clean-air-zones (opens new window) (GOV.UK).

No vehicles are banned from entering a Clean Air Zone but older and more polluting vehicles have to pay a daily charge for travelling within the zone. 

The charge does not apply to:

  • Euro 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles, roughly to vehicles made from 2006 onwards
  • Euro 6 diesel vehicles, roughly vehicles from 2015 onwards

The Clean Air Zone also includes:

  • loans and grants to help people switch to a cleaner vehicle or less polluting forms of transport  
  • changes to traffic signal timings to improve traffic flows
  • increased priority for buses, such as bus lanes and priority at traffic signals

Watch our short video on what the Zone is and why we need one:

What happens to the Clean Air Zone revenue

Clean Air Zone charges are collected by central government. The costs of running the central system are taken out and what's left is returned to us to cover the cost of running the zone.

We'll invest the surplus revenue into transport improvements to make it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Share information about the Clean Air Zone

We've created toolkits with more information about the Clean Air Zone and how you can prepare for its launch.

The toolkits have more about the support available and newsletter, email and social media content you can share. They also have details on charging and how to pay if you need to.

Read the latest news about Bristol's Clean Air Zone Go to https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/news (opens new window) on the Clean Air for Bristol website.

Contact information

Clean Air Zone