What a Clean Air Zone is, why we need one

What a Clean Air Zone is, why we need one

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

Why we need a Clean Air Zone

The Government set legal limits for pollution and we have to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) 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

Find out more about the link between air pollution and health on Health matters: air pollution (GOV.UK) and on the Clean Air for Bristol website.

Local authorities across England are introducing CAZs to meet their legal requirements for clean air starting with:

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

Find more about the four different types of CAZ (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

As well as charging older, more polluting vehicles, a 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