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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 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 Clean Air Zones 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 zones (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

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

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.