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Bristol's Clean Air Zone (CAZ)

Bristol's Clean Air Zone (CAZ)

Why we need a Clean Air Zone, what it is, what is happening now, how to check your vehicle, support and exemptions.

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

What happens now

Our choice of Clean Air Zone is a Small CAZ D. It offers a balance between improving air quality and the need to support businesses as much as possible.

On 25 February 2021 the council’s Cabinet approved the Full Business Case for the CAZ which will now be submitted to Government who will confirm if they accept it in the spring.

The Clean Air Zone would be implemented from October 2021.

We estimate that it'd deliver compliance with legal limits for air pollution by 2023, much sooner than previous CAZ proposals

Charges would apply:

  • 24 hours a day
  • seven days a week

Non-compliant vehicles would only be charged once in each 24-hour period. If you live within the Clean Air Zone and drive a non-compliant vehicle, you'll only be charged if you make a journey.

Check your vehicle

You can use the government’s compliance checking tool to check if your vehicle would be charged.

If the checker shows a daily charge for Birmingham, you'll pay to drive your vehicle into Bristol’s CAZ. 

This tool is not provided by Bristol City Council and we're not responsible for the accuracy of any data provided. We recommend you recheck your vehicle before driving in any CAZ.

Bristol's CAZ will be added to the government website once confirmed. 

Support and exemptions

We'll do what we can to support people who are most impacted by the Clean Air Zone, including low income workers and residents inside the zone.

There'll be exemptions for:

  • individuals earning less than £24,000 a year, and no more than £12.45 per hour, who'll be able to apply for a one year’s exemption
  • hospital visitors

The proposed exemptions are to give time for people to take advantage of financial support to upgrade to less polluting vehicles.

We'll share more information about exemptions and the financial support that will be in place to help people switch to a cleaner vehicle once our business case is approved.

Find out about national CAZ exemptions and existing support available (GOV.UK).