Clean Air/Low Emission Zones Gaining Momentum

When buying used stock and helping customers comply with increasing emission zone standards, all Clear Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are not the same. Nor are the fee structures (or, in Scotland, fines) for vehicles that fail to comply with the locally enforced standards. Additionally, even the naming of such zones varies, and the capacity for confusion is evident.

Even if a dealer operates outside of a CAZ/LEZ they need to be aware that the value of a compliant vehicle could make marketing it into the areas where fees apply attractive. Certainly, every dealer can benefit by understanding their CAZ’s and LEZ’s and Euro Emission standards, especially if they operate in one of the increasing numbers of low emission zones across the UK.

With the caveat that the position with these Clean Air Zones continues to evolve and that charges and vehicle definitions can vary within each area, here is our latest update on the current situation.

Types of CAZ

There are four ‘classes’ of CAZ, split into A, B, C and D:

  • A – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
  • B – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs
  • C – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses
  • D – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses, cars and the option to include motorcycles

Types of LEZ

  • London operates an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
  • Oxford has a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) – a ZEZ is an area where zero-emission vehicles (such as fully electric motorcycles, cars and vans) can be used without incurring a charge but where other motor vehicles may be charged.
  • Glasgow will operate a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) from June 1st, which is similar to a Class D CAZ

Euro Emission Standards

CAZs and LEZs typically target older vehicles based on Euro Emission Standards. As a guide, charges tend not to apply to:

  • Euro 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles, roughly 2006 upwards
  • Euro 6 diesel vehicles, roughly end of 2015 onwards
  • Fully electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Modified or retrofitted vehicles registered with the Energy Saving Trust’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)
  • Motorbikes (but not in London)

Current CAZ Locations

  • Bath – Class C
  • Birmingham – Class D
  • Bradford – Class C
  • Bristol –  Class D –
  • Portsmouth – Class B
  • Sheffield – Class C
  • Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) – Class C

Given the signage in place, it is worth mentioning that a CAZ in Greater Manchester scheduled to open in 2022 has been placed on hold while further reviews are conducted.

Current LEZ Locations

  • London – ULEZ
  • Oxford – Zero Emission Zone
  • Glasgow – Glasgow’s low-emission zone goes entirely live from June 1st (Scotland’s other major cities follow suit in 2024). It operates a very different charging regime. Non-compliant vehicles are banned from entering the LEZ and will be fined should they do so. The initial fine is £60. It then doubles for every subsequent transgression up to £480.

Which Vehicles are Compliant?

While the general rule is that Euro 6 diesel and Euro 4 onwards petrol cars are likely to be compliant, there are exceptions.

Exemptions exist in some zones for classic cars, Blue badge holders, motorbikes, mopeds, emergency vehicles and others. However, it has to be stressed that each zone has its own rules.

There are tools to help drivers to understand if their car is compliant. We hope these help: