Birmingham’s clean air zone – is your car compliant?

On Monday 8 April 2019, London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was started to cover central London. From 25 October 2021, this was extended to within the North and South Circular Roads.

Since then there are now clean air zones implemented throughout England and include Bath, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield as well as Newcastle and Gateshead.

From January 2020, drivers within Birmingham of high polluting vehicles pay £8 per day to travel into Birmingham city centre.   Birmingham City Council has faced pressure from the government to reduce pollution by setting up a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), also called the Birmingham Low Emission Zone or Birmingham LEZ for short.

But how will the Birmingham LEZ work and how will it affect you?

Proposals put forward are a penalty for vehicles with high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, so there wouldn’t be a congestion charge with a blanket tariff on everyone going into the zone. Paying would only apply to non-compliant vehicles – diesels manufactured before 2015 and petrol cars made before 2006.

How much will it cost and who is exempt?

Birmingham Clean Air Zone charges apply 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You pay if your car, taxi, van, coach, bus, lorry or other vehicle cannot meet its applicable emission standard which is Euro 4 for a petrol car, for or Euro 6 for a diesel car. The cost is £8 a day for a car, taxi, or small van rising to £50 for a larger vehicle such as a coach over 3.5 tonnes that do not meet emission standards. However, there will be some exemptions and charges will not be applied. For instance, if you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle the you won’t have to pay. See if my car is exempt.

Use this simple tool to check whether your vehicle meets Birmingham LEZ emissions standards as well as for any of the other zones throughout the UK.

How do I pay the clean air charge?

Vehicles entering the area inside the ring road are picked up by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, so there won’t be any barriers.  For those who do incur a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), these are payable online. And if you don’t pay up, the fine can be £120 !!!!  However, people will not pay for vehicles below the emissions standard if they are parked within the zone all day but are not turned on.

Will there be any support for those set to be severely penalised by the charge?

The council has secured £15m to help taxi drivers upgrade to newer, cleaner vehicles.  It comes amid go-slow protests in Birmingham from the trade who argue the clean air zone is a threat to their livelihood.

Why has the council done this?

Pressure to improve air quality has been an issue for some time in the second city and air pollution is widely regarded as a public health crisis in Birmingham that causes 900 premature deaths a year in the city. The council has stated because of the ministerial direction it had received, it was “impossible” to introduce a zone without charges. For Birmingham and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) there is much to learn from London & the problems they have faced.

Hopefully, Birmingham will take some tips from the implementation of London, however, are these charges all too little too late for the environment?

If you have any questions or if you are thinking of selling your car due to if not meeting emission standards and facing the Birmingham congestion charge then why not sell your car to Jack!
All you have to do is enter your reg number and we’ll get back to you with a no obligation offer!