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Clean Air Zones – Where they will be and what it means for your business?

by | Jan 29, 2021 | All Articles, Fleet Management

Clean Air Zones – What they are and how they will affect your business.

You may have seen the acronym CAZ being bandied about in relation to vehicles – and wondering what the fuss is. Or – you may know that CAZ stands for “Clean Air Zone” but are still wondering what it means for you.

Well now we can help you understand a little more where the Clean Air Zones will be, and what it means for your business.

What is a Clean Air Zone?

Clean Air Zone’s are designated areas which have been targeted for improvement in air quality. These are made up of well populated towns and cities in the UK – and even single stretches of heavily-trafficked roads.

In terms of how these zones will “clean up the air” – there is a daily levy which will come into play for certain vehicles being used in these designated areas. The levies will be payable by vehicles which do not meet the emission standards required to be exempt.

You can check if your vehicles are exempt or not on the Gov.uk website. This is a particularly useful tool if you have a fleet of vehicles as you can create an account and upload your vehicles using a .csv spreadsheet to check multiple vehicles at once.

Where are the Clean Air Zones?

The first Clean Air Zone is in Bath – no pun on getting clean! It comes into effect on the 15th March this year. Next up will be Birmingham – on 1st June.

To see more about the areas which are going to be introducing the Clean Air Zones then there is a map with more information on each area on the BVRLA website.

The rest of the Clean Air Zones will be phased in over the next 12-18 months.

In addition to this, the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) in London is also due to be expanded in the Autumn this year.

What this means for your business?

If your vehicles are frequently in – or passing through – the Clean Air Zone areas and your vehicles don’t meet the emissions criteria to be exempt, then the most obvious implication is cost.

In terms of what it costs, rather than having one flat fee across the board, it will vary slightly in each area.

There is a reason for this.

The cost of implementing the scheme will vary from area to area due to it’s size, populace and other factors influencing the running cost. However, local authorities are only allowed to charge enough to cover the costs of running the scheme in their area and it is not to be used for making money.

What are the Clean Zone Area charges?

Typical daily charges are around £8-10 for any non-compliant cars, taxis and vans – whilst HGV and buses could be paying as much as £50 a day (based on Birmingham’s plans) – whilst London is £12 for cars and vans.

Obviously, the cost to your business will depend on how many vehicles you have and how many journeys you make into Clean Air Zone areas. The fact is you could be looking at quite substantial additional amounts to be paying out for the same things you are doing now.

If you have 10 cars or vans each paying an average of £9 a day for say 200 days a year it would be £18000 a year extra.

There is also a fine of £120 for not paying – and the zones will be monitored by cameras.

Other considerations affecting planning

As well as varying costs, there are also differing restrictions in each area.

Some areas will apply their Clean Air Zone between certain times (e.g. 7am-7pm). Some areas won’t charge private cars (as proposed in Newcastle).

There are some areas that will not have a Clean Air Zone, but will instead issue fines for excessive idling – as proposed in St. Albans.

Other areas are looking at banning diesel cars and vans altogether.

This could make planning your journeys and managing costs a bit of a minefield.

In Conclusion

There is a lot to take on board with the introduction of the Clean Air Zone area changes.

The variations in restrictions and charges could make it complicated to manage, particularly if you have a mixture of vehicles travelling to different areas.

The options for businesses are quite clear. Either switching to vehicles which are exempt from the charges and restrictions – or ensuring you are on top of the restrictions and charges being brought in as they are introduced. This means planning journeys, costs and accounting for the restrictions to be put in place.

If you would like the latest updates in relation to Clean air Zones then or have any questions relating to your particular circumstances, then please use the form below to get in touch – or leave a comment below (…at the bottom of the page on the blog).

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