Clean Air Zone - Latest | Descartes Routing UK

UK Clean Air Zones - The Latest News

Ultra low emissions zone ULEZ


What was the first UK Zero Emission Zone?

The First Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in the UK began operating in Oxford in February 2022 but only covered a small number of streets in Oxford city centre. However, there is now an option being considered by Oxfordshire County Council, with a decision expected this spring, on whether to expand the ZEZ to include all of Oxford City Centre from a date in 2026. All petrol and diesel vehicles are charged for entering a ZEZ while electric vehicles are free. 


Where will the next UK CAZ be?

Bristol's CAZ might expand its zone, but the debate continues and Edinburgh city council's transport convener has also suggested that the LEZ will expand in the coming years to cover the entirety of Edinburgh city.


The latest CAZ to go live:

Scotland’s Low Emission Zones in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, have all gone live and started charging for infringements from 1st June 2024 (31st May for Dundee). However, unlike English LEZ’s, the Scottish LEZ’s also ban petrol and diesel vehicles over 30 years old from entering the zone, incurring a £60 fine if they do so.


Recent Low Emission or Clean Air Zones that went live:


Manchester’s Clean air zone was given the green light on 20th December 2023, however, motorists are not be charged for entering the area. 

The plans instead are to invest in electric buses and taxis to deliver clean air, rather than forcing older or polluting cars out of the area. The plan also includes investment in traffic flow management in the centre of Manchester.


From August 29th, 2023, the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was expanded to encompass all London Boroughs. 

Driving anywhere within the London ULEZ zone in a non-compliant vehicle will cost £12.50 per day, including residents who live in the

ULEZ area. The newly expanded zone is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but does not include the M25, but will encompass Heathrow Airport. If you travel into central London, you must also pay a congestion charge of £15 per day.  

Newcastle & Gateshead

Newcastle and Gateshead's Clean Air Zone went live on 3rd October 2022. Although the 38 cameras around the zone are operating, drivers are not yet being charged. Private vehicles will not be charged, while HGVs started paying from 30th January 2023 and Vans/light goods vehicles will face charges of £12.50/day.


Sheffield’s CAZ went fully live on  5th June 2023 with light commercial goods vehicles needing to pay a £10/day charge. 

The inner ring road and central business district are part of a class C charged zone, meaning the most polluting HGVs, LGVs, vans, buses, coaches, and taxis are subject to a charge of £50/day for entering this area.  


Bristol’s Clean Air Zone went live on 28th November 2022, although only a small area in the centre of Bristol logistics companies could easily be caught out if a vehicle enters the area, charges start at £9/day for light good vehicles (under 3.5t) and rise to £100/day for HGV’s (over 3.5t).  There is a possibility that this CAZ may expand to a larger area in 2024.


Bradford's Clean Air zone Went live on Monday 26th September 2022. Covering the City Centre and Outer Ring Road.

Pre-Euro VI HGV's are charged £50 daily. While Pre-EuroVi LGV's diesel and pre-EuroIV petrol vehicles are charged £9/day, with some exemptions.


Possible Future Clean Air Zones:

Derbyshire County Council published a survey in May 2023 asking residents of Ashbourne whether they would like a clean Air Zone or prefer a 20MPH zone through the town.

Since the 25th October 2021 the London ULEZ has covered up to the North and South Circular roads, but there is now strong public support for the zone to be extended to cover the whole of the capital.

A recent survey by YouGov found that 51% of Londoners would support an expansion, compared to 27% that were against it. If this goes forward, then every vehicle that does not meet the emission criteria would be charged £12.50 per day to drive within the ULEZ region beginning in August 2023.

Navigating CAZs

If you deliver goods into city centres Clean Air Zones will need to be factored into either your delivery planning and costs, (Portsmouth CAZ will charge HGV's £50/day while Bath CAZ charges £100/day for an HGV to enter the zone) or into the cost of replacing your fleet with lower emission or emission free vehicles.

Many companies will operate mixed fleets for quite some time as vehicles are replaced, so choosing the correct vehicle for deliveries into Clean Air Zones will be essentail to keep charges to a minimum. Once the parameters of your vehicles are entered into Descartes’ routing software it will automatically select the best vehicle from your fleet when scheduling deliveries within Clean Air Zones.

Contact us for more details on routing and making deliveries within Clean Air Zones or send an email to

Or click here for more information on Route scheduling and optimisation 

The following cities are now either Live or are expected to introduce their own Clean Air Zones soon:

Bath LIVE 15th March Class C    Details
Birmingham LIVE: 1st June 2021 Class D Details
Bristol LIVE: 28th November 2022

Small area of Class D   
older cars £9
Trucks, buses and coaches £100

London ULEZ expanded Zone

LIVE 25th October 2021 Area inside, but excluding the north & south Circulars
Bradford LIVE 26th September 2022 Class C
Leicester Scrapped Improvements in air quality meant the CAZ was no longer required.
Manchester Scrapped

A clean Air zone is no longer being proposed for the city. 

A new investment-led Clean Air plan is being submitted to the UK Government for consideration. 

Newcastle LIVE: 30th January 2023 2 phases: HGV's 30th Jan 2023 | Vans & Light goods July 2023

LIVE: 29th November 2021

Class B

non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches will be charged £50 a day.

Details here

Rotherham & Sheffield LIVE: 27th February 2023 Class C
Cambridge on going plans for 2027/8 Possibility of a congestion charge - Scrapped
Liverpool Plans on hold indefinitely  
Oxford February 2022 - expansion 2026 Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) Expansion being considered
Southampton Operational Non Charging
Sefton TBC  
St Albans TBC  
Warrington TBC  
Wokingham TBC  
York 2021 Class A


Glasgow LEZ commenced 31st May 2022 (enforcement commences 1st June 2023)
Edinburgh LEZ commenced 31st May 2022 (enforcement commences 1st June 2024)
Aberdeen LEZ commenced 31st May 2022 (enforcement commences 1st June 2024)
Dundee LEZ commenced 31st May 2022 (enforcement commences 30th May 2024)


CAZ's are being considered for a number of towns

Cardiff Definitely Not Recently ruled out a CAZ
Caerphilly Possible clean air zone Total ban on HGVs at peak times

Could Coventry's CAZ be next on the list if it doesn't improve air quality?


Clean Air Zone Classifications

  • Class A - Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)
  • Class B - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
  • Class C - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
  • Class D, Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars.

Though Euro VI compliant Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs, Euro VI diesel Cars and Euro IV Petrol cars are exempt from all charges.


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