Birmingham's Clean Air Zone: What is it and will I be affected?

From today, (Monday, June 14) the owners of non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily fee, unless exemptions are in place, to drive through the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself.

The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Birmingham is a designated area around the city centre.

Certain highly polluting vehicles will have to pay a fee each time they drive in.

Here's everything you need to know.

  • What's the point of the Clean Air Zone?

The CAZ is being introduced to try to crack down on air pollution.

The city council defines it as,

"An area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality, in particular by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering the zone. No vehicle is banned in the zone, but those which do not have clean enough engines will have to pay a daily charge if they travel within the area."

The councillor responsible for transport, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, says there are parts of the city centre and the surrounding area where the pollution level is currently illegal because the nitrogen dioxide level is higher than the World Health Organisation legal limit.

There are also some illegal levels outside the charging zone, but he argues that those areas will benefit from people travelling less or in greener ways, into the city centre.

  • Where is the Clean Air Zone?

The Clean Air Zone covers all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself.

The CAZ covers all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road in Birmingham. Credit: Birmingham City Council

  • Will I have to pay?

You can enter your car details into this website to see if you will have to pay.

Under the proposals, if you do have to pay, cars, taxis - including Hackney Carriages and Private Hire cars - and LGVs will pay £8 a day.

HGVs, coaches and buses will pay £50 a day.

It's thought 25% of vehicles currently travelling in and out of the city centre will be affected because their vehicles aren't compliant.

Visitors who drive to the Birmingham Children’s hospital in a non- compliant vehicle will be exempt from the Clean Air Zone daily fee.The voucher scheme provide people attending an appointment at Birmingham Children'sHospital, Bath Row Medical Practice, Badger Medical Centre and the mass vaccinationcentre at Millennium Point with a single-use code that can be redeemed through the BrumBreathes website.

  • What vehicles are exempt?

  • Euro 6 (VI) or better for diesel engine

  • Euro 4 or better for petrol engines

  • For diesel/petrol electric hybrids the vehicle should meet the relevant emission standards

  • Fully electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles will not need to pay the charge

HGV drivers will be charged £50 a day. Credit: PA

  • Are there any more exemptions?


Residents within the CAZ will be eligible for a two-year exemption, while those who work for a minimum of 18 hours per week in the CAZ and earn less than £30,000 per year will be eligible for a one-year exemption from June 1.

Other exemptions include people visiting hospital in the zone, disabled passenger vehicles, and school vehicles.

You can see the full list of exemptions here and find out how to apply.

  • Is there any help for people affected?

The city council has £35 million of grants available to help drivers.

This includes a 'scrappage' scheme, where people working in the Zone more than 18 hours per week, earning less than £30,000, can get their vehicle scrapped and in return receive £2,000 towards bus travel or the same amount off the cost of a compliant vehicle.

It went live on May 12 and the first person to use it traded in his 14 year-old Nissan Note for a Skoda Fabia - to commute between Willenhall and work in Central Birmingham.

Other money is available for small and medium sized businesses in the West Midlands with HGVs and coaches, and Birmingham-licensed hackney carriages and private hire drivers.

How do I pay?

Payment will be made online or over the phone.

It will be the driver's responsibility to organise payment.

There will be a 13 day window in which to pay - including six days prior to the visit, the day of the visit and six days after.

There will be around 300 signs around the CAZ to inform the drivers they are entering.

What are the fines?

Failure to pay within the window will result in a fixed penalty notice of £120 reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

When does the Clean Air Zone come into effect?

After delays due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it's now due to come in on June 1 2021. That means that Bath's Clean Air Zone was up and running first - it came in on March 15.

The charges will then apply 24/7, 365 days a year.

A day runs from midnight to midnight - not 24 hours hours from entering the zone. Within the day you can enter and leave many times for a single charge.

You can watch our special programme: Air Pollution: Can we breathe easy?