• 2024-03-20 08:00:12
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Your Guide to UK Low Emission Zones

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As part of the UK government’s plan to improve air quality across the country, we’re seeing more and more cities implement Low Emission Zones. If you’re wondering what a Low Emission Zone is and how it could affect your journey, read on.

What are low emission zones?

Low Emission Zones, often abbreviated to LEZs, are designated areas where access is restricted for high-polluting vehicles. They are also sometimes known as Clean Air Zones, or CAZs, but both generally follow the same structure. These areas are typically in cities, and the LEZ and CAZ schemes are designed to improve the air quality.

By limiting how many high-polluting vehicles can travel in the designated LEZs, the air quality should be improved. This can help protect public health and also help to lessen the impact on the environment, by encouraging people to use active travel such as cycling or walking, and/or to switch to electric vehicles which have lower emissions.

Where are there low emission zones in the UK?

There are low emission zones in:

  • Aberdeen
  • Brighton
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Bath
  • Bradford
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Greater Manchester
  • London
  • Newcastle
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield
  • Tyneside – Newcastle and Gateshead

Most of these LEZs only apply to local buses. Only the Scottish cities and the following English cities affect public drivers:

  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Greater Manchester
  • London
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield
  • Tyneside – Newcastle and Gateshead

London has a LEZ and a ULEZ, which stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. These two zones will have different regulations around what sort of vehicles can access without charge.

How do I know if I need to pay to drive in a LEZ?

The UK government has a Clean Air Zones page where you can check if you’ll need to pay a fee to drive in the city. There are separate pages for the London LEZ and ULEZ and the LEZs in Scotland.

Most CAZs and LEZs operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, if you have a vehicle that isn’t compliant and you need to drive through one of the designated areas, you’ll need to pay the fee regardless of the time or date. Some areas may have exemptions for bank holidays – you should always check the local area for the date and time you’ll be driving to be sure.

Below are the current standards for compliant vehicles allowed in LEZs:

Vehicle type LEZ/CAZ minimum standard
Petrol Euro 4/IV (typically includes vehicles registered in or after 2006)
Diesel Euro 6/VI (typically includes vehicles registered in or after September 2015)
Motorcycles Euro 3 (typically includes vehicles registered in or after 2006)
Electric Vehicles Most plug-in vehicles, including plug-in hybrids

 

How much does it cost to drive in a LEZ?

Each LEZ and CAZ will have slightly different fee structures.

In the ULEZ in London, cars, motorcycles, vans, specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) that aren’t exempt will need to pay £12.50 per day. For heavier vehicles, including lorries over 3.5 tonnes and buses over 5 tonnes, there will be a fee of £100 per day. Some large buses and coaches that do not meet the Euro 4 emission standards could face a fee of £300 a day.

In Birmingham, the fees are slightly cheaper; it costs £8 a day for cars and £50 a day for lorries and HGVs. In Bristol, cars may face a charge of £9 if they’re not exempt and HGVs will need to pay £100 a day.

You can check the local fee costs and regulations for the city and LEZ you intend to drive in. There is usually a timeframe in which the fee will need to be paid – if you miss the deadline, you will often need to pay a higher fee.

GetCarFinanceHere has helped thousands of customers successfully apply for car finance. We can help you finance your new car, whether you’re looking for low-emission petrol, diesel, or even electric vehicles. Apply online today or contact us to talk to our friendly team who will help guide you through the process.

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