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Birmingham clean air zone: what to know

May 10, 2023 by

Want to know all about Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, or CAZ? You’ve come to the right place

Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is one of a number of Low Emission Zones that has appeared in recent years.

It went live on 1 June 2021, charging drivers of older, more polluting vehicles an £8 fee to drive into a portion of Birmingham’s city centre.

Designed to improve local air quality, and modelled on the paradigm set out by London’s ULEZ, Birmingham’s CAZ occupies a smaller area than the capital’s zone, but utilises near-identical rules.

Where is the clean air zone in Birmingham?

Birmingham’s CAZ covers all areas inside the A4540 Middleway ring road, though the road itself is not part of the charging zone. Landmarks inside the zone include the Bull Ring shopping centre, Birmingham New Street train station, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Jewelry Quarter.

The CAZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and affects diesel cars not meeting Euro 6 emission regulations (mostly those sold prior to 2016), and petrol models not meeting Euro 4 rules (mainly pre-2005/6 cars).

Over 300 warning signs with a green-and-white cloud surround the zone. The signs have a blue background as you approach the zone, and a white one as you enter it.

What vehicles are exempt from the clean air zone in Birmingham?

Any diesel or diesel-electric hybrid car that meets Euro 6 rules, and any petrol car, or petrol-electric hybrid meeting Euro 4 regulations is exempt from zone fees. Electric cars are all totally exempt.

Because Birmingham’s CAZ operates on the same Euro 6/4 principles as London’s ULEZ, you can find out if your car meets these standards by popping its registration into our ULEZ tracker, or heading over to the Government’s CAZ checker.

How much is the Birmingham clean air zone?

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the rules you will have to pay if you enter the zone. It costs £8 for each daily entry (with payment granting you access until midnight that night) if you’re in a car, while non-compliant buses, coaches and HGV drivers pay £50.

How to pay the Birmingham clean air zone charge

If you need to pay Birmingham’s CAZ you should head to the Government’s official website.

You can pay Birmingham’s CAZ fee the day you drive in, or six days either side; this is more flexible than London’s ULEZ, which only allows you to pay three days after you enter the zone, or one day in advance.

Fail to pay Brimingham’s CAZ fee and you’ll be liable for a penalty of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Do I have to pay the Birmingham clean air zone charge?

There used to be an exemption for residents in the zone with non-compliant cars, but this ended on 1 March 2023. An exemption for people with jobs inside the zone ended in May 2022.

Now, almost anyone who drives a pre-Euro 6 diesel or pre-Euro 4 petrol car into the zone has to pay £8.

One exemption that remains is for people with non-compliant vehicles visiting the following health facilities:

  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Attwood Green Health Centre
  • Badger Medical
  • Millennium Point for Covid vaccinations

Exemption vouchers for visitors to those locations need to be collected from the facility in question, with the voucher code needing to be entered into the Brum Breathes website no more than six days after your visit. This exemption will end on 31 May 2024, though.

An exemption also exists for community and school transport vehicles, though this must be applied for via the Brum Breathes website.

Owners of recovery vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes can also apply for an exemption, as can owners of Showman’s Vehicles, as long as you’re a member of the Showman’s Guild, or Association of Circus Proprietors.

Emergency-service vehicles, and military and historic vehicles (the latter being at least 40 years old) are exempt, too.

Can I appeal a Birmingham clean air zone charge?

If you think you have been issued a Penalty Charge Notice for Birmingham’s CAZ in error, you can appeal this online via Birmingham City Council’s official website.

Is there any financial support to get a compliant vehicle for the Birmingham clean air zone?

If you meet certain criteria you can apply for a £2,000 grant to help towards the purchase of a new vehicle that is compliant with Birmingham’s CAZ.

In order to apply you must:

  • Live outside the zone and work at a job inside it for at least 18 hours a week, and
  • Have owned a non-compliant car since at least 10 September 2018, and
  • Earn under £30,000 a year.

Head over to the Brum Breathes website to apply.