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Bristol clean air zone: what to know

May 11, 2023 by

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

Bristol’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is one of a number of Low Emission Zones that has appeared in recent years, all of which are designed to improve local air quality, mainly by targeting older diesel cars that don’t have nitrogen-dioxide-busting AdBlue technology and diesel particulate filters.

Bristol’s CAZ went live on 28 November 2022, charging drivers non-compliant cars a £9 daily fee to drive into a small portion of the centre of Bristol

Designed to improve local air quality, and using the same principles as London’s ULEZ, Bristol’s CAZ occupies a far smaller area than the capital’s zone, but utilises near-identical rules.

Where is the clean air zone in Bristol?

Bristol’s CAZ covers a small central area of the city, bordered by roads including Queen’s Parade, Upper Maudlin Street, Marlborough Street, Bond Street, York Road, Coronation Road and Brunel Road, plus a few residential streets just outside the border of those roads. A spur of Hotwell road to the west of the city is also inside the zone, as is the eastern side of Bridge Valley Road.

Bristol’s CAZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Drivers of diesel cars not meeting Euro 6 emission regulations (mostly those sold prior to 2016), and petrol cars not meeting Euro 4 rules (mainly pre-2005/6 cars) have to pay to enter the zone.

Advanced warning signs feature a green-and-white cloud on a blue background, while the same cloud appears on white signs as you enter the zone and when you are inside it; similar signs are positioned for drivers to see as they leave the CAZ.

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

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 Bristol’s CAZ fees. Electric cars are all totally exempt.

Bristol’s CAZ operates on the same Euro 6/4 principles as London’s ULEZ, so 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 Bristol clean air zone?

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the rules you will have to pay if you enter the zone. It costs £9 for each daily entry (with payment granting you access until midnight that night) if you’re in a car, taxi or van weighing under 3.5 tonnes, while non-compliant buses, coaches and goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes pay £100.

How to pay the Bristol clean air zone charge

Bristol’s CAZ charge is managed at a national level, so you need to head to the Government’s official website to pay it.

You can pay Bristol’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.

Residents who live in the zone and have non-compliant cars only need to pay if their car moves; parked cars are not charged the daily fee.

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

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

Motorcycles are not subject to CAZ rules, while exemptions exist for some vehicles, namely:

  • Disabled passenger tax class vehicles
  • Disabled tax class vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Historic vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles retrofitted with accredited AdBlue technology
  • Some agricultural vehicles
  • Some specialist vehicles (EG cranes, gritters, snowploughs).

Visitors and patients of some local health facilities may be granted exemption certificates at the discretion of ward staff. These facilities comprise:

  • Bristol Royal Infirmary
  • Bristol Heart Institute
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre
  • St Michael’s Hospital
  • Bristol Dental Hospital
  • Bristol Eye Hospital
  • Central Health Clinic

Can I appeal a Bristol clean air zone charge?

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

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

People earning under £27,000 who work in the zone could apply for a £2,000 grant to help them upgrade to a compliant vehicle, but applications for this scheme ended in November 2022.