Sell your car today Dealers bid to buy your car!

Sheffield clean air zone guide: what to know

August 02, 2023 by

The Sheffield Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is an area within the city centre which is designed to reduce air pollution. It does this by levying a charge on certain vehicles entering the zone that do not comply with the specified minimum emissions standards.

The Clean Air Zone was introduced on 27 February 2023. It is a Class C zone which applies to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses. This article will explain everything you need to know about the Sheffield CAZ.

Why was a clean air zone introduced in Sheffield?

The reason for introducing a Clean Air Zone in Sheffield was to help reduce the harmful levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in the air. Air pollution in Sheffield contributes to up to 500 deaths per year, and studies showed that introducing a CAZ was one of the quickest methods available to bring Nitrogen Dioxide levels in line with government requirements.

The CAZ targets older, more polluting vehicles by charging them a fee for entering the zone. The aim is to encourage owners and operators of these older vehicles to upgrade to more efficient vehicles.

Sheffield clean air zone map

The Clean Air Zone covers most of the city centre within the A61 ring road. It includes the University of Sheffield on its westernmost side and extends to a small section of the A57 on its easternmost end. Kelham Island on the northern side is just outside the zone as is St Mary’s Church which is just below the A61 on the southern boundary.

There are clearly marked signs on all roads leading to the CAZ, they have a ‘C’ symbol within a cloud over a green background.

The CAZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays and non-compliant vehicles entering it are charged a fee. Enforcement of the Sheffield Clean Air Zone is done by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. These record the number plates of vehicles entering the zone and charge them accordingly.

What vehicles have to pay to enter the Sheffield clean air zone?

The Sheffield CAZ is a Class ‘C’ zone. This means that the following vehicle types need to meet minimum emissions standards to avoid being charged when entering the zone:

  • Buses
  • Coaches
  • Taxis
  • Private hire vehicles
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)
  • Vans – Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs)
  • Minibuses

Buses, coaches and HGVs need to meet Euro 6 emissions standards to avoid charges.

Vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles must meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards to comply with the CAZ.

Private cars and motorcycles are exempt from the CAZ charges and there are also exemptions for other vehicles, which we cover in detail below. If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle will incur a charge, then check it out on the government’s clean air zone vehicle checking site here.

Sheffield clean air zone charges

The daily charges for entering the Sheffield CAZ will differ based on the vehicle type:

  • £10 a day for non-compliant taxis and Private Hire Vehicles and vans
  • £50 a day for non-compliant heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and coaches

You are only charged once per day for entering the CAZ, however if you enter and exit either side of midnight, you will be charged for both days.

How to pay the Sheffield clean air zone charge

The CAZ is monitored using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which check the number plates of all vehicles entering the zone.

How And When To Pay:

If you plan to enter the CAZ zone, you can pay the charge up to six days before the travel date. Once you have entered the CAZ zone you have six days to pay before you are issued with a penalty. You can check on the government website to see whether there are any charges due for your vehicle.

Penalty Charges:

Failing to make the payment within the six-day window will result in a Penalty Charge Notice being issued. The current penalty charge is £120, halved if paid within 14 days. This charge is in addition to the outstanding daily charge owed.

Payment options include:

Paying online. You will need your Vehicle Registration Number (VRN), ticket reference number and credit/debit card details.

Paying by phone. Call 0114 273 5249 and have your VRN, ticket reference number and credit/debit card details handy. The line is open 24/7/365.

Paying at a post office or Paypoint Outlet. You can pay a fine at these places by credit/debit card or cash. Make sure to have your Penalty Charge Notice barcode with you.

Sheffield clean air zone exemptions

Clean Air Zone exemptions do not need to be applied for if your vehicle meets one of the following criteria:

  • It is nationally exempt
  • Meets required emissions standards
  • Is a private car or motorbike (even if it doesn’t meet minimum emissions standards)

The Sheffield CAZ Class ‘C’ rating means that buses, coaches and HGVs need to meet Euro 6 emissions standards to avoid being charged while vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles must meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards.

Check whether your vehicle complies with the CAZ zone here.

There are also local exemptions which apply only to Sheffield’s CAZ

  • Drivers of high emission larger motorhomes. Discounted rates of £10 (instead of £50) can be applied for. A new application needs to be submitted for each entry into the zone.
  • Buses, coaches and minibuses used for school educational trips. A new exemption is required for every trip into the CAZ zone.
  • Community transport vehicles with a community transport permit. This excludes Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicles. The exemption permit lasts for one year and cannot be renewed.
  • Non-commercial coaches and buses and vintage emergency service vehicles. You must apply for specific days to drive into the zone with a maximum of 10 exemption days per financial year.
  • Compliant vehicle on order. An exemption is offered for people who have a compliant vehicle on order or have retrofitted their current vehicle without making use of the financial support measures. The exemption lasts until one year from the launch of the CAZ, or till the delivery date of the new vehicle or retrofit date of the existing vehicle.
  • Disabled adapted minibus, bus or coach. This exemption only applies if the vehicle has a minimum of 10 seats including the driver and has been adapted to carry disabled passengers.
  • Hard to replace vehicles. These include specialist works and heavy goods vehicles, showman’s vehicles and recovery vehicles. The exemptions need to be renewed annually.
  • Specialist emergency services vehicles. These include fire engines, police cars, ambulances, NHS vehicles, pet ambulances, mine rescue vehicles and lifeboat vehicles. Each exemption needs to be renewed annually.

How to Apply for an Exemption

To apply for an exemption you will need to use the Taranto Permits Portal. Each application should be made 28 days before you intend to enter the Clean Air Zone.

Items required include:

  • V5 document – photo or screenshot of the original document
  • Photos of vehicle – front, back and sides

You will receive a confirmation email followed by a second email either accepting or rejecting your application. Read here for more information on specific requirements for each of the exemption categories.

Is there any financial support to adapt or replace a vehicle so it’s compliant?

The financial support provided to those who already own a cleaner vehicle ended on 14 July 2023.

However, support is still available for those planning to purchase a compliant vehicle or retrofit an older vehicle.

The application process comprises two stages. The first stage is eligibility. To be eligible for this incentive, the following criteria need to be met:

  • You must own a vehicle that must pay to enter the CAZ zone
  • Have a valid MOT for the vehicle
  • Have owned the vehicle for at least 12 months before 12 December 2022
  • Have a UK bank account

The vehicle type needs to be one of the following:

  • Coach
  • Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) – Must have a valid Vehicle Operator License
  • Taxi (Hackney Carriage/ Private hire up to 8 seats) – You must hold a taxi vehicle license with Sheffield or Rotherham Council for a minimum of 12 months
  • Van, Light Goods Vehicle (LGV), Motorhome, Campervan, Minibus

Depending on the vehicle, it must either be registered with a business in Sheffield or Rotherham, or be registered to a resident of these areas if it is for personal use. The vehicle must also have entered the CAZ zone twice a week for the past year.

Criteria that exclude you from financial support:

  • Business and residents outside of Sheffield and Rotherham
  • Vehicles already receiving grants from other Clean Air Zone schemes
  • Businesses with over 250 employees, insolvent businesses, and businesses that have already received grants
  • Vehicle types not listed

The second stage of the process involves a detailed credit check by a third party. If you meet all of the above criteria, you can commence with your application here. Up to three vehicles per business or resident can be applied for.

Amount of financial support offered:

The following table shows the maximum amount of financial support that is offered. The total amount may differ based on each application.

For a more detailed view of this process, read about it here.

Can I appeal a Sheffield clean air zone charge?

In certain cases, you may be entitled to a CAZ charge refund. These can include:

  • Duplicate payments made in error
  • Evidence of the GOV.UK vehicle checker providing incorrect info on your vehicle
  • You have a compliant vehicle but the manufacturer has incorrectly recorded the emissions values

You can apply for a refund up to six months after payment was made. A £3 administration fee will be charged.

If you have paid upfront for a journey for a single vehicle using a debit or credit card, visit the Sheffield Clean Air Zone Portal for your refund. For any other situation, use the online form to apply for a refund.

Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.