Clean Air Zone Round Up

Posted on 03 February 2020 by CarTakeBack

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Air quality has become almost daily news, and rightly so - it affects all of us in some way. One of many charities and health organisations to warn us about its effects - the British Heart Foundation estimates that up to 11,000 heart and circulatory disease deaths are attributable to particulate air pollution in the UK every year. They warn that unless laws are introduced to limit current pollution levels then that figure is set to increase drastically.

Pollutants emitted by vehicles are one of the leading causes of air pollution. Although the plans aren't always popular with residents, local authorities across the UK must legally take action to meet clean air targets set by government.

A recent survey conducted by CarTakeBack, revealed that over 50% of drivers thought that clean air zones that ban diesel and/or petrol cars from designated areas were a good idea. Here we're taking a look at some of the clean air plans across the UK, aimed at reducing emissions and improving the air we breathe.

Older Polluting Cars


Birmingham's ambitious long-term aim is “prioritising people over cars” with a plan to make the city carbon neutral by 2030. The city's initial Clean Air Zone plans have recently been approved by government and will see high-polluting cars being charged £8 to travel into the city centre from July 2020. The charge will apply to non-compliant vehicles - diesels manufactured before 2015 and petrol cars made before 2006.

There will be exemptions to the charge and we can expect to receive more detailed information soon. A scrappage scheme is also expected to be announced to help those most affected by the Clean Air Zone upgrade their car or move to a cleaner form of transport.

More information and updates on the plans can be found on the Brum Breathes website.


Bristol broke ground by becoming the first UK city to plan to fully ban diesel cars from the city centre. These plans still need approval from central government but if approved this would be implemented in 2021 and could set a precedent for other cities to follow suit.

The plans also include a Clean Air Zone covering a wider area but targeting diesel powered vans, buses, lorries and taxis.


Glasgow got in early with their Low Emission Zone in December 2018, however this currently only applies to buses with the plan to expand it to all non-compliant vehicles from the start of 2023.


London was the first city to introduce a Clean Air Zone in the UK and was the world's first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone. Introduced in April 2019, the £12.50 per day charge for non-compliant vehicles applies to anyone travelling with Central London. Researchers have found that the ULEZ is already having a positive impact on the city's air quality, the plan is to extend the ULEZ to inner London from October 2021.

As part of the plans to help tackle London's air quality crisis, TfL has launched a car and motorcycle scrappage scheme to help low income and disabled drivers make the move towards greener forms of transport. As well as a van scrappage scheme to support micro businesses, sole traders and charities replace vehicles that don't meet the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standards.

CarTakeBack is proud to be supporting the Transport for London scrappage schemes by recycling the non-compliant vehicles scrapped as part of the scheme.

Most Clean Air Zones are working on the Euro 4 standard for petrol cars and Euro 6 for diesel. Transport for London's online vehicle checker will tell you if your vehicle meets these standards but you should check the criteria for your local Clean Air Zone as it could vary.

London Ultra Low Emission Zone


Manchester's proposed Clean Air Zone was set to focus on charging high-polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, vans and taxis. However, it has been recently reported that Manchester will consider bringing in an Ultra-Low Emission Zone that charges owners of polluting vehicles, including private cars, to drive in Manchester city centre.


Oxford has announced they will be implementing a charging Clean Air Zone towards the end of the year. This will see vehicles that aren't zero emission being charged for entering the zone.


York has focused its initial plans on buses and wants buses that enter its Clean Air Zone five or more times a day to meet ULEB (Ultra-Low Emission Bus) standards (Euro 6 diesel, gas-powered or electric). It has just been announced that the

City of York Council has awarded £1.6m to five bus companies to help them prepare for the upcoming Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for buses which is to be launched 31st January 2021.

As an effort to become carbon-neutral by 2030, banning the majority of private cars from the city centre may also form part of their plan.

Other Clean Air Zones

There are many cities with plans for CAZs in the pipeline including;

  • Aberdeen
  • Bath
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Cambridge
  • Cardiff
  • Derby
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Newcastle
  • Portsmouth
  • Reading
  • Sheffield
  • Slough

See our future blogs for further information on these cities and their plans.

CarTakeBack is pleased to be on hand to help any of the local authorities with their scrappage needs.

If you want to keep up to date with clean air plans in your area and across the UK, Air Quality News is a great source of information.

If you're thinking of doing your bit towards air quality and recycling your older, polluting car and upgrading to a newer cleaner model, or better still planning on going car free, then get an instant online quote from CarTakeBack. We'll recycle your old car to the highest standards.

If you want to go even further, CarTakeBack's sister company Charity Car has some amazing environmental and health charities that you could donate the value of your old car to! You could help to fund the vital work being done to clean up the air we breathe, or support those whose health has been affected by it.