Clean Air Zone
Birmingham City Council introduced a Clean Air Zone on Tuesday 1 June 2021. The zone charges the most polluting vehicles to enter parts of the city, in a bid to tackle air pollution.
The zone covers all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself. This will affect anyone driving to City Centre Campus, School of Art and School of Jewellery.
The zone applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your vehicle is not compliant, you will be charged when you drive into the zone.
How the Clean Air Zone works
If your vehicle is not compliant there is a daily charge of £8 to drive into the Clean Air Zone in a private car.
This must be paid up to six days in advance or six days after your journey, and payment can be made online or by phone. There will be no notification of the charge – the driver is responsible for making the payment.
If payment is not made, the driver will incur a Fixed Penalty Notice of £120 (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).
A day is midnight to midnight. If you cross the midnight threshold, for example, if you drive into Birmingham at 11pm and out at 2am the next day, you will be charged twice.
If you enter the zone more than once in any 24-hour period (midnight – midnight), you will only be charged once.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is used to identify the vehicles that enter the Clean Air Zone. Vehicles that aren’t CAZ compliant or exempt will be identified and charged.
The map below shows the area that the Clean Air Zone covers and what BCU sites are affected.
Find out more in our FAQs below, or check www.brumbreathes.co.uk.
Why has the Clean Air Zone been introduced?
The Government has declared a National Health Emergency over air pollution and tasked cities with introducing Clean Air Zones to tackle the problem.
Air pollution has a detrimental impact on health and contributes to over 900 deaths per year. Children are worst affected as they are closer to the ground and therefore closer to exhaust fumes.
The Clean Air Zone will reduce air pollution and improve health. It also feeds into the council’s aim to become net Carbon zero by 2030. It is hoped that the Clean Air Zone will be an enabler of change, encouraging those living and working in Birmingham to change the way they travel.
What are the causes of air pollution?
Research by the council has found that 50% of journeys in Birmingham are made by car. Of these, 250,000 per year are less than one mile long.
The introduction of the zone aims to encourage residents and workers to consider the way they travel and to take the most polluting vehicles off the road.
Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council Dr Justin Varney explains more about the dangers of air pollution in this video.
When does the Birmingham Clean Air Zone apply?
It applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including Bank Holidays. A day’s use runs from midnight to midnight.
Please note: as an example, if you make a journey into the zone in a non-compliant vehicle at 10pm and leave at 1am, you would be liable for two daily charges, as you would have entered the next daily charging phase (from midnight onwards).
How much does the Birmingham Clean Air Zone cost?
It costs £8 per day for non-compliant cars, taxis (hackney carriages and private hire), LGVs and minibuses (up to and including 3.5 tonnes).
Heavier vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches are charged £50 per day.
Will I be charged?
You should check whether your vehicle is compliant using the government’s vehicle checker. If your vehicle is compliant, you don’t need to do anything.
If your vehicle is not compliant, you will be charged to enter the zone after 14 June. If you live or work in the Clean Air Zone, you may be eligible for an exemption.
How do I pay the Birmingham Clean Air Zone charge?
There are several ways to pay the Clean Air Zone charge including online on the government website and by phone with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) National Helpdesk (tel: 0300 029 8888).
You only have to pay the charge once per day, no matter how many times you leave and re-enter the CAZ, though note that a day’s use runs from midnight to midnight.
Payment must be made six days prior to the visit, the day of the visit or six days after the visit. Failure to do so will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice
You can keep up to date with CAZ developments by signing up for the Brum Breathes newsletter.
What do I need to do?
Check whether your vehicle is compliant using the government’s vehicle checker. If your vehicle is compliant, you don’t need to do anything.
If your vehicle is not compliant, you might be eligible to apply for an exemption.
If you are not eligible for an exemption, you will be charged to drive into the zone, and may want to consider changing your vehicle or travelling by other means.
What exemptions are available?
Exemptions are available for the following people and vehicles:
- Two-year exemption for residents within the Clean Air Zone.
- One-year exemption for individuals travelling into the zone for work, who earn less than £30,000 per annum and work more than 18 hours per week.
- One-year exemption for commercial vehicles registered within the zone.
- Some exemptions will apply for hospital visits.
Exemptions also apply for individuals with disabled or disabled passenger tax class, motorcycles, show vehicles, historic vehicles (over 40 years old), specialist vehicles, for example, emergency services and community or school transport.
Exemptions start on the 14 June, not from when you apply. You can apply for exemptions online at brumbreathes.co.uk.
How does the scrappage scheme work?
The Council has partnered with Motorpoint, which has branches in Aston and Oldbury, to deliver the Scrappage and Mobility Scheme, using £10 million in Government funding.
People who work within the Clean Air Zone and earn less than £30,000 per annum will be able to scrap a vehicle that would be subject to the daily fee from 14 June. In exchange, they will receive £2,000 credit towards a compliant vehicle from Motorpoint or £2,000 in a ‘mobility’ credit to use on public transport via Swift Card with Transport for West Midlands.
To be eligible, owners must have been the registered keeper of the vehicle since 10 September 2018 and work for at least 18 hours a week within the Clean Air Zone.
Those who are eligible for the scrappage scheme can express their interest through the Brum Breathes website.
Is support available for students?
There are no specific exemptions for students; however, you can apply for one of the other exemptions if applicable.
What happens to the revenue from the Clean Air Zone?
The zone is aimed at tackling air pollution. The council has said revenue from the zone will be reinvested in transport-related projects and policies, such as:
- City centre pedestrianisation
- Improved cycle lanes
- Parking zones on the perimeter of the Clean Air Zone
- Funding for a hydrogen bus pilot scheme
- Enhanced programme of active and sustainable travel.
What travel alternatives are available?
Walking, cycling, e-scooters or public transport could be an option. Check out our sustainable travel pages for travel guides and more information.