Do I pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in evenings and at weekends?

The Bristol Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is an initiative aimed at reducing air pollution in the city of Bristol. Here motoring journalist and expert Pete Barden, regular visitor to the city,  provides an overview of the CAZ, including the reasons for its implementation, the areas it covers, and the types of vehicles that will be affected, when you will need to pay it - and how much it will cost.

Much of Bristol will become a clean air zone where some drivers will need to pay to enter.Much of Bristol will now become a charging zone for drivers of older cars (Credit:

When did the Bristol CAZ start?

The Government has set legal limits for pollution and Bristol introduced its Clean Air Zone on Monday 28 November 2022. From this date vehicles that don't meet the required standards on emissions have had to pay the daily charge. Failure to do so will mean penalties being issued. 

What vehicles have to pay the Clean Air Zone charges?

If you have an older car, it is likely you will be targeted to pay thee charge. While residents will get help, many people who do not live in Bristol but need to drive there to work will need to pay.

The following vehicles are likely to be liable to pay the charge:

  • Charges will not apply to Euro 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles (roughly 2006 onwards)
  • Charges will not apply to Euro 6 diesel vehicles (roughly end of 2015 onwards)

A rough guide to your car's statue can be found here.

Date car registered from Emissions standard
31 December 1992 Euro 1
1 January 1997 Euro 2
1 January 2001 Euro 3
1 January 2006 Euro 4
1 January 2011 Euro 5
1 September 2015 (see note) Euro 6

You can check if your vehicle will be charged the Bristol Caz by entering the reg here on the Gov.UK website.

Where does the Bristol Clean Air Zone cover?

The Bristol CAZ covers the city centre. Here is a map of the area covered. Photo courtesy of Bristol City Council.

The Bristol clean air zone area

How much is the Bristol CAZ?

Cars, taxis and vans that don’t reach the correct standards will be charged £9 a day to enter the zone, while such buses, coaches and lorries will be charged £100 each day, according to the plans submitted to the Government in February 2021.

The full list of charges for non-compliant vehicles are expected to be as follows:

  • Private cars £9
  • Taxis £9
  • LGVs £9
  • HGVs £100
  • Buses £100
  • Coaches £100
  • Motorcycles no charge

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How do I pay the Bristol Clean Air zone charge?

When the Bristol CAZ is operational, the charges must be paid via the government’s online payment system or by calling their Clean Air Zone Support Centre on 0300 029 8888 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 7pm, Saturday: 8am to 2pm).

Will I get a reminder after entering the Bristol CAZ?

No – there will be no reminders or any form of notification that you owe the charge – so anyone who inadvertently enters the zone will likely get a fine. Drivers will be held responsible for paying the charge.

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How long do I get to pay the Bristol CAZ charge?

Drivers can pay the charge to enter Bristol’s Clean Air Zone from up to six days before until six days after entering the zone.

How much is the fine for not paying?

If you don’t pay the charge within the payment window, you could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice of £120 (this will be cut to £60 if you pay it within 14 days).

When does the Bristol CAZ operate?

It is expected that the Bristol Clean Air Zone will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Will I have to pay the Bristol Caz on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and over the festive period?

Drivers of qualifying vehicles will need to pay the CAZ charge on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the rest of the festive period. The charge is in place 365 days a year and all day long from 12am to 12pm. So make sure you remember to pay if visiting friends or family in the city over Christmas.

I was diverted through the Bristol CAZ – will I need to pay the charge?

No. If there was an official diversion directing you drivers into the zone, they will not be liable to pay. However, making a payment could mean you lose the money.

How many people will need to pay the Bristol CAZ?

The council says that 71% of residents’ vehicles reach the minimum standard, but that leaves a large number of motorists who will be forced to pay up to £45 a week to drive cars in the city – or £500 for some trucks and buses.

Who will be exempt from paying?

The following exemptions are likely to apply:

  • People on low incomes (up to £27,000 a year) who have to travel into the zone for work
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) patients and visitors will be exempt from the Clean Air Zone charge.
  • Blue Badge holders and those with a disabled tax class vehicle or disabled passenger tax class vehicle
  • Community transport providers working under a Section 19 permit
  • People with commercial vehicles subject to finance agreements
  • Council-funded buses, minibuses or coaches as home-to-school vehicles
  • Families who get Personal Travel Budgets who travel through the zone on route to school.

I live in the zone and have a non-compliant car, will I get charged?

Just owning an older polluting car while living in the Bristol CAZ will not mean you are charged, but as soon as you drive the car anywhere on a public road, you will need to pay the relevant fee.

However, residents inside the zone with a non-compliant vehicle will be offered a one-year exemption to give them more time to apply for financial support to switch to a compliant vehicle or other mode of transport.

Where can I see the Bristol CAZ on a map?

The full Bristol CAZ can be seen on this map here

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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