Parts of Bristol will be covered by a new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) from summer 2022, which could mean you’ll need to pay £9.00 to drive in the city centre. Here’s who will need to pay the new charging scheme for drivers, how to pay and how much you can be fined if you forget.
Much of Bristol will now become a charging zone for drivers of older cars (Credit: Pxhere.com)
What vehicles will have to pay the Bristol 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.
How much will I have to pay to drive in 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
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 notification when I enter 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.
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 if I forget to pay the Bristol CAZ?
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 will 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?
It looks like drivers of qualifying vehicles will need to pay the CAZ charge on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the rest of the festive period. However, there is always the possibility that policy will be changed to make it free to drive in the CAZ over Christmas. We'll update this guide with any new exemptions closer to the time.
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.
Most read motoring content
Take a look at more of our top motoring-related content here...
Can I book cancelled driving tests to beat the rush?
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 Bristol CAZ?
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?
Pete Barden has written and edited for publications including The Sun, Whatcar? Stuff Magazine, Fastcar Magazine, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP).