If you or your company operates a fleet of vehicles in the UK you are probably aware of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which launched in London in April 2019. In a nutshell, operators of non-Euro-6 HGV’s pay £100 and vans pay £12.50 a day to enter an area of central London to help reduce air pollution levels.


However, did you know that the ULEZ, which operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, will expand across the whole of Greater London for HGVs from October?

Charges for Euro-3 lorries or older will be £300 a day, and for vans the ULEZ will be expanded up to the North and South Circular from October 2021.

Over the next two years a number of UK cities are following suit, so it’s important to get yourself up to speed on the developments and start planning how the Clean Air Zones (CAZ) will impact your business.

According to Public Health England, air pollution is the biggest threat to health in the UK, with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure.


In June 2019


the UK government passed a law committing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This target was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body. Net zero means any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Alongside this is the Road to Zero strategy – for cars and vans it states that by 2040 no more petrol or diesel models will be sold. For HGVs – the government acknowledges that the technology is still in its infancy for many vehicle types but is committed to supporting R&D work and trials of new technology.


Birmingham and Leeds are expected to launch their CAZ schemes this summer. Birmingham has chosen a Class D CAZ (see below) with its charges set at £50 per day for HGVs and £8 for vans. Leeds has chosen a Class B CAZ – which excludes cars and vans – which covers more than half of the city and incurs a £50 daily charge.


Derby, Nottingham and Southampton have had their CAZ plans approved by the government but do not include a charging zone.


Meanwhile in Scotland,


The cities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh are working on their plans for Low Emission Zones which are expected to be consulted on and launched by the end of the year. In Glasgow, the first phase aimed at buses, launched in 2018, with HGV and other vehicles affected by the end of 2022.


Greater Manchester has proposed the largest CAZ outside of London, with a Class C CAZ due to start in 2021 with charges of £100 per day for HGVs and £7.50 for vans.

Bath and North East Somerset Council will also introduce a Class C CAZ from late 2020 with non-compliant HGVs charged £100 per day to enter and vans £9.

Bristol City Council is aiming for a ban on diesel cars in its city centre between 7am and 3pm, alongside a wider Class C CAZ affecting larger vehicles. Non-compliant HGVs will pay £100 to enter and vans will face a £9 charge.


A Breakdown of the CAZ Class Categories:


All CAZ require a minimum of Euro-4 petrol or Euro-6 diesel vehicles.


Class A: Bus, coach, taxi and private hire

Class B: Bus, coach, HGV, taxi and private hire

Class C: Bus, coach, HGV, large vans, minibus, small vans, taxi and private hire.

Class D: Bus, coach, HGV, large vans, minibus, small vans, cars, taxi, private hire, motorcycles and moped (optional Euro-3).


This month a new online service has also launched at gov.uk to help drivers and companies prepare for the introduction of CAZs and the imminent launches in Birmingham and Leeds. As well as the online vehicle checker, the government has already provided around £60million to Leeds and Birmingham to retrofit buses and support businesses and drivers affected by the change – which could offer help to you. To use the service, go to: https://www.gov.uk/check-clean-air-zone-charge


So, what should you do next?

  • Note that compliant vehicles are Euro-6 diesels or Euro-4 petrol
  • Check with local authorities for any funding or exemptions – particularly for HGVs
  • Consider allocating non-compliant vehicles to alternative routes
  • Consider your options for upgrading fleets with compliant vehicles

Here at Hexagon Leasing, our sales team are clued up on the imminent CAZs and Low Emission Zones. So please, give them a call on 0844 567 9666 or contact us to discuss your options in terms of upgrading your fleet to ensure you’re ready to help do your bit in cutting air pollution levels.