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06 Jan 2021
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

New Low Emission Zones to charge polluting cars


Sign for a Low Emission Zone

Here are the new plans for Low Emission Zones in 2021, is your city on the list?

Low Emission Zones are areas in a city which charge high-polluting vehicles to enter. 

Many cities in the UK were going to roll out Low Emission Zones. But due to the pandemic and social distancing measures, plans were delayed. 

Even though many of us have substituted our daily commute with a short walk to the kitchen, the Low Emission Zones proposed for 2020 are going ahead this year.

So what are the new plans for Low Emission Zones? And how might they affect you? 

Is there a Low Emissions Zone proposed in your city? Let us know what you think in the comments box below

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Low Emission Zones

A Low Emission Zone (LEZ), or Clean Air Zone (CAZ) aims to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality.

They're often found in areas with high levels of air pollution - usually towns or city centres.

In most cases, you pay to go through these zones if your vehicle has high emissions. If you don’t pay the fee, you may have to pay a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

Most fees apply to diesels built before September 2015. Usually these vehicles don't meet emissions standards. 

In some cases, fees don't apply to petrol cars built after January 2006.

Electric, certain hybrids and other vehicles with zero emissions won't have to pay to enter these areas.

Read more: Electric cars: How they work, their pros and cons


Which cities are enforcing Low Emission Zones in 2020?

The following cities are planning on introducing Low Emission or Clean Air Zones, select a city to find out more:

Read more: UK car and van tax bands explained



Birmingham’s CAZ should have started on 1 July 2020, but it's been delayed until 1 June 2021.

It'll operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

You can enter the zone with no charge if your vehicle is:

  • A moped, motorcycle

  • A diesel vehicle minimum standard Euro 6

  • A petrol vehicle minimum standard Euro 4

  • A vehicle with zero emissions (electric, hydrogen)

  • A low emissions vehicle 

Cars that don't meet emission standards will pay £8 per day. 

You can see the area the CAZ covers on the Birmingham Government map

Residents with a car registered within the CAZ will be exempt from the charge for two years. For a full list of exemptions, visit #brumbreathes

Birmingham government has support available to help people adjust to the CAZ. For example, a £1,000 mobility credit or £2000 scrappage scheme.



The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is in central London within the same area of the congestion charge zone.

It covers all vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards. For more information check out our guide on the ULEZ.

In 2020, they announced that the ULEZ would extend to create a single larger zone bounded by the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards, then you’ll receive a daily fee. This can be up to £200 for some vehicles. 

Check if your vehicle meets emission standards on the Transport for London website

Read more: Ultra Low Emissions Zone: What does it mean for motorists?



Oxford’s Zero-Emission Zone will now run in summer this year.

The following vehicles can use the zero emissions zone:

  • Cars that emit 50 g of CO2/km and drive 70 miles without any emissions. 

  • Vans that emit less than 75 g of CO2/km and drive 10 miles without any emissions

  • Motorcycles and mopeds that don’t emit any CO2 

A full list of vehicles is on the Oxford government website

Vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards will face a charge of £10 between the hours of 7am and 7pm. 

There’ll be a discount for blue badge holders until December 2024. Oxford residents will receive a 90% discount until 2030.

The zone will cover five streets in the centre of Oxford to begin with. 

In 2021/2022 a Green Zone will expand and cover the rest of the city centre. 



Bristol's proposed CAZ should be rolled out in March this year.

You won't be charged to enter the zone if you have a Euro 6 diesel car or a Euro 4, 5 or 6 petrol car.

If your vehicle doesn't meet these standards, you could be charged around £9. Although these charges haven't yet been finalized. 



LEZs were proposed for Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow but these plans have been delayed due to coronavirus.

All being well, the zones should go ahead between February and May 2022.

The Edinburgh LEZ will apply to the city centre for all vehicles that don't meet emissions standards. 

Glasgow introduced a LEZ in 2018, but it only applies to local service buses. In 2022 it'll apply to all vehicles entering the zone that don't meet emission standards.

Currently Aberdeen are still consulting the public on their Low Emission Zone, but more progress will be made this year.

You can visit Aberdeen City Council's website for more information.

Dundee's low emission zone should be implemented between February and May 2022. It will apply to all vehicles that don't meet emission standards.

You can find full details of Scotland's Low Emissions Zones on the Low Emission Zones Scotland website.


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