Government website to help drivers and businesses prepare ahead of wave of Clean Air Zones coming into effect in UK cities
Drivers and businesses will be able to find out if they will be affected by clean air zones being introduced in cities across the UK using a new online tool, launched yesterday.
Following the successful introduction of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which charges the most polluting vehicles to enter parts of the capital, similar schemes are due to come into effect in several cities, starting with Birmingham and Leeds.
There are four types of Clean Air Zones planned, known as Class A to D. Class A affects the fewest vehicles, with only buses, coaches, taxis, and private hire vehicles facing a charge to drive within the zone.
In contrast, Class D zones will cover the most vehicle types, with heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), minibuses, delivery vans, and private cars all included.
Leeds City Council is bringing in a Class B clean air zone later this year, while Birmingham City Council is bringing in a Class D charging zone, which is also being put into place later this year.
Further Clean Air Zones will become operational in other cities including Bath and Sheffield in 2020 and 2021.
Ultra-low emission vehicles, disabled passenger vehicles, and military vehicles are among those that are exempt from charges, but as a general rule businesses and motorists of older vehicles will be required to check whether they are subject to the new rules. The new website aims to provide users with a single approved point of reference to confirm which vehicles are impacted by which zones.
Early data following the introduction of London's ULEZ showed that it successfully cut the number of highly polluting vehicles entering central London by nearly 10,000 a day.
It is hoped the new zones will also act as a spur to more investment in cleaner vehicles. For example, the government has provided around £60m to Leeds and Birmingham to retrofit buses and support businesses and drivers affected by the charge.
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