Last updated March 24, 2023
Following the launch of London’s Congestion Charge and ULEZ (Ultra-low Emission Zone), several major cities have implemented their own ‘Clean Air Zones’, including Bath and Birmingham. Bristol also officially introduced a Clean Air Zone in November 2022.
If you live in Bristol or drive in the area regularly, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with where Bristol’s Clean Air Zone operates, what the charges are - and which vehicles are exempt. Read on to learn more and stay compliant.
The Bristol Clean Air Zone operates within a large area of Bristol’s city centre, including Canon’s Marsh, Queen Square, Cumberland Road and Friary, with boundaries at Hotwell Road, Park Row and Bristol Temple Meads.
The Bristol Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charges apply to higher-polluting vehicles that do not meet the acceptable CO2 emission levels outlined by European standards.
To qualify for Clean Air Zone charge exemption, petrol vehicles must meet Euro 4 emission standards, whilst diesel vehicles must meet Euro 6 emission standards. Drivers of both private and commercial vehicles are liable to pay the charge if they do not meet the relevant emissions criteria.
The amount you are liable to pay for the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge will vary depending on the kind of vehicle that you drive.
Those driving private petrol and diesel cars, taxis, and light goods vehicles (under 3.5 tonnes) are charged £9 per day, whilst those driving heavy goods vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes), buses and coaches are liable to pay £100 per day. This is simply because larger vehicles emit higher levels of CO2.
You must pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge within a twelve-day window which opens six days before your journey and closes six days after.
According to the Bristol City Council website, the following vehicles will be exempt from the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge:
It's important to note that these exemptions may be subject to change. Therefore, you should always check the Bristol City Council website for the most up-to-date information.
If your car does not meet the exemption criteria highlighted above and you travel in Clean Air Zones on a regular basis, the most economical option may be to sell your car and make the switch to a greener model.
You can find out how much your current car could be worth by entering your reg number into our free Car Valuation tool.
Drivers can pay the daily Bristol Clean Air Zone charge online via the bristol.gov.uk website. Businesses such as taxi companies and coach providers can set up a business account to manage payments for multiple vehicles.
If you don't pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge, you may receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £120 (reduced to £60 if you pay within 14 days). You won’t be notified after driving within the Bristol Clean Air Zone; it’s your responsibility to know when you’re expected to pay the charge.
If you receive a PCN for not paying the Bristol Clean Air Zone fee and fail to pay or challenge the PCN within 28 days, the fine is increased to £180, which must be paid in addition to the original Clean Air Zone charge.
Continued failure to pay the PCN will mean that the money you owe will then be recovered through the county court or through bailiff action.