Council urges car owners to get ready for Clean Air Zone

Financial support available for eligible people and businesses


Bristol residents and business owners are being urged by the city council to get ready for the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to be introduced next summer.

Car owners are being asked to check if their vehicles are complaint with emission standards – and if not they could be eligible for financial support to upgrade them.

The CAZ is being introduced to make sure the city meets the government’s legal limits for air pollution within the shortest possible time.

Older and more polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge to enter the zone which will include the city centre and Cumberland Road as well as Temple Gate and the approach road to Temple Meads Station.

To the south of the city it will extend to roads at the top of Greville Smyth Park and include Ashton Gate underpass.

Image Bristol City Council website.

Charges will be £9 for smaller vehicles and £100 a day for larger vehicles – and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Three quarters of vehicles in the city are already compliant so the Mayor of Bristol is urging people to check their registration on the council website – as they might not need to pay a daily charge.

For those with non-compliant vehicles, Bristol City Council has secured £42m for grants or interest-free loans to reduce the cost of replacing vehicles that would be charged to enter the zone.

The money can be used to buy a new or second-hand vehicle that meets the zone’s emissions standards.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We have always said we don’t want a Clean Air Zone to detrimentally impact the finances of those on low incomes or businesses that have already had a difficult two years. That’s why we have worked hard to get the best deal for Bristol which includes £42m for people to get cleaner vehicles.

“We have also increased the limit for those deemed on a low income from £24,000 to £26,000. This will rise to £27,000 in spring 2022, so more people are eligible for this funding.

“I urge everyone to go online, enter your registration number and find out if you’re compliant. If your vehicle will be charged to enter the zone then contact us to find out what help you can get with either exemptions, an interest free loan, or even a grant which you don’t pay back.

“You don’t need to buy a brand new electric car which are unaffordable for most people – it could be as simple as going to your local second hand dealer and upgrading your 2003 car for a 2006 one.” 

Bristol was one of several towns and cities ordered by the government to tackle air pollution – for failing to comply with legal limits.

But Mayor Rees says improving air quality must “minimise any disproportionate impact on businesses and citizens”.

He added: “We are tackling two major challenges – climate and inequality. While the Clean Air Zone will help us meet the legal standards for air quality as set out by Government, it won’t help with the myriad of complex issues that make up a city or help us solve a transport system that has been under invested in for decades.

“We are therefore committed to getting the Clean Air Zone in place, while working on creating a fairer, greener city for all with a mass transit system that services everyone.” 

About the support

The support scheme is designed to significantly reduce the final cost of either replacing or adapting vehicles that don’t meet the zone’s emission standards.

For many individuals or businesses, upgrading to a vehicle that meets the zone’s emission standards could be a cost-effective alternative to paying the charge over the longer term.

Vehicle typeGrant per vehicleLoan per vehicleFunding award
Car£2,000£5,000£879,189
Taxi PHV£1,500£9,000£1m
Taxi Hackney£4,000£9,000£1.3m
LGV (vans and larger vehicles under 3.5 tonnes)£4,000£16,000£9.6m
HGV£16,000£26,000£743,772
Coach£16,000£35,000£1.1m
Bus retrofit£0£0£0

Eligible residents and businesses will be able to apply for the maximum grant or the maximum loan. The council will pay the interest on all loans.

Priority will be given to individuals, sole traders, charities and small businesses located in the Bristol City Council area and neighbouring areas, or with premises in the zone. 

Residents and businesses can register their interest for financial support at Bristol’s Clean Air Zone where they can also find out more about the zone and check their vehicle. The council will put individuals and businesses in touch with finance providers in the new year.

A range of exemptions will also be available to give eligible businesses and individuals time to prepare for the zone.

All residents in the zone with a vehicle that doesn’t meet its emission standards can apply for an exemption giving them until the end of 2022 to upgrade their vehicle.

Visit Bristol’s Clean Air Zone page to check your vehicle, view the map and find out how the zone will affect you.