What you need to know about clean air zones

In the bid to stop climate change in its tracks, the UK government requested that by March 2018, each local authority should create an Air Quality Improvement Plan to combat air pollution in regions where the air breaches legal limits. Following its approval, it was said that councils would receive funding to help the development of clean air zones. But you may be left wondering what we know so far?  Read on to find out. 

Clean Air Zone: what is it?

First things first – what is a clean air zone

In short, it’s a designated area that’s taking action to improve the air quality. It could be parts of a city, or even a single road. 

As well as help combat climate change, the clean air zones are designed to help address the health inequalities in our cities and urban populations. It does this by charging anyone that wishes to drive in these parts of a town or city, meaning many re-think their mode of transport. From going green, to walking or cycling – clean air zones aim to save lives and create healthier cities. 

Which cities are part of the scheme?

If you’re planning on travelling to a city near you, you should take a look at which cities have clean air zones. 

Some of the cities with proposed or active clean air zones are: 

  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Derby
  • Leeds
  • Manchester
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton 
  • London

Yet there are others being considered. Some additional zones in London are currently being considered, and other local authorities such as Bristol and Newcastle have flirted with the idea, but later decided it was too costly. 

Who is affected and what can you do about it? 

If you’re in one of the areas with a clean air zone, there’s nothing you can do except pay up if you own a petrol or diesel car! However, if you are required to drive for work – one thing you can do is consider switching your vehicle. 

In many of the local authorities that have introduced the zones, there has been a big push to encourage local businesses to switch to EVs. As well as being better for the planet and cheaper to run, they also circumnavigate the need to pay to enter one of the clean air zones.  Not only that, but you can also receive a grant of up to £2,500 to go towards your new car, as well as up to £350 for an at-home charger

The bottom line is that time is running out to save the planet and our health. As a result, local authorities are increasing the number of clean air zones across the country. To avoid getting caught out, always check where you’re travelling to avoid costly charges. 

If driving in and out of these areas is a necessity for work, you might want to consider getting an EV. That way, you’ll avoid hefty fines, contribute to cleaner air and save the planet at the same time. 

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