Which UK towns and cities will have to pay a congestion charge?

Whilst other headlines have overshadowed environmental plans, the government is still very much set on their Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener. This strategy sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet an ambitious net-zero target by 2050. One of the main ways they plan to achieve this is through rolling out congestion charges across the UK.

Drivers across the UK are being forced to check whether they will face a daily pollution charge as more zones are rolled out in a bid to reduce air pollution. One of the first cities to implement the changes was London. Due to the success of the scheme, they are widening the zone, resulting in thousands being forced to pay a fee.

Which UK cities and towns are included in the clean air zone schemes?

Car on motorway

As the plan is rolled out things may change, however, here is the current list of towns and cities where the clean air schemes will be rolled out.

LONDON CONGESTION CHARGE - Introduced (expanded on 25 October 2021)

What is it: Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charging older petrol and diesel vehicles in the capital.

When is it going to be introduced: Enforced in the Congestion Charge Zone from 8 April 2019 - expanded 18 times in size to inner London on 25 October 2021.

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis (registered black cabs exempt), private hire vehicles (PHVs), heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), light goods vehicles (LGVs) and car drivers.

Cost to car drivers: £12.50 daily charge if a diesel car isn't Euro 6 or petrol isn't at least Euro.

BATH CONGESTION CHARGE - Introduced

What is it: The first Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to be introduced outside of London - but does not charge car drivers.

When is it going to be introduced: Enforced from 15 March 2021.

Vehicles charged:  Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and LGVs

Cost to car drivers:  Zero 

BIRMINGHAM CONGESTION CHARGE - Introduced

What is it: A daily Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge for drivers of older petrol and diesel cars to enter the limits of the city ring road.

When is it going to be introduced: Enforced from 1 June 2021

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and car drivers. 

Cost to car drivers:  £8 daily charge if a diesel car isn't Euro 6 or petrol isn't at least Euro 4.

PORTSMOUTH CONGESTION CHARGE - Introduced

What is it: Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to sting incoming vehicles but not car drivers.

When is it going to be introduced: 29 November 2021.

Vehicles charged:  Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and HGVs.

Cost to car drivers: Zero

OXFORD CONGESTION CHARGE - Introduced

When is it going to be introduced: The pilot scheme is due to go live in February 2022.

What is it: First Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) to be piloted that charges all but electric vehicles to enter 8 city centre streets.

Vehicles charged:  All drivers of vehicles with petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles.

Cost to car drivers:  £2 - £10 daily charge

BRADFORD CONGESTION CHARGE - Due January 2022 - On hold until Spring 2022

What is it: Clean Air Zone (CAZ) that does not charge car drivers.

When is it going to be introduced: 5 January 2022 - Now on hold until Spring

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and LGVs.

Cost to car drivers: Zero

ABERDEEN, DUNDEE, EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW CONGESTION CHARGE - Due Spring 2022 

What is it: Low Emission Zones (LEZ) banning older petrol and diesel vehicles.

When is it going to be introduced: Spring 2022 but not enforced until 2024. 

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and car drivers. 

Cost to car drivers:  Penalty Charge Notice of £60 (reduced by 50% if paid within 2 weeks) for non-compliant cars.  

MANCHESTER CONGESTION CHARGE - Due 30 May 2022

What is it: Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for Greater Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan.

When is it going to be introduced: 30 May 2022.

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and LGVs.

Cost to car drivers: Zero

NEWCASTLE CONGESTION CHARGE - Due July 2022

What is it: Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Newcastle city centre but also Gateshead and North Tyneside - but not charge car drivers.

When is it going to be introduced: July 2022

Vehicles charged:  Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and LGVs.

Cost to car drivers: Zero

BRISTOL CONGESTION CHARGE - Due summer 2022

What is it: Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charging drivers of older passenger cars who travel in the zone.

When is it going to be introduced: Summer 2022

Vehicles charged:  Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and car drivers.

Cost to car drivers:  £9 daily charge if a diesel car isn't Euro 6 or petrol isn't at least Euro 4.

SHEFFIELD CONGESTION CHARGE - Due late 2022

What is it: An inner-city Clean Air Zone (CAZ) targeted at the dirtiest vehicles - but not cars.

When is it going to be introduced: Proposed for late 2022.

Vehicles charged: Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and LGVs.

Cost to car drivers: Zero

LIVERPOOL CONGESTION CHARGE - Due 2022/2023

What is it: A proposed Clean Air Zone (CAZ) with no clear plans yet in place.

When is it going to be introduced: Proposed for the financial year 2022-23.

Vehicles charged:  Unconfirmed

Cost to car drivers:  Unconfirmed

Congestion charge zone checker 

If the scheme has been introduced in your city and you are wondering if you will need to pay a charge, you can use the government’s congestion charge zone checker, here. For London, specifically, you can find out how much you’ll need to pay on the London Transport website, here.

In summary

You may have noticed that the schemes focus heavily on commercial vehicles, however, there are some instances where cars will face charges.The charges have been rolled out in London, Bath, Birmingham, and Portsmouth however most major cities in the UK across 2022 and leading into 2023. 

You can currently check on the government website to find out if the region you live in or will be travelling to, will be affected by clicking on this link. If you are travelling through London you will want to check the London Transport website, here.

A word to the Wise

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Questions around the reliability of electric vehicles have been raised. The durability of the battery operating system (EV Powertrain) has been a hot topic for discussion. We have addressed some of the myths around the durability of EV batteries in our article, EV powertrain durability myths, which should hopefully put your mind at ease. 

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