Birmingham Clean Air Zone: map, how much is charge and how to pay, and how to use online vehicle checker

Everything you need to know about the low-emissions zone from which postcodes are covered to how to check if your vehicle is exempt and make online payments

Birmingham’s clean air zone has raised more than £33 million for the council since being introduced in June 2021.

According to Local Government Chronicle, the authority has earmarked £22m of that revenue for green projects designed to improve air quality in the city.

Birmingham’s emissions control zone is among the strictest in the UK and is one of only two which charge private vehicle drivers for entering the controlled area. The £33m generated between June 2021 and March 2022 came from a combination of drivers paying the daily charge and from penalty charge notices issued to those who breached the rules.

Even before its introduction the scheme proved controversial, with fears over its impact on poorer drivers but the city council insists it is a vital part of efforts to reduce pollution in the city. It says the scheme has been a success, pointing out that the proportion of non-compliant vehicles entering the zone has dropped from 18.7% in June 2021 to 8.8% in May 2022.

Birmingham clean air zone

With the scheme well and truly bedded in and making money, here’s everything you need to know about it.

Where is the Birmingham clean air zone?

The Birmingham clean air zone covers all streets within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road but does not cover the ring road itself. Sixty-seven automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras around the zone will monitor traffic to track compliant and non-compliant vehicles entering the area.

Birmingham clean air zone map (Graphic: Kim Mogg/JPI Media)

Postcodes covered by the zone include B1, B10, B12, B15, B16, B18, B19, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7 and B9.

When does the clean air zone operate?

Birmingham’s clean air zone restrictions are in place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For the purpose of charging, days are counted from midnight to midnight, not a 24-hour period from when you enter the zone.

300 signs around the city mark out the new clean air zone

How much is the clean air zone charge?

Drivers of non-compliant cars, taxis and vans (up to 3,500kg) must pay £8 per day to enter the clean air zone. Operators of non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches are subject to a £50 daily charge.

The penalty for not paying the charge is £120, reduced to £60 if you pay within a fortnight.

Do I have to pay the Birmingham clean air zone charge?

The charge only applies to older, more polluting vehicles while newer, cleaner cars and vans are exempt from the fee.

Any petrol vehicle which does not meet at least Euro 4 emissions regulations is subject to the charge, as is any diesel which is not Euro 6 compliant. Generally, this means pre-2006 petrol and pre-2015 diesel vehicles.

You can check if your vehicle is exempt from the charges using this government tool.

How to check if you are exempt from charges

Birmingham City Council is issuing temporary exemption permits to anyone who lives within the clean air zone. The permits allow anyone who lives in within the zone and who owns a non-compliant vehicle to avoid charges until 31 May 2023. A previous exemption for drivers who live outside it but work within it, earning less than £30,000 was scrapped in June 2022.

Blue badge holders whose vehicle falls into the disabled passenger tax class vehicles (tax class 85) are automatically exempt.

How to pay the Birmingham Clean Air Zone charge

You will not be notified if you need to pay the clean air zone charge so you need to be aware of the charging zone and whether your vehicle is exempt from charges or not. The zone is marked out by 300 signs around the city.

You can pay up to six days in advance of a trip into the clean air zone, on the day of your journey or up to six days afterwards.

Payments can be paid online using the Government's payment system or over the phone by calling 0300 029 8888 (Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm).