From Tuesday, 1 June Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone comes into effect, with hundreds of thousands of drivers expected to be affected by the introduction of a daily charge for driving into the city centre.
The delayed scheme has been controversial, with fears over its impact on poorer drivers and the city’s post-Covid recovery but the city council insists it is a vital part of efforts to reduce pollution in the city.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new scheme.
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.
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.
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.
After teething troubles with the payment system, Birmingham City Council confirmed that charges would be waived until June 14.
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.
Exemptions from charges
Birmingham City Council is issuing temporary exemption permits to anyone who lives within the clean air zone or who lives outside it but works more than 18 hours a week at premises within the zone and earns less than £30,000 per year.
Blue badge holders whose vehicle falls into the disabled passenger tax class vehicles (tax class 85) are also automatically exempt.
Businesses with an address registered inside the clean air zone can apply for a year’s exemption from charging for up to two vehicles registered to the business.
You can apply for an exemption permit here.
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).