London’s Congestion Charge has been around for nearly two decades, and taking exhaust gases out of the Capital’s air was one reason for its introduction. An increasing number of other British cities have similar plans for what are generally known as CAZ Clean Air Zones, focusing on areas of serious emissions-sourced air pollution. In late October 2021 London will also expand the charging zones to the North and South Circular Roads (see here).
To start with, most zones will be exempting private cars from their pay-to-drive plans, however polluting they might be, but there will be some exceptions.
Many buses, commercial vehicles, taxis and often older petrol cars that don’t meet Euro 4 exhaust gas regulations (Euro 6 for diesels) are in the charging firing line.
There will be signage to tell drivers when they’re crossing a CAZ border, number plate recognition cameras to record vehicles, and official payment portals -just like the long-standing London Congestion Charge.
There are four CAZ charging categories, which will operate constantly all year round:
- A. For buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles.
- B. Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and mini buses.
- C. Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire and heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses.
- D. Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars. Motorcycles can be included if a local authority wants this.