The Bristol Clean Air Zone: What you need to know

The Bristol Clean Air Zone (CAZ) operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Like other Clean Air Zones in the UK, it is designed to lower harmful emissions in the air by discouraging drivers of older petrol and diesel vehicles from entering the city.

Managed by Bristol City Council and launched in November 2022, the Bristol Clean Air Zone spans the city centre and is managed by a network of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras.

Failure to pay the daily fee will result in a penalty charge notice, but the City Council claims 71% of vehicles entering the zone meet the required emission standards, which means only older vehicles which emit the highest levels of pollution are charged.

Read our in-depth guide to find out more about the Bristol Clean Air Zone. 

What is the Bristol Clean Air Zone?

The Government sets legal limits for air pollution, which is why a number of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) have been introduced in the UK.

Air pollution can be quickly addressed by removing older and more polluting vehicles from city centres. The Bristol Clean Air Zone charges all high-emission vehicles to drive through the city centre, including taxis, vans (including pick-ups and some camper vans), light goods vehicles, buses and trucks.

It’s important to note that, unlike the nearby Bath Clean Air Zone, private cars are charged. Motorcycles do not incur a cost.

Map of Bristol Clean Air Zone

Bristol Clean Air Zone Map

The Bristol Clean Air Zone covers roads in the city centre, including the main routes into the city of Cumberland Basin and Portway. 

Vehicles parked within the zone that do not move are not charged. If a vehicle has to travel into the zone because of an official diversion from a road outside the zone, the M5 for example, the vehicle will not incur a charge, either.

The charge covers all day, which means you can travel in and out of the zone as many times as you require without having to pay again. 

Motorists can check if a postcode is in the CAZ before travelling.

Bristol Clean Air Zone charges

The Bristol Clean Air Zone charge is £9 for most vehicles: however, drivers of large vehicles may be required to pay more.

Vehicle typeCost
MotorcyclesNo charge
Private cars£9
Taxis£9
Minibuses£9
Cars, pickups, and campervans£9
Coaches and buses£100
Trucks and lorries£100

If your vehicle is considered to be non-compliant, you might qualify for a grant to help replace it or pay towards adapting your vehicle to meet emission standards.

Business grants and support are also available, that will prioritise small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and self-employed people who are based or working in the zone.

Bristol Clean Air Zone checker

As a general rule, Bristol Clean Air Zone charges do not apply to:

  • Euro 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles (those registered from 2006 upwards)
  • Euro 6 diesel vehicles (those registered from late-2015 onwards)

If you drive a zero emissions vehicle like an electric car, you will not be charged to enter the Bristol Clean Air Zone. Additionally, modified or retrofitted vehicles registered with the Energy Saving Trust’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) will not be charged. 

You can check your vehicle online via the Government Clean Air Zone portal or call 0300 029 8888 between 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm, Saturday.

What are the times for the Bristol Clean Air Zone?

Bristol Clean Air Zone charges apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays. There will be only one charge for entering the zone in each 24-hour period.

Which vehicles are affected by the Bristol Clean Air Zone?

In line with other Clean Air Zones, the Bristol Clean Air Zone charges vehicles deemed non-compliant with emissions standards, specifically:   

  • Diesel vehicles which have Euro 5 engines or older
  • Petrol vehicles which have Euro 3 engines or older

You can learn more about Euro emissions standards here.

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Bristol Clean Air Zone exemptions

There are exemptions for some drivers who use a vehicle that doesn't meet the Bristol Clean Air Zone emission standards. 

Exemptions may include:

  • disabled passenger tax class vehicles
  • disabled tax class vehicles
  • military vehicles
  • historic vehicles
  • vehicles retrofitted with technology accredited by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)
  • certain types of agricultural vehicles

Some patients and visitors to the Bristol Royal Infirmary hospital may qualify for an exemption from the daily fee.

If you think your vehicle is exempt from the Bristol Clean Air Zone, you should contact the central clean air zone service on 0300 029 8888.

Bristol Clean Air Zone penalties and charges

Failure to pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge will ultimately result in a Penalty Charge Notice of £120 as well as the CAZ charge. This is reduced to £60 plus the CAZ charge if you pay it within 14 days.

How do I pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge?

You can pay the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge six days before travel, on the day, or up to six days after you entered the zone. 

Paying the Bristol Clean Air Zone charge is simple; you pay via the Government's online payment system or call the clean air zone support service on 0300 029 8888 (phone lines open Monday to Friday: 8am to 7pm and Saturday: 8am to 2pm)

Bristol CAZ advice

The Bristol CAZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round – private vehicles will be charged to enter the zone.

  • You maybe able to apply for financial support to replace or adapt your vehicle through Bristol City Council.
  • Use the Bristol CAZ vehicle checker and online map to check if your destination is covered by the CAZ before you start your journey.
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