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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bradford Clean Air Zone starts 26 September; here’s all you need to know

With inputs from Chris Young

Bradford has been identified by the UK government as exceeding air pollution levels at several locations across the city. Many of these areas are in the inner-city where the most deprived wards are located with high levels of ethnic diversity and young people under the age of 16. Improving air quality for these areas would therefore help those who are the most affected by air pollution. Therefore, starting Monday, 26 September, the Bradford Clean Air Zone is set to go live


  • Travellers and residents can use the government website www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones, to check whether charges will apply to their vehicle in Bradford and other zones. A business or organisation can check multiple vehicles.
  • It is important for drivers to recognise and understand the meaning of the Clean Air Zone traffic symbols in order to avoid being penalised when driving in these controlled zones.
  • Signage on roads in and around the zone, showing a white cloud symbol within a green circle, will indicate that a Clean Air Zone scheme is in operation. The letter C is used in Bradford denoting the class of the zone.
  • All signage for the Bradford Clean Air Zone is positioned in accordance with Department for Transport guidance. All approaches to the zone are signed, warning you of the zone ahead. All points of entry to the zone offer opportunities to avoid the zone. The primary job of the signage is to discourage entry of non-compliant vehicles, reducing emissions from these older commercial vehicles within the zone and improving air quality and health


  • To prepare for the launch of the CAZ on the 26 September 2022, businesses can check their vehicle on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones. This will let them know if their vehicle will be charged for driving in any of the UK Clean Air Zones including Bradford.
  • Passenger cars and motorbikes will not be charged for entering the Bradford Clean Air Zone. It doesn’t matter if you live outside the Bradford District or if you use your vehicle for work purposes.
  • HGVs, coaches, buses, LGV, minibuses, hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are liable for the charge if they are not compliant with the Clean Air Zone vehicle standard.
  • For many businesses, upgrading to a compliant vehicle could be a cost-effective alternative to paying the charge, in Bradford and in other Clean Air Zones. We would encourage you to make sensible travel choices. If you have a compliant vehicle to use then this will not be charged to drive in the Bradford Clean Air Zone.


The compliance requirement and non compliance charges are as follows

    • Compliance requirement: Minimum Euro 6 diesel including
      alternative fuels
    • Non Compliance charge: £50
  • BUSES 
    • Compliance requirement: Minimum Euro 6 diesel including
      alternative fuels
    • Non Compliance charge: £50
    • Compliance requirement: Minimum Euro 6 diesel
    • Non Compliance charge: £50
    • Compliance requirement:
      • Euro 6 – Diesel
      • Euro 4 – Petrol
      • LPG (Euro 4 petrol)
    • Non Compliance charge: £9
    • Compliance requirement:
      • Euro 6 – Diesel
      • Euro 4 – Petrol
      • LPG (Euro 4 petrol)
    • Non Compliance charge: £9


  • Payment must be made online at www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones or by calling the National Contact Centre on 0300 029 8888 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 8am to 4pm).
  • You can pay 6 days before the day of your visit, on the day of your visit or up to 6 days after the day of your visit.
  • A ‘day’ is classified as midnight to midnight, not 24 hours from when you enter the zone. During that midnight to midnight timeframe, you can enter and leave the zone numerous times and only incur a single charge. However, if you cross the midnight threshold you will be charged for two days.
  • Please be aware payments can only be made from the go live date of 26 September 2022. Drivers can pay for advance planned trips from 26 September 2022, when they will be able to make payments on the day of travel or up to 6 days after.
  • Driver’s will not receive a notification or alert advising them that they have entered the zone and payment is due; a driver is fully responsible for understanding and managing all payments.


  • Drivers can still apply for an exemption as long as they have owned the vehicle before the Bradford Clean Air Zone is live on the 26 September 2022.
  • If awarded an exemption, it would mean that the driver will not have to pay to drive in the Bradford Clean Air Zone.
  • A local exemption does not apply until is has been registered with and confirmed by Bradford Council. If you enter the Clean Air Zone before an exemption is confirmed by email, you will still be liable for any charges incurred once the zone is live.
  • On submission of the exemption application form, the council will acknowledge receipt of application. The council will process applications after receipt of the application within 10 working days of receiving all required information/evidence.
  • Those applying, will need to submit the exemption application including all required evidence as soon as possible to ensure we can process your exemption prior to the CAZ launch date.
  • Awarded exemptions will run until 31/12/2025. Those exemptions awarded with an end date of 31/12/2024 will be extended. Limited supply (sunset) exemptions will run until the expected delivery date of the replacement vehicle
The image above shows the boundary of the Bradford Clean Air Zone.
Image: Bradford Council

Health bosses have praised the scheme. Professor John Wright, clinician and Chief Investigator for Born In Bradford, said it was a momentous step forward for public health – comparable to the smoking ban or seat belt laws.

However, like both those changes, the plans met with a huge backlash.

Many small businesses have argued that the charges would place too great a burden on them – and they could not afford the extra cost. Some have said they planned to increase costs to their customers to pay for the charge. And other critics have said the plan will lead to Bradford becoming a “ghost town.”

The Conservative opposition on Bradford Council argued that a charging Clean Air Zone was not needed, and that there were other ways of reducing pollution.

But Bradford Council has argued that it was Government that pushed for the action – and signed off on the charging plan. Council bosses said Bradford had a requirement to bring air quality to legal levels.

At a recent Council meeting, members were told that other options, such as introducing electric buses or park and ride schemes, would not improve air quality enough to satisfy Defra.

It has since emerged that £2 from every CAZ charge will go to Government coffers. The remainder of the income from the CAZ will be used to fund its operation, with any remaining money used for further environmental improvement schemes, such as providing further grants to help businesses upgrade vehicles.

The Clean Air Zone included a huge funding package from Government, with Bradford Council given millions to hand out to local businesses to upgrade their vehicles. Bradford Council has offered exemptions to smaller businesses to allow some of their vehicles to avoid charging.

So far the majority of the District’s taxis have been upgraded to be Clean Air Zone compliant, along with the vast majority of Bradford’s buses.

New figures show grants have been awarded to upgrade almost 2,900 vehicles. Over 6,500 exemptions have been awarded for vehicles in the District.

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