The Birmingham Clean Air Zone: what you need to know

The European Commission warned Birmingham City Council in 2017 that it had to clean the city’s air by 2020 or potentially face a £60m fine.

Birmingham City Council’s plans for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) were approved by the UK government in March 2019 and due to come into force in January 2020.

However, the impact of Covid-19 means the zone won’t come into force until at least June 2021.1 

The Clean Air Fund, an initiative made up of funders, researchers and policy makers, awarded the local authority £38m towards mitigation costs and £17.8m towards implementation costs.

Jump to the Birmingham Clean Air Zone map.

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone (CAZ) should be introduced by 1 June 2021, at the earliest. It aims to reduce levels of NO2 in the air to a maximum average of 40μg/m3, as soon as possible.2 

The CAZ received government approval in 2019 and follows London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), introduced in the same year.

When will the Birmingham Clean Air Zone start?

Plans for a January 2020 launch were initially delayed by the late delivery of vehicle checking software from the government. Since then the impact of Covid-19 has postponed the launch until June 2021. 

Birmingham Clean Air Zone map

birmingham clean air zone map

Image: Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce

The CAZ will cover all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself.

When will the Birmingham Clean Air Zone apply?

24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays.

Charges will be applied daily and allow non-compliant vehicles to pay the CAZ once and drive in the area without limit on that day.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Which vehicles will be affected by the Birmingham Clean Air Zone?

Any diesel car not conforming to Euro 6 emission standards and any petrol car not conforming to Euro 4 emission standards will need to pay the CAZ charge.

Diesel cars that meet the standards are generally those registered with the DVLA after 1 September 2015.

Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those registered with the DVLA after 1 January 2006.

The diesel/petrol engine on hybrid vehicles must meet the relevant criteria above.

Birmingham Clean Air Zone vehicle checker

The Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit have an online vehicle checker to help drivers prepare for Clean Air Zones.

Just enter your vehicle’s registration number and this free tool will tell you if there will be a daily charge to drive your vehicle in a specific Clean Air Zone. More cities will be added as final plans become approved.

To check whether you’ll be charged for driving in the London ULEZ or LEZ, use the TfL vehicle checker instead.

The table below serves as a quick guide showing which vehicles conform to which standards.

Date car registered fromEmissions standard
31 December 1992Euro 1
1 January 1997Euro 2
1 January 2001Euro 3
1 January 2006Euro 4
1 January 2011Euro 5
1 September 2015Euro 6

Only use this table is a guide – it is recommended you contact the vehicle manufacturer to check your vehicle’s standard if you are unsure. Find out more about vehicle emissions standards here.

Important note: as the Jaguar website helpfully explains, 'individual vehicles already on sale that were built by, and dispatched from, the manufacturer before 1st June 2015 can continue to be sold until 1st September 2016'. This in effect means that a car sold before 1st September 2016 may still have a Euro 5 engine. Check with the manufacturer to be certain.

How much will the Birmingham Clean Air Zone cost?


£8 per day for non-compliant cars, taxis (hackney carriages & private hire), LGVs and minibuses (up to and including 3.5 tonnes).

£50 per day for heavier vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches.

Is my vehicle exempt from the Birmingham Clean Air Zone charge?

Find out the exemptions to the Birmingham CAZ here. Residents with non-compliant vehicles within the zone will be exempt for two years, whilst vehicles with a disabled or disabled passenger tax class will be permanently exempt.

If I don’t pay the Birmingham Clean Air Zone, will I receive a penalty?

Under current proposals, those who fail to pay the charge will incur a fine of £120 (reduced to £60 if paid within a fortnight).

Motorists will not pay for vehicles that fail to reach the emissions standard if they are parked within the zone all day and the engine not turned on.

How do I pay the Birmingham Clean Air Zone charge?

An online portal will allow motorists to pay the Birmingham CAZ.

Birmingham Clean Air Zone advice

  • The Birmingham CAZ isn’t likely to come into force until 1 June 2021, at the earliest.
  • The Birmingham CAZ will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If you are travelling to Birmingham on a day-trip, check other alternatives such as train travel and metro travel, which may work out cheaper than CAZ and parking options.  
  • Plan your route – if you are crossing Birmingham from north to south, east to west or vice versa, you should set your sat-nav to avoid local charge/toll areas. 



Is it illegal to drive without shoes?

Get the answer and more useful driving content sent straight to your inbox.

Is it illegal to drive without shoes?
Is it illegal to drive without shoes?

^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 08/12/23. *New, single vehicle-based cover. £7.95 a month for Basic cover.