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A clean air zone for Birmingham – what does it mean for carers?

On 1 June 2021 Birmingham launched its Clean Air Zone. It will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

No vehicle is banned from entering the Clean Air Zone, but those which do not have clean enough engines will have to pay a daily charge if they travel within the area.

You can find out if you will be charged by inputting your vehicle registration details into the Government vehicle checker.

The charges will be applied daily, effective from 14 June 2021. A non-compliant vehicle driving in the Zone will pay once for the day, then may drive in the area without limit on that day.  The charge is currently £8 per day for non-compliant cars.

Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will cover all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself:

There is now a dedicated website for the Clean Air Zone – Brumbreathes – it has a news page and a newsletter.

If you live in the Clean Air Zone and you own a non-compliant vehicle, you can apply for a temporary exemption permit. This means you will not be charged for the first two years that the zone is in operation.

If you live outside of the Clean Air Zone, but work inside it and have a non-compliant vehicle, you need to check your eligibility for a temporary worker exemption permit.

Patients, carers and visitors attending appointments at medical practices within the Clean Air Zone and who drive a vehicle that does not meet the emission standards will be required to pay the daily charge.

The only exemption will be visitors or patients attending appointments or visits at the following medical practices as they provide out-of-hours emergency treatment:

Visitors and patients attending these buildings will be required to collect a voucher for each day of their visit (including visits that cross the midnight threshold) and redeem it online within seven days to void the charge.

If you travel into the Clean Air Zone, payment must be made via the Government’s online payment system or by calling the National Contact Centre on 0300 029 8888 (8am to 4:30pm) either:

  • 6 days before the day of your visit;
  • The day of your visit; or
  • 6 days after the day of your visit.

Please note you will not receive a notification or alert advising you that you have entered the zone and payment is due; you as a driver are fully responsible for understanding and managing all payments.

If you do not pay during that allocated 13-day payment window you will be subject to a Penalty Charge Notice of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

If you have a non-compliant vehicle and wish to avoid travelling through the Clean Air Zone, you will need to change your route and allow more time for your journey. 

To avoid paying the Clean Air Zone charge you may want to consider upgrading your vehicle.