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The Essential Guide to Clean Air Zones for Taxi Drivers

Clean Air Zones in the UK: Everything Taxi Drivers Need to Know

Air pollution is a serious threat to public health and the environment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution causes around 7 million premature deaths worldwide every year. In the UK, air pollution is estimated to cause up to 36,000 deaths and cost the economy £20 billion annually. To tackle this problem, the UK government has introduced clean air zones (CAZs) in some cities and towns across the country. CAZs are areas where drivers of high-polluting vehicles must pay a charge to enter or drive within. The aim of CAZs is to reduce harmful emissions from road transport and improve air quality for everyone. But what are CAZs exactly? How do they work? And how do they affect you as a driver?

How do Clean Air Zones affect taxi drivers?

Taxi drivers are particularly affected by CAZs as they often operate in urban areas where CAZs are in place. Drivers of older, high-polluting vehicles could face increased daily costs if they need to pay the daily charge to enter a CAZ. In some cases, drivers may even be forced to upgrade their vehicles to meet the emission standards required for the CAZ.

What can taxi drivers do to reduce their emissions avoid paying charges in clean air zones?

Clean air zones are an important measure to tackle air pollution in the UK. By following these tips, taxi drivers can help to reduce their emissions and improve air quality for themselves and others including: 

  1. Planning your journeys ahead especially during peak times
  2. Driving more efficiently by avoiding harsh braking or acceleration.
  3. Keep your vehicle well-maintained. This will help to ensure that it is running as efficiently as possible and emitting fewer pollutants.
  4. Inspect your tyres regularly and make sure that they are properly inflated. This will help to improve your fuel economy and reduce emissions.
  5. Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle. This will also help to improve your fuel economy and reduce emissions.
  6. Drive smoothly and avoid harsh acceleration or braking. This will help to reduce your fuel consumption and emissions.
  7. Upgrading your vehicle to meet the emission standards required for the CAZ.
  8. Switching to a cleaner vehicle such as an electric or hybrid car
  9. The government is also providing financial support to help some drivers upgrade their vehicles. This support can be used to buy a new low-emission vehicle or retrofit an existing vehicle with emissions-reducing technology. READ MORE – Plug-in taxi grant: eligibility and applications – GOV.UK (

Clean air zones are an important measure to tackle air pollution in the UK. By following these tips, you can help to reduce your emissions and improve air quality for yourself and others.

What are clean air zones and how will they effect you as a taxi driver

Clean air zones are defined geographical areas where certain types of vehicles are required to comply with emissions standards or pay a fine. In the UK, there are currently four classes of CAZs, ranging from only high-pollution, commercial vehicles, to all passenger vehicles. CAZ classes and the vehicle types they apply to are:

  • Class A: Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Class B: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles
  • Class C: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses
  • Class D: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars and motorcycles

Each vehicle type has a minimum emission standard that it must meet to avoid paying a charge in a CAZ. The minimum emission standards are:

  • Euro 6 for diesel vehicles
  • Euro 4 for petrol vehicles
  • Euro 3 for motorcycles

You can find your vehicle’s emission standard in your vehicle logbook or from your vehicle manufacturer.

Where are clean air zones in the UK?

There are currently several CAZs in operation in the UK, with more planned for the future. The following cities have CAZs in operation: taxi driver map of clean air zones in the uk There are different rules if you want to drive in London’s low or ultra low emission zones. Check your vehicle on the Transport for London (TfL) website.  

Types of clean air zones

There are 4 types of clean air zones, Class A to D. A  – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles B – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles C – Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses D –  Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, the local authority has the option to include motorcycles  

How much do you have to pay to drive in a clean air zone?

Whether a driver has private hire insurance or public hire insurance, they all come under the classes of vehicles in a CAZ. The charges for driving in a CAZ vary depending on the city and the vehicle type. For example, in Birmingham’s Class D CAZ, cars must pay £8 per day, while buses and coaches must pay £50 per day*. In Bath’s Class C CAZ, cars are exempt from charges, while vans must pay £9 per day* and buses and coaches must pay £100 per day*. You can check if you must pay a charge for your vehicle before you drive in a CAZ using the online service on the GOV.UK website. You can also create an account and pay for multiple vehicles if you are a business. The charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. You must pay the charge by 11:59pm on the sixth day after driving into the zone. You can also pay up to 6 days before you travel. If you do not pay the charge in time, you may get a penalty charge notice (PCN).  

Are there any exemptions for taxi drivers or discounts for clean air zones?

There are some exemptions and discounts for certain vehicles and drivers in CAZs. These may include:

  • Vehicles that are used for emergency services
  • Vehicles that are used by disabled people
  • Vehicles that are historic or vintage
  • Vehicles that are ultra-low emission or zero-emission – Read our blog for more info PHV Euro Emissions Standards Update
  • Vehicles that belong to residents or businesses within the CAZ
  • Vehicles that belong to community or charity groups
  • The exemptions and discounts vary depending on the city and the vehicle type. You should always check with the local authority for more information on how to apply for an exemption or discount.

Been Refused Taxi Insurance Elsewhere?

If you have had motoring or criminal convictions, it is not abnormal that you will be refused taxi cover by a lot of insurers. Acorn shine where other insurance companies shy away; we take all experience, history and circumstances into account when quoting for taxi insurance. So, do not be disheartened – see if Acorn can help with your taxi insurance cost by getting in touch today. We have served countless public and private hire taxi drivers since our inception in 1982 and can help to provide you with extensive taxi driver insurance. Whether you are looking for annual hire and reward taxi insurance, short term taxi cover or you own a fleet, we have a taxi insurance policy to suit your needs. Acorn Insurance also specialises in helping those who may have previous claims, driving convictions, or points on their licence. With over 40 years as taxi cab insurers, our dedicated private and public hire taxi team has long-standing relationships with a vast array of UK taxi insurance brokers. Between them, they understand what you want and need from a taxi policy.

We operate a 24-hour UK-based claim line, ensuring we are here when you need us. Please call 0330 331 0716 and our friendly claims assistants will help you.   Further reading – On Air Pollution Guidance & Stats – HERE    

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