The Birmingham congestion charge zone: the ultimate guide

Birmingham congestion zone

The Birmingham congestion charge is, much like the ULEZ or London Congestion Charge, designed to lessen traffic and emissions in the city centre. The zone targets high polluting vehicles and, outside of London, is one of the UK’s most extensive emission zones, covering all vehicle types. Also known as the Birmingham clean air zone, or CAZ, it’s Birmingham’s equivalent of the congestion zone and ULEZ, and may be referred to by either name. Clean Air Zone is its official name.  

Birmingham congestion charge checker

You can check if your car will be required to pay the CAZ charge, as well as other low emission zones in like Bath, on the gov.uk website. You can also pay the charge on this site. The charge itself is £8 for cars and vans, or a higher rate of £50 for buses, coaches, and HGVs. Failing to pay means a penalty charge notice will be issued of £120, halved if you pay within 14 days.

Birmingham congestion charge map

You can check the precise location of the Birmingham CAZ on the birmingham.gov website. The zone itself extends to cover all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, though not the road itself. This covers popular areas such as Digbeth, the city centre, and the Jewellery Quarter. The zone is sign posted to show drivers that they are about to enter the zone.

Birmingham CAZ
The CAZ aims to cut down on inner city traffic and air pollution.

What cars are exempt from Birmingham congestion charge?

In order to be exempt from the Birmingham congestion charge, your car will need to be compliant with certain emission targets, much like ULEZ exempt cars:

  • Petrol cars must meet Euro 4 standards
  • Diesel cars must meet Euro 6 standards

Generally, this should mean that diesel cars made after 2015, or petrol cars made after 2006 are compliant, but be sure to double check.  This also means that zero emission cars and compliant vehicles.

There are further exemptions made for the following:

  • Locals who live within the CAZ will be exempt for two years
  • If you are visiting hospital, GPs, or care homes, you will be exempt for one year
  • Commercial vehicles are exempt for one year

When does Birmingham congestion charge start?

The Birmingham CAZ came into effect on 1st June 2021. The zone will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The above exemption periods came into effect when the CAZ first started operating. So, a two year exemption, even if applied for in May 2023, will end in June 2023.

Birmingham clean air zone
The Clean Air Zone operates in several areas of the city, including the city centre.

Does Birmingham also have a ULEZ or LEZ?

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone is the city’s equivalent to London’s emission-limiting measures, serving as its congestion zone, ULEZ, and LEZ. There are no other charges operating in Birmingham for emission and congestion control.

Time to sell?

If you live in the CAZ or just drive into Birmingham regularly, you might want to think about selling your car and finding a more compliant vehicle. See our guides for all you need to know on selling your car!