Bristol Clean Air Zone (CAZ) — The Ultimate Guide

Bristol clean air zone

By now we’re all familiar with the London ULEZ, even the Birmingham Clean Air Zone, but these green-minded schemes for lowering levels of air pollution are rolling out even further. Designed to improve air quality around the UK’s major towns and cities, your local city centre could be next on the list.

Does Bristol have a clean air zone?

Soon! Bristol confirmed in 2021 that the city would be getting its own clean air zone in 2022. If you’re based in Bristol, or just drive there frequently, here’s how to prepare for the zone and the new restrictions it places on local drivers.

When does the Bristol CAZ start?

The Bristol Clean Air Zone will come into force in summer 2022, with a precise date still to be confirmed. Thankfully, this gives drivers plenty of time to prepare for the zone and ensure their car is compliant. It’s also the perfect opportunity to consider if walking or cycling could be better (financially and otherwise) for your commute — after all, you’re in the right place if you decide to sell your car!

What times does the Bristol Clean Air Zone operate?

The Bristol clean air zone will operate 24/7. Like many a clean air zone, Bristol council will only apply the charge once per day if you enter the zone. So, if you enter and exit the zones multiple times within a 24-hour period, you will only pay for the first entrance into the zone.

Bristol clean air zone 2022
The Bristol clean air zone will affect locals and visitors alike.

Bristol Clean Air Zone rules

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees confirmed last year that the clean air zone would come into effect in 2022, with the intention of improving Bristol’s clean air levels and following the lead of cities like London and Oxford. Like these cities, though, not all vehicles in Bristol will be affected, only those that are deemed to be high polluting.

European standards outline CO2 emissions; therefore, the zone will target vehicles that do not meet the criteria of acceptable emission levels.

Petrol vehicleMeet Euro 4 emission standards
Diesel vehicleMeet Euro 6 emission standards
Hybrid vehicleMust meet the above standards dependant on fuel type

Bristol Clean Air Zone exemptions

The Bristol Clean Air Zone aims to improve air quality, so cars that don’t contribute to air pollution will naturally be exempt. This means fully electric cars will not have to pay the charge at all. For cars that are impacted by the charge, however, there are also exemptions:

  • Residents of the zone
  • Businesses based in the zone
  • Blue badge holders
  • Businesses and their employees working within the zone
  • Individuals earning less than £26,000 a year working within the zone
  • Hospital patients and visitors

Bristol CAZ vehicle checker

You can check to see if your vehicle is compliant with the Bristol clean air zone on the clean air zone .gov site (be aware that this site is not based on specific cities, but on UK-wide zones, so it’s always worth checking again for your specific location). The council suggests that over 71% of vehicles in the city are already compliant, so there’s a good chance you will escape the charge altogether.

Bristol clean air zone charge
The daily charge of £9 for non-compliant cars can quickly build up.

Bristol Clean Air Zone map

The Bristol Clean Air Zone will operate in the city centre, with its borders running along the following streets to create an enclosed zone:

  • Temple Way
  • Temple Gate
  • Approach Road
  • Old Market Street
  • Bond Street South
  • Temple Bridge
  • Newfoundland Way
  • Houlton Street
  • Bond Street
  • St James Barton Roundabout
  • Marlborough Street
  • York Street
  • Brunswick Square
  • Pritchard Street
  • Upper Maudlin Street
  • Perry Road
  • Park Row
  • Woodland Road
  • Lodge Street
  • Trenchard Street
  • Frogmore Street
  • Park Street
  • Hotwell Road
  • Brunel Way
  • Bath Road

You can view a full Bristol clean air zone map on the council website.

Bristol Clean Air Zone charges

Bristol clean air charges will range from £9-£100 depending on the size of your non-compliant vehicle.

Vehicle typeDaily charge
Petrol car£9
Diesel car£9
Light goods vehicle (less than 3.5t.)£9
Heavy goods vehicle (over 3.5t)£100

These charges will be enforced 24/7, though only charged once for each 24-hour time period.

Bristol clean air zone older cars daily charge
Bristol aims to improve air pollution by penalising older, high-emission cars.

Frequently asked questions about the Bristol clean air zone

Are electric cars exempt from the Bristol clean air zone?

Yes, electric cars are exempt from the charge in Bristol, as well as in other cities, including the London ULEZ and congestion charge. Maybe it’s time to sell your car and go electric!

Is there a congestion zone in Bristol?

No, there is not currently a charge such as a congestion charge operating in Bristol, but the clean air zone will operate in the same way. The aim is to improve air quality and improve alternative modes of transportation such as public transport, walking, and cycling.

Is there financial support for those impacted by the Bristol Clean Air Zone?

There are several schemes being introduced in conjunction with the clean air zone to offer financial support. These schemes draw on over £40m worth of support from the government to ensure locals can transition to cleaner vehicles. These include:

  • £1.8 million in loans and grants for those who must upgrade their vehicle
  • £32 million for businesses to upgrade vehicles such as heavy goods vehicles
  • £5.9 million to be used for the distribution of free bus tickets, electric bike loans, and cycle training

If these schemes apply to you, you can register your interest with the council. Those living and working within the zone who make less than £26,000 will be prioritised.

Read more

Looking to buy an electric car and escape the clean air zone charge? We have everything you need to know in our guides!

Electric cars — should you buy or sell?
Selling your car and the 2030 electric car switchover
What is a hybrid car and how do they work?
LPG cars — the ultimate guide
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
How & where to charge your electric car at home and on the road
Do electric cars pay the congestion charge?