Newcastle Clean Air Zone (CAZ) – the ultimate guide

    Newcastle Clean Air Zone
    The Newcastle CAZ launched on 30 January 2023.

    In January 2023, Newcastle city centre’s charging Class C Clean Air Zone (CAZ) launched. Please note that this affects van drivers, but does not affect private passenger cars or motorcycles.

    The Newcastle CAZ is operational twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every week of the year. The aim of the Clean Air Zone is to reduce the number of heavily polluting vehicles on the roads, in order to improve air quality, especially in urban areas. For more information about CAZ and Low Emissions Zones (LEZ) across the UK, read our ultimate guide.

    To learn more about the Clean Air Zone implemented by Newcastle and Gateshead councils, read on.

    What is a Clean Air Zone (CAZ)?

    The UK government published plans to reduce air pollution in 2015, with an emphasis on implementing Clean Air Zones. There were already some LEZ in existence, e.g. in London, which have typically been bespoke in design, depending on the needs and infrastructure of the area. 

    Clean Air Zones, however, all follow a scheme. They can be charging or non-charging, money-wise, and are graded in Classes from A to D:

    ClassVehicle type
    ABuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
    BBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
    CBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses
    DBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses, cars, the local authority has the option to include motorcycles
    UK CAZ classifications and the vehicles they apply to.

    Any town or city running a CAZ has the same compliance standards in place:

    Vehicle typeCAZ minimum standard
    Motorcycles and mopeds (optional)Euro 3
    Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, carsEuro 4 (petrol engine) and Euro 6 (diesel engine)
    Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehiclesEuro V1
    Ultra-low emission vehiclesAutomatically compliant
    CAZ compliance minimum standards by vehicle type.

    The main aspects of CAZ schemes are decided by the UK government, but the fee and penalty costs for non-compliant vehicles, and implementation details including exemptions, are handled by the local council.

    Where is the Newcastle CAZ?

    Newcastle’s CAZ covers the city centre around Newcastle Central Station, and the campuses of Newcastle University and Northumbria University. It extends from the south sides of Redheugh Bridge and Tyne Bridge, coming out as far as Dunn Street and Rye Hill to the west and the A167 road to the east, extending north to Stanhope Street and Queen Victoria Road. 

    Newcastle CAZ map
    Newcastle CAZ Map. Source:

    Why did Newcastle start charging drivers?

    Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside were directed by the UK government in 2017 to reduce levels of air pollution caused by traffic. Since the CAZ, which came into force in January 2023, is a Class C, private cars and motorcycles are not charged to drive through the zone, even if they do not comply with the emissions standards.

    It’s taxis, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches, and HGVs that have to pay the charge (or the penalty, for missing the charge), if they do not comply with emissions standards and drive through the zone. Light goods vehicles have an exemption until July 2023 – please see below under ‘Exemptions’.

    Most vans and heavy vehicles on the road are diesel-fuelled, and if they were made before 2016, there’s a higher chance they won’t be compliant with the Euro 6 standards for emissions of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. By introducing the CAZ, Newcastle will see an improvement in air quality, and residents who need support will have access to funding in order to retrofit or upgrade their non-compliant vehicles.

    What does it cost to drive in Newcastle?

    To drive in the Newcastle CAZ in a non-compliant vehicle, drivers must pay a daily charge of £12.50 via the government website, an online form, or on the phone, from six days before the visit up to the day of the visit. Taxis can get a seven-day permit for £50.

    The fine for non-payment is £120, which is halved to £60 when paid within fourteen days.

    what does it cost to drive in newcastle
    The Newcastle CAZ only applies to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans and minibuses.

    Are there grants for getting a compliant vehicle for the Newcastle CAZ?

    There are vehicle upgrade grants available for all the vehicle types that are subject to the Newcastle CAZ charges, subject to eligibility criteria. Grant applicants then have 120 days of exemption, allowing them to retrofit their vehicle, or sell it and purchase a compliant alternative, either new or used.

    Funding is allocated as follows:

    Vehicle typeMaximum funding available
    Taxis, including Hackney carriage and private hire£3,500
    Wheelchair-accessible taxis, including Hackney carriage and private hire£4,000
    Light goods vehicles£4,500
    Heavy goods vehicles£16,000
    Buses and coaches£16,000
    Grants available to different vehicle types within the Newcastle CAZ.

    For more information about applying for grants, continue to Breathe Clean Air.

    Does the Newcastle CAZ have exemptions or exceptions?

    As a Class C CAZ, charges apply to non-compliant buses, coaches, HGVs, LGVs, vans, minivans, taxis, and private hire vehicles. There are some exempt vehicle categories which are fixed by the government as part of any CAZ:

    Nationally-exempt vehicles
    Disabled tax class or disabled passenger tax class
    Some agricultural vehicles
    Registered historic vehicles
    Military vehicles
    Ultra-low emission vehicles
    Vehicles retrofitted under the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)
    Vehicles that are exempt nationally from CAZ charges

    Local councils also have the authority to set up local exemptions. In the Gateshead, Newcastle, and Tyneside CAZ, local exemptions also include the following:

    Locally-exempt vehiclesExemption
    Emergency service vehiclesPermanent
    Agricultural vehicles Permanent
    Showmen’s Guild vehiclesPermanent
    Non-commercial vintage busesPermanent
    Motor caravansPermanent
    Training vehicles for bus, coach, and HGV drivingPermanent
    Financed taxis and private hire vehicles, registered within the CAZTwo years from the start of the CAZ, or dated to final finance payment
    Financed commercial vehicles registered to businesses based within the CAZTwo years from the start of the CAZ, or dated to final finance payment
    Vehicles registered to businesses based within the CAZTwo years from the start of the CAZ
    Community transport vehiclesOne year from the start of the CAZ
    Wheelchair accessible taxisTwo years from the start of the CAZ
    Emergency rail replacement vehiclesVariable
    Vehicles that are exempt locally from CAZ charges

    There is support for a variety of vans and other medium and large vehicles that are registered to local businesses. There is an automatic grace period for local LGVs, until July 2023. Thereafter, any grant applications or exemptions have to be registered.

    For more information on exemption applications and statuses, visit Breathe Clean Air.

    Newcastle CAZ check
    Private cars and motorcycles are not charged within the zone, even if they do not meet the emissions standards.

    How to check if my vehicle is compliant with Newcastle CAZ?

    To check that your petrol van or minivan is compliant with Euro 4 emissions standards, or your diesel van or minivan is compliant with Euro 6, simply enter your reg in our ULEZ checker.

    Remember that, in Newcastle’s CAZ, private passenger vehicles are not included in the charging policy. London’s ULEZ is a Class D zone, charging most vehicle types including passenger cars and motorcycles.

    How to sell a non-compliant vehicle?

    If your vehicle is not compliant with Newcastle, Gateshead, and Tyneside’s CAZ, the good news is – you can still sell it, in order to invest instead in a compliant vehicle. To sell your non-compliant van quickly and easily, at Motorway we offer a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling, whatever the model.

    Selling your car with Motorway is quick, easy and 100% free.

    Sell with Motorway and our network of 5,000+ verified car dealers compete to give you their best price.

    Just enter your reg on the homepage and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. We’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

    If you choose to enter your car into a daily sale, it will be shown to our nationwide network of more than 5,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

    In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

    Selling your car?

    Read about everything you need to know about how to sell your car with more guides here. There’s a lot to learn as Clean Air Zones and emissions standards in the UK change in the run up to 2035.