Sheffield Clean Air Zone (CAZ) – the ultimate guide

    Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) went live on Monday 27th February 2023. Like Newcastle’s, this is a chargeable Class C Zone. That means that it’s heavily-polluting and commercial vehicles that are affected. Please note that this includes van drivers, but does not affect private passenger cars or motorcycles.

    The Sheffield 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 Sheffield Council, read on.

    What is a Clean Air Zone (CAZ)?
    Where is the Sheffield CAZ?
    Why did Sheffield start charging drivers?
    What does it cost to drive in Sheffield?
    Are there grants for getting a compliant vehicle for the Sheffield CAZ?
    Does the Sheffield CAZ have exemptions or exceptions?
    How to check if my vehicle is compliant with Sheffield CAZ?
    How to sell a non-compliant vehicle?

    The Sheffield CAZ launched on the 27th of February 2023

    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 Sheffield CAZ?

    Sheffield CAZ Map. Source:

    Sheffield’s CAZ covers the city centre including the ring road (the A61). The north end crosses from Shalesmoor to Derek Dooley Way. It loops down the western end of Sheffield Parkway and continues south along Sheaf Street, before turning to the west along St Mary’s Road. The University of Sheffield is contained within the zone on the west side, as well as Sheffield Hallam University on the eastern side of town. Public transport stops Neverthorpe Road, Castle Square, City Hall, West Street, and University of Sheffield are all within the zone, and Shalesmoor, Hyde Park, Cricket Inn Road, Granville Road, and Sheffield Station are all just outside.

    Why did Sheffield start charging drivers?

    Air pollution is responsible for 500 deaths annually in Sheffield. When the UK government measured air pollution levels around the country, Sheffield was one of the cities found to be eligible for a CAZ in order to reduce air pollution coming from traffic. 

    Since the CAZ, which came into force in February 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 (LGVs) had an exemption until June 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, Sheffield 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.

    The Sheffield CAZ only applies to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, LGVs, vans, and minibuses.

    What does it cost to drive in Sheffield?

    To drive in the Sheffield CAZ in a non-compliant vehicle, drivers of vans, LGVs, and taxis must pay a daily charge of £10, whereas coaches, buses, lorries, and HGVs must pay £50. They can do so via the government website, from six days before the visit up to six days after the visit. Thereafter, drivers are subject to a penalty charge.  

    The fine for non-payment (a Penalty Charge Notice, or PCN) is £120, which is halved to £60 when paid within fourteen days.

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

    Yes, there are vehicle upgrade and replacement grants available, subject to application and eligibility criteria. Sheffield City Council is offering financial support for local residents, businesses, and charities, and this is being distributed as grants and/or interest subsidised loans, depending on the applicant’s situation and needs. 

    The loans are being offered by Shire Leasing and AngloScottish Asset Finance, who can help with grant application assistance, vehicle sourcing, and vehicle financing agreements. 

    Local businesses and residents who replaced a polluting vehicle after 26th October 2021 might be due a retrospective grant, and should check the Sheffield Council website

    Grants can be accepted alongside subsidised vehicle financing. The maximum grants available are as follows:

    Vehicle typeGrant: upgrade or retrofit to zero-emissions Grant: upgrade or retrofit to compliant diesel or hybrid Other
    Private hire vehiclesUpgrade vehicle, up to £3,000Upgrade vehicle, up to £1,500A loan to cover the interest charge of replacing vehicle
    Hackney CarriagesUpgrade vehicle, up to £10,000Upgrade vehicle, up to £5,000
    Retrofit vehicle, up to £4,000
    An interest-free loan to cover the cost of replacing vehicle
    A grant to permanently de-license a non-compliant hackney carriage in Sheffield, up to £4,000
    LGVs and minibusesUpgrade vehicle, up to £3,500Upgrade vehicle, up to £1,000An interest-free loan to cover the cost of replacing vehicle
    A grant to replace or retrofit a minibus over 3.5 tonnes, up to £16,000
    All retrofitting must be done in partnership with the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme.

    Does the Sheffield CAZ have exemptions or exceptions?

    Yes. As a Class C CAZ, charges apply exclusively to non-compliant buses, coaches, HGVs, LGVs, vans, minivans, taxis, and private hire vehicles. 

    There are some exempt vehicle categories that are fixed by the government as part of any CAZ in the UK:

    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 Sheffield CAZ, local exemptions also include the following:

    Locally-exempt vehiclesExemption
    Hackney Carriage taxis licensed with Sheffield City CouncilAutomatic exemption until 5th June 2023
    LGV owned by a business based in Sheffield or RotheramTemporary exemption subject to application, until 5th June 2023
    Financed commercial vehicles registered to businesses based within the CAZFor vehicles financed on or before 26th October 2021, the exemption applies for up to one year from the launch of the CAZ (not valid after 26th February 2024) 
    If you have a compliant or retrofit vehicle on orderOne year’s exemption from launch of the CAZ, subject to application
    Community transport vehiclesOne year’s exemption, subject to application
    Wheelchair accessible taxisTwo years from the start of the CAZ
    Emergency rail replacement vehiclesVariable
    Agricultural and specialist works vehicles One year’s exemption, subject to application
    Showmen’s Guild vehiclesOne year’s exemption, subject to application
    Recovery vehiclesOne year’s exemption, subject to application
    Disabled adapted coachesOne year’s exemption, subject to application
    Non-commercial vintage busesTen exemption days per year are granted, subject to application
    Large motorhomeThe daily charge is discounted to £10 rather than £50 when paid in advance or on the day of travel.
    Vehicles that are exempt locally from CAZ charges

    There is support for a variety of vehicles registered to local businesses and charities. The automatic grace period for local LGVs extended until 5th June, 2023. It is imperative to check which exemptions are automatic, such as that for taxis and Hackney Carriages, and which must be applied for. For more information on exemption applications and statuses, visit Sheffield’s CAZ website.

    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 Sheffield 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 Sheffield’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 Sheffield’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.

    Get your car seen by over 5,000 nationwide dealers when you sell through Motorway.

    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.