York’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) – the ultimate guide

    To improve air quality and safeguard public health, York maintains a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) acoss its city centre. Only emissions-compliant vehicles are permitted to drive in the CAZ. CAZ regulations are in place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

    Importantly, York’s Class A CAZ only affects buses; private passenger vehicles and motorcycles are free to go through the city normally.

    Regardless of if you’re planning to buy or sell your car, it’s important to stay on top of the evolving emissions policies in your area to get the most out of your investment.

    What is a Clean Air Zone (CAZ)?

    Clean Air Zones are designed to help reduce air pollution in urban areas across the UK. 

    In an effort to reduce air pollution across the country, the UK government is working with local councils to introduce Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in urban areas. 

    There are currently seven other cities with CAZs: Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield, and Tyneside (encompassing Newcastle and Gateshead).

    Separate from Low Emissions Zones, such as the ULEZ in London, CAZs all follow the same scheme. There are four types of clean air zones: 

    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, and cars
    Local authority has the option to include motorcycles

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

    Vehicle typeCAZ minimum standard
    MotorcyclesEuro 3
    Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, carsEuro 4 (petrol engine) and Euro 6 (diesel engine)
    Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehiclesEuro VI
    Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)Automatically compliant

    If your car or van exceeds the zone’s emissions standards, you may have to pay a fine to drive through the area. While the main aspects of CAZ schemes are decided by the UK government, the fee and penalty costs for non-compliant vehicles are handled by the local council.

    What is the York CAZ?

    Nearly a third of emissions in York come from transport. Swedish car manufacturers are focusing on sustainable, electric vehicles.

    Following findings that transport is responsible for 27.8% of York’s emissions and that buses have had a disproportionate impact on air pollution in central York, the city became the first (and only) urban UK area to voluntarily introduce a Clean Air Zone for buses. Introduced in 2020, York’s CAZ has been fully operational since 2021. 

    Unlike other Class A zones, York’s CAZ only applies to local bus services. Restrictions apply to buses making five or more entries per day into the city’s designated CAZ. 

    One of the overarching goals of the York CAZ is to convert the city’s bus fleet into an entirely electric bus system, providing greater environmental and public health benefits to York residents. More than 90 buses have been retrofitted or replaced so that they are more environmentally friendly and operate according to Euro 6 emissions standards

    Where is the York CAZ?

    Source: York Gov

    York’s CAZ is demarcated by the city’s inner ring road (the A1036 York Inner Ring Road), on either side of the River Ouse. This includes famous tourist attractions such as the York Minster, the Shambles, Clifford’s Tower, and York Castle. The Inner Ring Road is also included in the CAZ. 

    Explore a detailed map of York’s CAZ.

    What vehicles are affected?

    Only local buses are affected by York’s CAZ regulations. Buses entering the CAZ five or more times over the course of one day must meet Euro 6 emissions standards, or be fully electric

    According to the City of York Council, all regular buses operating frequently in the city centre are currently low emission, meaning they either follow Euro 6 emissions standards or are electric.

    CAZ exemptions

    York’s CAZ restrictions are limited only to local bus services. The following vehicles are exempt from CAZ regulations: 

    • Coaches
    • Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)
    • Vans
    • Private passenger cars
    • Taxis
    • Buses making less than five entrance to the CAZ per day

    What does it cost to drive in York?

    Drivers of passenger cars and vans, along with coaches, HGVs, and taxis, do not need to pay to go through York’s CAZ. 

    Only buses that enter the zone more than five times a day will incur a CAZ penalty.


    Does York have a congestion charge?

    Currently, York does not have a congestion charge scheme in place. While a congestion charge has been on the city’s agenda for some time, it appears unlikely in the immediate future due to political divisions. 

    Are cars allowed in York City Centre?

    Yes, cars are generally allowed in York City Centre. However, certain areas may have restrictions or limited access, especially during peak hours or special events, to manage traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

    Check the City of York Council’s website and local signage for more accurate information.

    How can I check if my vehicle is compliant with the York CAZ?

    While only buses are impacted by York’s CAZ, it’s still important to know if your vehicle is compliant with other CAZ standards across the UK, especially if you’re planning a trip. Simply enter your reg in our ULEZ checker to see if your petrol van or minivan is compliant with Euro 4 emissions standards, or your diesel van or minivan is compliant with Euro 6. 

    Remember that restrictions in other Low Emissions Zones and CAZs vary. For example, London’s ULEZ is a Class D zone, charging most vehicle types including passenger cars and motorcycles. Check local requirements before hitting the road.

    How can I sell a non-compliant vehicle?

    If your vehicle is non-compliant with current emissions standards, fear not! You can still sell it and invest in a compliant car or van. 

    At Motorway we offer a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling your vehicle, whatever the model. Just enter your reg on our homepage for an instant estimated sales 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 building your vehicle profile. Remember to note that your car’s non-compliant! 

    All of this can be done right from your phone – in just a matter of minutes.

    You can choose to enter your car into our daily sale, where it will be shown to our nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

    In as little as 24 hours you’ll 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.

    Ready to sell 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.