CLEAN AIR ZONES
How to prepare for the upcoming Newcastle CAZ
“More than 36,000 people die in the UK every year due to poor air quality. That includes hundreds on Tyneside. This is a move to address that” – Council leader Nick Kemp, of Labour. 
In a bid to reduce harmful emissions caused by the most polluting vehicles, Newcastle City Council announced the implementation of a Clean Air Zone, bordered around the busiest and most polluted streets in Newcastle city centre. Charging for the zone will begin on the 30th of January 2023 - find out what this means for Newcastle and Tyneside residents and business owners, and how you can prepare for the zone.
The Newcastle CAZ will see only drivers of commercial vehicles, including taxis, vans, LGVs, HGVs, buses and coaches will be charged a daily fee to drive within the zone. The charge you need to pay is dependent on your vehicle type. Taxis, minibuses, and vans will need to pay a £12.50 fee whereas HGVs, trucks, lorries, coaches, and buses will need to pay a £50 fee.
It’s important to note that non-compliant vans and LGVs will not face charges until July 2023. This is to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage.
Financial support is available for affected drivers and business owners
The aim of the Newcastle Clean Air Zone is to encourage drivers of older, more polluting vehicles to change to cleaner, compliant models. The good news for those affected is that you can apply for funding to help you replace or upgrade your vehicle.
1. About the grants
The amount of funding you can receive is dependent on your vehicle type.
- Up to £3,500 - Taxis, including Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
- Up to £4,000 – Wheelchair accessible taxis, including Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
- Up to £4,500 – Light goods vehicles (LGVs)
- Up to £16,000 – Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
- Up to £16,000 – buses and coaches
You can only use the funding to help purchase a compliant vehicle, either new or second hand, to replace one that doesn’t meet the government set emission standards.
2. How to apply for the grant
Applications can be made online via the council website here.  An initial check will be made to make sure you are eligible for funding and once everything is confirmed, you will receive an approval letter.
Details of the letter will include next steps and information about financial providers you can contact to discuss the use of funding to upgrade your vehicle.
3. I’ve been approved for support and am waiting for my compliant vehicle, what happens next?
The confirmation letter you receive from the council stating that your application for funding has been approved will also include a one-time-only automatic 120 day exemption from CAZ charges.
This means that while you’re in the process of securing a compliant vehicle through one of the financial providers, you can drive into the CAZ with your non-compliant vehicle and not be charged. It’s important to keep this letter safe in case you need to show it as proof.
How do I know if I need to pay?
Cars and motorcycles are exempt from this charge. This means that even if you drive an older vehicle, you will not need to pay a daily fee to drive in the zone.
For all other vehicles, you must meet the following emission standards to be exempt from the charge:
- Taxis – Diesel car registered after September 2015, petrol cars registered after 2005
- Vans/LGVs – Diesel cars registered after September 2016, petrol cars registered after January 2006
- HGVs, buses and coaches – petrol or diesel vehicles registered after 2014
There are also some local and national exemptions in place. You can find a full list of Newcastle CAZ exemptions here.
Still confused? Caura will be adding the Newcastle CAZ charge to the app on the 30th of January, the same day the zone launches. The easiest way to check if your vehicle is compliant is by downloading Caura.
All you need to do is enter your vehicle registration number into the app, and the app will tell you if your vehicle is exempt. If you need to pay, Caura will display the correct charge (either £12.50 or £50) depending on the type of your vehicle, and you can go ahead and pay in two taps using Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit or debit card.
What are does the Newcastle Clean Air Zone cover?
The CAZ is located within the Newcastle city centre and will cover routes in over the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges. You can find a Newcastle Clean Air Zone map here, along with more information about the zone and exemptions.