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Can I drive my campervan in a clean air zone?

Last updated: 4/2/2022

The roll-out of clean air zones in the UK is continuing gather pace with more pollution-reducing schemes set to be introduced in 2022.

Clean air zones are being established to improve air quality and vehicles entering these zones must meet a minimum emission standard.

Generally speaking, if your diesel campervan meets Euro 6 emissions or above (Euro 4 emissions or above for petrol campervans) you will be exempt from charges.

Owners of modern lower emission vehicles can drive into clean air zones without penalty but many campervan and motorhome owners will find themselves having to pay a fee.

As a rough guide, diesel motorhomes older than 2015 and petrol motorhomes older than 2005 will need to pay to drive in a clean air zone but don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need to figure out how clean air zones will effect you in this regularly updated article.

Your vehicle’s emission standard can be found on your logbook or from your vehicle manufacturer.

If it exceeds the minimum standard, you may have to pay a charge if you drive in a clean air zone.

Worth knowing: The minimum standard for UK clean air zones is Euro 6 for buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles. For vans, motorcaravans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles and cars, it's Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol.

Full list of existing UK clean air zones

London clean air zone for motorhomes

London introduced its Class D ultra low emissions zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 and later expanded it by more than 18 times its original size to cover all areas within the North and South Circular roads in October 2021 – The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone.

The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day.

Vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ emissions standards must pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive inside the zone.

This includes cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles, up to and including 3.5 tonnes, and minibuses, up to and including 5 tonnes.

Lorries, vans or specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes must also pay if they do not meet the LEZ emissions standard.

Bath clean air zone for motorhomes

Bath was the first city outside of London to introduce an emissions tax, coming into force on 15 March 2021.

Bath’s Class C clean air zone charges campervans and motorhomes that exceed the city’s emissions standards, which are diesel vehicles rated Euro 5 or lower and petrol-powered vehicles rated Euro 3 or lower.

While campervans registered as M1 vehicles are exempt from being charged, most small campervans and motorhomes under 3.5 tonnes (classed as N1) will have to pay a £9 daily charge if they don’t meet the emissions standards.

Birmingham clean air zone for motorhomes

Birmingham started charging drivers of older petrol and diesel on 1 June 2021 with its Class D clean air zone.

It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and covers all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself.

Campervans and motorhomes that do not meet the minimum emissions standards of Euro 6 for diesel or Euro 4 for petrol must pay to drive inside the zone.

Portsmouth clean air zone for motorhomes

The Portsmouth Class B clean air zone was launched in November 2021.

Non-compliant vehicles are HGVs, buses and coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 emissions or above for diesel and Euro 4 or above for petrol.

The classification means private cars, motorcycles and vans will not be charged.

However, non-compliant private and commercial heavy goods vehicles (HGV) will be charged.

Portsmouth City Council has advised owners of motorhomes that are classified as a HGV should if they are liable for charges before they travel.

UK clean air zones due to be launched

Oxford clean air zone for motorhomes

Oxford is set to create a ‘zero emissions zone’ which will charge any vehicle which produces emissions to drive into the zone every day from February 2022.

Heavier polluting vehicles will need to pay £10 per day for driving in the zone but will increase to £20 in August 2025.

Manchester clean air zone for motorhomes

Initially planned for rollout from May 30, 2022, plans to implement a Greater Manchester clean air zone could now be delayed.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Boris Johnson said the plan “by the Labour mayor” would “do damage to businesses and residents”.

However, Mayor Andy Burnham said he had “never been the instigator nor the final decision maker in this scheme”.

Mr Burnham has already asked the environment secretary to delay full implementation of the scheme until 2027.

It was originally stated that ‘motor caravans’ weighing less than 3.5 tonnes with a Euro 5 or earlier diesel engine or a Euro 3 or earlier petrol engine would automatically qualify for a temporary exemption until June 1, 2023, with a daily charge of £10 from that date.

Those weighing more with a tax class of HGV and have a Euro 5 diesel engine or earlier would be subject to the full daily charge of £60 per day from the date of the Manchester’s clean air zone launch.

If the motorhome is designated as a private HGV and falls into the same category for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, it’s eligible for a discount on the daily charge from £60 to £10, payable from May 30, 2022.

However, on 11 January 2022, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) decided to put ‘pause’ the plans for now.

Following the latest announcement, Bolton council leader Martyn Cox said: “The scheme was designed in a period before the global pandemic, and before the key supply chains were hit.

“People can’t comply because of forces outside their control and in fact also the government’s control.

“This makes it incredibly difficult for people to comply.”

However, he added that Greater Manchester alone “can’t cancel the scheme” and that “It needs the Secretary of State to issue a directive”.

Ahead of the decision to 'pause' Manchester's Clean Air Zone, a spokesperson for GMCA said: “Feedback from the 2020 Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan consultation highlighted that, due to the way motorcaravans are categorised on their V5C document, some will currently be charged to drive within the GM Clean Air Zone and some would not.
“We are proposing to include M1 and M1 special purpose vehicles with a body type of motorcaravan in the charging scheme as well.
“The updated proposals aim to ensure that all motorcaravans and campervans, that may look similar and have similar emissions, are treated equally, regardless of administrative vehicle categories."

Aberdeen clean air zone for motorhomes

Aberdeen is set to introduce a clean air zone in spring 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Aberdeen’s position…

Bradford clean air zone for motorhomes

Bradford has delayed the launch of its clean air zone until spring 2022, having been planned to be rolled out in January 2022.

According to its Breathe Better Bradford website “leisure vehicles in private ownership (e.g. motorhome or motorised horsebox) which is for personal use only and not commercial use” may be available for an exemption in the future.

Dundee clean air zone for motorhomes

The Dundee clean air zone will be launched in spring 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Dundee’s position…

Edinburgh clean air zone for motorhomes

Edinburgh’s clean air zone will be rolled out in spring 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Edinburgh’s position…

Glasgow clean air zone for motorhomes

Glasgow will introduce a clean air zone in spring 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Glasgow’s position…

Newcastle clean air zone for motorhomes

Clean air zone in Newcastle will cover the majority of its city centre from July 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Newcastle’s position…

Bristol clean air zone for motorhomes

Bristol City Council is set to launch their clean air zone in summer 2022 after delays resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bristol City Council is yet to clarify its stance on campervans and motorhomes, although larger vehicles will be charged £100 per day.

Many owners are concerned that the clean air zone charges in Bristol may affect their ability to access the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Baltic Wharf site.

Sheffield clean air zone for motorhomes

Sheffield’s clean air zone is due in late 2022.

We’re awaiting an official response on Sheffield’s position…

Liverpool clean air zone for motorhomes

Liverpool is expected to launch a clean air zone before 2023.

We’re awaiting an official response on Liverpool’s position…

Clean air zone classes explained

In the UK, there are four types of clean air zones, classed from A to D:

  • Class A clean air zone: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
  • Class B clean air zone: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles
  • Class C clean air zone: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses
  • Class D clean air zone: Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, motorcaravans, vans, minibuses, cars. Each local authority has the option to include motorcycles.

Clean air zone exemptions

In addition to vehicles that meet the emissions standard, there are some national exemptions from being charged and you do not need to pay if you have:

  • A vehicle that’s ultra low emission
  • A disabled passenger tax class vehicle
  • A disabled tax class vehicle
  • A military vehicle
  • A historic vehicle
  • A vehicle retrofitted with technology accredited by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS)
  • certain types of agricultural vehicles
Worth knowing: Details of local exemptions can be found online for Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Greater Manchester and Portsmouth.

What you need to do before driving in a clean air zone

You can check if you’ll need to pay a charge for a vehicle before you drive into a clean air zone by using the government’s online service to check and/or pay any charge charges.

You must pay the charge by 11:59pm on the sixth day after driving into the zone, although you can pay up to six days before you travel.

Failure to pay in time may result in a penalty charge notice (PCN).

Stay up to date with information about new clean air zones what they mean for campervans and motorhomes by subscribing to the Van Life Matters newsletter.

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4 comments

Ivor January 10, 2022 at 10:55 am

There’s going to be a lot of cheap campervans for sale before long as owners living in these areas are forced to sell. Such a shame.

Reply
alan dobinson February 1, 2022 at 12:42 am

i thing all motorhomes sould be free form air zone tax helps all uk holiday towns make money has lots are seam to like this way more now with all wat gone on can only see lots uk shops going urder fule money as it is

Reply
Kevin April 21, 2022 at 7:14 pm

If you live in your motor home and it’s your only vehicle, What then ? A euro 6 motor home will cost £60 grand, This is not fair

Reply
Paul May 5, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Stop voting Tory simple.

Reply

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