Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, has confirmed that the city’s Clean Air Zone will start operating on Monday 28 November (2022). The Mayor also highlighted that there is still time to apply for financial support to replace vehicles that don’t meet the zone’s emission standards.

Mayor Rees said: “This is a major milestone on our journey to clean air. We have now agreed a launch date for the zone with government ministers and officials at the Joint Air Quality Unit. On Monday 28 November Bristol will introduce one of the most far-reaching zones in the UK. Poor air quality has a major impact on the health of everyone in the city and the Clean Air Zone will help us tackle this issue and meet government targets for cleaner air in 2023.

“Most drivers on Bristol roads won’t need to pay the daily charge but if you do then you may be eligible for financial support to upgrade your vehicle. It’s easy to check if your vehicle will be charged with the government’s Clean Air Zone checker tool.”

The council is supporting people on low incomes and Bristol-based businesses prepare for the zone and has £42 million of funding to help those that need to replace vehicles to meet the zone’s emission standards. The council’s website has more information about the zone and how to access financial support.

Mayor Rees added: “We’re making sure that the Clean Air Zone won’t have a detrimental impact on people on low incomes or businesses. With five months until the zone starts, there’s still time to get help from the council if you need to replace your vehicle.

“Contact us to find out how we can help you an interest free loan or even a grant which you don’t pay back. You don’t need to buy a new electric car to not pay the Clean Air Zone charge – it could be as simple as going to your local second-hand dealer and upgrading your 2003 car for a 2006 one.

“We’ve received over 3,800 applications for financial support. Our advisors have processed most of the applications from our priority groups. Our finance partners will be contacting eligible applicants from August to guide them through the next stage of the process by putting them in touch with approved dealerships.”

Two thirds of vehicles are already able to travel in the zone free of charge, but we know some people need a bit longer to make adaptations. There is an exemption available until July 2023 for those that are successful in applying for financial support and have yet to receive their new vehicle.

In addition, we’ve asked Government to extend other temporary exemptions from the charge which will be available to:

  • residents in the zone
  • people working within the zone and earning less than £27,000 a year
  • Blue Badge holders
  • patients attending hospitals in the zone

Applications for these temporary exemptions will open in September.

During negotiations with government, the council also secured £5.9 million of support for people to switch to active travel: including bike and e-bike trials, cycle training, VOI e-Scooter credit, bus tickets, and planning sessions with travel experts to help people explore all their options for their regular journeys.

Mayor Rees explained: “These travel offers are open to everyone that lives or works in Bristol and have the huge potential for positive behaviour change to benefit our health, environment and economy. The travel offers and the Clean Air Zone demonstrate our commitment to reduce harmful pollution by increasing sustainable transport use for more journeys in line with leading liveable cities around the world.

“By walking, cycling and using public transport more, we can make our city a healthier place for everyone. Our free travel offers are a great way of trying different ways of travelling to see what works for you. Go to the council’s website to find out more and register.”