In 2017, the UK government issued a legal direction which required councils in Newcastle & Gateshead to take quick action to reduce illegal levels of traffic-related pollution in certain areas.
In order to achieve this, local authorities have approved plans for a phased introduction of a Newcastle & Gateshead's Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
The CAZ, which is now live, means that all commercial and private-hire non-compliant vehicles will charged a daily fee to enter the zone.
"Reducing the number of older, more polluting vehicles on our roads is one way that we can help to improve our air quality and protect our health." - Councillor John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council
The CAZ has been introduced to encourage those driving older, more polluting vehicles to upgrade to cleaner models. Cameras are used to monitor vehicles entering the zone, so make sure you pay the charge in Caura if you need to!. Charging has now started for non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches and HGVs. However, non-compliant vans and LGVs will not face charges until July 2023 to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage.
If you drive a private car or motorcycle, you do not have to pay a charge.
For all commercial & private hire vehicles, you don't have to pay a charge if your vehicle meets the following emission standards:
Charing for non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches and HGVs has started from 30 January 2023.
Non-compliant vans and LGVs will not face charges until July 2023 to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage.
The charge you need to pay is dependant on your vehicle type. Taxis, minibuses and vans need to pay a £12.50 fee whereas private HGVs, trucks, lorries, coaches and buses have to pay a £50 fee. Private cars and motorcycles are exempt from this charge.
Charges apply daily, so if you're entering and exiting the zone multiple times on the same day, you will only need to pay once.
But, if you drive in the zone across two days, for example before midnight and after midnight, you'll need to pay two daily charges.
If you forget to pay the fee, you’ll get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) in the post for a £120 fine. This is reduced to £60 if you pay it within 14 days.
There are two types of exemptions:
National exemptions - these exemptions are automatic and you don't need to apply for them.
Local exemptions - if your vehicle falls under any of these categories, you will need to apply for exemption via the Newcastle City Council website.
If your vehicle is one of the above types and it does not meet the Clean Air Zone emissions requirements, you can apply for funding to help replace or upgrade it. Applications can be made online via the Newcastle City Council website.
Funding for the grants has been provided by government and the following amounts have been agreed for each vehicle type:
The funding can be used to help purchase a compliant vehicle, either new or second hand, to replace one that does not meet the emissions standards (Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol). This can include minibus replacement where the vehicle is licensed as a taxi or where a community transport permit or operator’s licence is in place.
The Clean Air Zone includes most of Newcastle city centre, as well as routes over the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges.
As you drive towards Newcastle city centre, you’ll start to see CAZ signs. The signs will have a symbol with the Letter C, showing the Clean Air Zone class.
Once you enter your vehicle registration number in-app, you'll be able to see if your vehicle is exempt from the charge or not. If it's not, Caura will tell you exactly how much you need to pay, and from there you can pay in just two taps. Receipts are also stored in-app, and can be exported to your email if you need it.
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