Drivers can apply for £4,000 worth of Clean Air Zone incentives
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Dorry Potter, an expert at National Scrap Car, told Express.co.uk that the main aim of a Clean Air Zone is to “improve air quality and health” as well as “reduce illness and death from pollution”. And, drivers who own incompatible vehicles can apply for grants and loans that will help them to get rid of the more polluting vehicles.
Ms Potter said: “If you work in a CAZ and have to pay for your vehicle – as in it is not a company car – then one option you could look into is getting financial help to scrap it.
“For example, Birmingham offers incentives if you are the owner of a non-compliant vehicle and meet the criteria, you can sign up for our Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Schemes such as a£2,000 credit on a Swift card – this is a smartcard you use on public transport, and a £2,000 discount on a new car through Motorpoint.”
However, Ms Potter stressed that the first thing drivers should do is check whether their vehicle meets emission standards.
If it does, then drivers don’t need to worry as they won’t be charged.
The expert added: “You should also check local authority sites as each Clean Air Zone may be a different class.
“For example in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside, it will apply to taxis, vans, buses, coaches and HGVs that don’t meet national emissions requirements. “Private cars will not be affected by the CAZ.
“You should also check each local authority as you might be able to apply for a temporary exemption permit if you live or work in the Clean Air Zone.”
A temporary exemption permit is available for drivers who meet all three of the following criteria:
- They live at an address within the Clean Air Zone
- They are the keeper of a vehicle that does not meet the emission standards for the Clean Air Zone and will be subject to the daily charge
- The vehicle is registered to the same address you live at
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Ms Potter added: “This exemption is available for up to two years (24 months) from the launch of the Clean Air Zone (not from the date you apply), and will allow you to drive your non-compliant vehicle through the zone without having to pay the daily charge.
“In some cities, you also will not have to pay if you’re travelling to certain hospitals or medical centres. This is definitely worth checking.
“You will be provided with a voucher when you go to your appointment which will cover the cost of the CAZ charges.”
There are also a number of local councils in the UK that are offering support to drivers and businesses.
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In Bristol, the council is offering grants and loans to help people and businesses that need to replace vehicles that don’t meet the zone’s emission standards.
To get a grant or loan motorists must wait for the authority to contact them after registering their interest.
Drivers are also being warned not to sell their vehicles and buy another one privately if they want to get financial support.
The local authority has agreed to a £42million package of support with the Government, which includes £1.8million of loans and grants to help people who need to change their vehicle, £32million for businesses to upgrade HGVs, LGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles, and £5.9million to help people switch to public transport and make more journeys by walking or cycling with free electric bike loans, cycle training and free bus tickets.
Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, echoed Ms Potter’s claims adding: “Clean Air Zones are an important step in encouraging cleaner transport, whether that is a less polluting vehicle, or opting to travel by bicycle or foot.
“However, the concerns surrounding the introduction of these zones are understandable.
“Firstly, it is important to note that these zones are being put in place for high-polluting vehicles, these are often older models such as any petrol vehicles made before 2006, and diesel vehicles manufactured before 2015 – however, if you are unsure about the classification of your vehicle, the Government website can help you out.
“The installation of these zones may appear daunting at first, however, grants and loans are being brought in to help those who are struggling to move to a less polluting vehicle (although this may vary based on localities).”
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