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    Birmingham Clean Air Zone: classic cars over 40 years old can apply for exemption


    For classic car owners in the Birmingham area, there are a few changes taking place on our roads this summer which you should be aware of. On 1st June, a new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) goes live in the city, and owners of high-emission cars may be charged for driving through the new zone.

    However, owners of classic cars over 40 years old will be relieved to know that there are exceptions for historic or military vehicles registered or built pre-1981. You can take a look at the full details on the government website here to see if your classic is exempt from the new charges. If you haven’t already, you will need to apply for an exemption yourself on the government website by 10th May in order to get one by the 1st June; we’ve included the details for you below.

    The new CAZ was initially meant to be enforced last year, but was postponed due to COVID-19. According to Birmingham City Council, the purpose of the Zone is to reduce levels of nitrogen oxide in the air, something which can be especially prevalent in the emissions produced by older cars. The new Zone falls in line with other ‘greener’ government incentives, such as the introduction of E10 fuel this September as part of the UK’s aim to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

    Will my classic be charged?

    As mentioned above, some classics will be exempt from the new charge if they were built or first registered over 40 years ago. To avoid the charge, you will need to apply for an exemption on the government website by 10th May 2021, before the CAZ goes live on 1st June.

    For those classics which are younger than 40 years, you can see if your vehicle will be charged by using the government vehicle checker here. If your classic will be charged and you aren’t eligible for an exemption, you can pay the daily charge online by using the same link.

    Where will the Zone be?

    Birmingham City Council have released a handy map to show the specific location of the new Zone, which we’ve included below. The Zone will be enforced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so charges will still apply even if you’re driving outside of normal hours. The daily charge will be £8 for cars, taxis and vans, whilst a £50 charge applies to larger vehicles like buses and coaches.

    Map of the new Clean Air Zone in Birmingham being introduced on 1st June 2021
    Image from Birmingham City Council

    Are there any other Zones around the UK?

    There are plans to introduce other Clean Air Zones around the UK; according to the government website, the Zones will be split into different categories for different cities:

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

    Bath had a Class C Zone introduced earlier this year, and there are further plans to introduce a Zone in Bristol this October, as well as Bradford, Portsmouth and Newcastle towards the end of 2021.

    To speak with an expert about your vehicle insurance needs, please call a member of the Heritage team on 0121 248 9229.

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