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What does the ‘Clean Air’ Zone Legislation mean for Contract Car Leasing UK?

Back in 2015, the UK Government introduced plans which were aimed at helping to improve the quality of air in cities. This was to be done by the introduction of five Clean Air Zones which were to be put in place by 2020. With this date fast approaching, let’s take a good look at what Clean Air Zones are, which cities they are likely to be in, and how they may affect contract car leasing UK.


What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone is the name given to an area of a city where the council has taken steps to improve the air quality found in this area. When Clean Air Zones were first introduced back in 2015, it was thought that they may only apply to buses, HGVs and taxis, but as the government were faced with a legal challenge over this, they have now been expanded to cover non-compliant private vehicles as well-meaning if you have a contract lease hire car you may be affected by them as well.

The creation of Clean Air Zones by the government of the UK is part of their wider Air Quality Plan which has the aim of addressing sources of pollution and improving air quality. The plan is to work at a regional level to help local authorities and businesses take the steps they need to, which should result in an overall improvement of the air quality at a national level.

The plan outlined two areas of Clean Air Zones: charging and non-charging. The charging area will be areas where drivers will be charged for entering the zone if their vehicle fails to meet the required environmental standards. The non-charging Clean Air zones will be focused on improving air quality without charging vehicles who enter the zone.


Why have Clean Air Zones been Introduced?

Following pressure from environmentalists the Supreme Court ordered government ministers to deliver measures to tackle the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air. It is hoped that the introduction of Clean Air Zones will also contribute to the UKs compliance with the EUs clean air directive and therefore reduce the amount of air pollution we have.

Which Cities have Designated Clean Air Zones?

The five cities which were chosen to have designated clean air zones by 2020 are Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton – with proposals from their councils expected by March 2018.

How will Clean Air Zones affect Car Leasers?

If your vehicle does not meet the standards required under the clean air legislation then you will have to pay a charge if you enter the charging Clean Air Zone in any of the aforementioned cities. As the majority of cars which are covered under personal or business contract leases these days are new, then they should meet these standards easily.


It is worth knowing about the Clean Air Zones if you are considering personal or business contract lease cars to make sure you check that they meet the required standards before you sign the lease. After all, you wouldn’t want to get caught out, would you?


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Posted on 4th February 2019 at 7:19 AM

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