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Motorists can now check online whether they will need to pay to drive in the government imposed Portsmouth Clean Air Zone (CAZ), with the launch of an online vehicle checker.

Motorists can now check online whether they will need to pay to drive in the government imposed Portsmouth Clean Air Zone (CAZ), with the launch of an online vehicle checker.

On 17 June 2021, to coincide with national Clean Air Day, Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone will be added to the national online CAZ vehicle checker. Portsmouth City Council has worked with the government to have the details of the government imposed Portsmouth CAZ added to the online tool, which will tell drivers whether they will need to pay to travel in the zone when it starts to operate later this year. All privately owned cars and vans will not be charged in Portsmouth.

The government has mandated that Portsmouth has a CAZ – this will cover an area in the south west of the city including the city centre where pollution is highest. The CAZ will not cover other areas of high air pollution on M27 and A27, as these are government controlled roads where they have decided not to impose a CAZ.

The most polluting ‘non-compliant’ vehicles will be charged daily for driving in the zone. These non-compliant vehicles include heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles. Only vehicles that don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards (if diesel) or Euro 4 emissions standards (if petrol) will be charged. Drivers of private cars, motorcycles and vans won’t be charged to drive in the Portsmouth CAZ, but could be charged in other zones across the UK.

The vehicle checker has been developed by the government and also contains information about the other CAZs around the country, such as those in Bath and Birmingham. Drivers can visit www.cleanerairportsmouth.co.uk to enter their registration number to instantly find out whether they would need to pay a charge to drive in the CAZ.

Other cities in the UK have recently launched clean air zones and more will follow. This vehicle checker will help drivers plan ahead and check whether they will need to pay the charge in each zone. The tool also provides details on the emission levels of the vehicle being checked, to help create better awareness of the impact that vehicles have on air pollution.

If the tool shows that a vehicle is liable to be charged, this means it is an older, more polluting vehicle that doesn’t meet the minimum emissions standards set out by government. In the Portsmouth CAZ, this means it has a ‘Euro 5’ or older engine (if it uses diesel fuel), or a ‘Euro 3’ or older engine (if petrol). In Portsmouth some vehicle types will be exempt from paying. These exemptions won’t show up in the national vehicle checker, so drivers should visit www.travel.portsmouth.gov.uk/schemes/clean-air-zone-exemptions to find out whether they can apply for an exemption for their vehicle.

These vehicles are known as ‘non-compliant’ vehicles and would have to pay a daily charge for traveling in the zone. This will be £10 a day for non-compliant taxis and private hire vehicles, and £50 a day for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches. Private cars and vans won’t be charged to drive in the Portsmouth CAZ.

Businesses that own or manage two or more UK registered vehicles will be able create an account to manage all affected vehicles. They can upload a spreadsheet of details and pay for multiple vehicles, if necessary.

When Portsmouth’s CAZ launches in November, drivers of non-compliant vehicles will also be able to pay their CAZ charges through the vehicle checker.

Anyone who finds out that their vehicle would be liable for charges through the tool may be able to access funding to help them retrofit or upgrade their vehicles to cleaner, greener ones. To find out more about the zone, including details on how to apply for a grant, contact our dedicated team of engagement officers on 023 9283 4593 or email CAZHelpDesk@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said “Everyone should be able to breathe cleaner air and we are committed to making this happen in Portsmouth. Even though a clean air zone is not our preferred solution to improve air quality, it’s important that we provide people with as much information as possible.

“You’ll now be able to check whether your vehicle will be charged by entering your vehicle registration number online. If you’re liable to pay a charge, get in contact with us about the funding that is available to help you upgrade or retrofit your vehicle.”

For more information about the Clean Air Zone and to check your vehicle registration number to see if you’ll be charged, visit www.cleanerairportsmouth.co.uk