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Drivers and operators of selected types of vehicles can apply for an exemption from the government-mandated Portsmouth Clean Air Zone (CAZ) when it launches in November 2021, meaning that they will not have to pay for some or all of their journeys through the zone.

Portsmouth City Council has agreed the exemptions after consulting with the public and engaging with vehicle users across the city. These exemptions apply to travel in the Portsmouth CAZ, different rules may apply in other clean air zones.

All emergency service vehicles will be exempt from the CAZ charges for life.

Specialist Heavy Vehicles, including recovery vehicles, are also able to apply for exemption from charges for life.

Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles that are classified as Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) will be able to travel without charge in the Portsmouth CAZ for the first six months after launch. The council has successfully secured additional funds from central government to support the upgrade of WAVs, due to the important role that these vehicles play in providing mobility services for disabled people in Portsmouth.

School and community transport will be exempt for two years from CAZ launch.

Emergency rail or bus replacement buses and coaches will be offered an exemption if they are required at short notice, such as when a train breaks down.

Horse transporters that are classified as HGVs are being offered up to 10 trips a year through the zone without charge, allowing horse owners on the Isle of Wight access to specialist equine healthcare facilities located on the mainland. More information is available on the exemptions webpage

Non-commercial vintage buses are also being offered 10 trips a year without charge. More information is available on the exemptions webpage

Drivers and operators of vehicles eligible for a local exemption will need to apply for their vehicles and show evidence, such as vehicle ownership documents and photographs of the vehicle being applied for. The application form is now live, and can be accessed on the exemptions webpage

Owners of non-compliant vehicles who are working to upgrade their vehicles before the launch of the CAZ but have been unable to do so due to issues outside of their control (such as supply chain issues) could also be eligible to apply for a short term exemption to give them a bit more time to upgrade. Contact 023 9283 4593, or email for more information.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment said: “We’ve worked hard with drivers in Portsmouth to create a way they can travel through the Clean Air Zone without negatively impacting essential transport requirements, emergency aid and vehicle recovery, and people’s livelihoods. Please register your vehicle with us through the application form.

“If you’re unsure whether you’ll be charged to drive in the zone, please use the vehicle checker on our website. If this confirms you’ll be charged, you may be able to access funding to help you upgrade your vehicle to a cleaner, greener one.”

The council has a dedicated team of engagement officers to help affected drivers and business owners with applications, as well as to answer any queries they may have. Please call the team for support with applications at 023 9283 4593, or email