In NewsBristol

The government has backed Bristol’s plans to clean up the city’s air, including a raft of measures to help citizens adapt to the change. 

A Clean Air Zone will launch next summer helping Bristol meet clean air targets in 2023 with £42m of government funding available for greener transport initiatives, for example electric bike loans, free bus tickets, and upgrades to cleaner vehicles. 

The zone covers the area of central Bristol where air quality is poor and will only charge older and more polluting vehicles. Bristol City Council estimate 71 per cent of vehicles already meet the zone’s emissions standards and will not be charged. 

Support and exemptions 

The approved plan includes significant measures to reduce pollution in the city and meet clean air targets by helping more individuals and businesses switch to cleaner ways of travelling:  

  • £5.9 million will be spent on helping people switch to public transport and make more journeys by walking or cycling with free bus tickets, free electric bike loans and cycle training  
  • A £2 million freight consolidation project will be set up to help businesses switch to greener ways of transporting goods and meet the council’s target of 95% of all city centre deliveries made by zero-emission vehicles within 10 years  
  • £2.1 million of funding has been allocated to help local bus and coach companies get ready for the zone 
  • £1.8 million of loans and grants will be available to help people that need to upgrade their vehicles to meet the zone’s emission standards and £32 million for businesses to upgrade HGVs, LGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles. 

The zone and the £42 million of support demonstrate our commitment to improving air quality by increasing sustainable transport use for more journeys in line with leading liveable cities around the world. 

Bristol is committed to achieving clean air as quickly as possible while making sure that any measures don’t have a disproportionate adverse impact on low-income households.  To ensure as many people as possible are eligible for financial support, the council have raised Bristol’s low-income threshold from £24,000 to £26,000 rising to £27,000 in spring 2022. Our threshold is 20% higher than the Office for National Statistics calculation of low incomes in the city. 

All residents in the zone with a vehicle that doesn’t meet its emission standards can apply for an exemption giving them until the end of 2022 to apply for support to upgrade their vehicle.  

Exemptions are also available for: 

  • people on low incomes travelling into the zone for work 
  • patients and visitors to hospitals in the zone 
  • Blue Badge holders and people with a disabled tax class vehicle or disabled passenger tax class vehicle 
  • community transport providers operating under a Section 19 permit 
  • people with commercial vehicles subject to finance agreements 
  • council-funded buses, minibuses or coaches used as Home to School vehicles 
  • families who receive Personal Travel Budgets who travel through the zone on their school route 

Charges will be used to support individuals and businesses switch to cleaner vehicles and ongoing work across the city to make it easier to walk and cycle and improve public transport. 


More information 


Visit to find out how to check your vehicle and how Bristol’s zone will affect you. The website also has more information and guidance about Clean Air Zones. 




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