Newcastle Clean Air Zone: Drivers offered up to £16,000 to change vehicle ahead of imminent charges

The council is giving out grants of up to £16,000 to encourage drivers to change their vehicle for a greener option.

Applications for grants to help drivers navigate the Newcastle Clean Air Zone are set to open for drivers next week.

The new charge area in the heart of Newcastle will begin operation in the New Year as the council takes strides to cut pollution. The Clean Air Zone applies to older and more polluting taxis, vans, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles.

These vehicles are required to meet national CAZ emissions requirements, which are set by the government. For owners of vehicles that do not meet those stipulations, a scheme has been set up where drivers can apply for funding to help replace or upgrade it. The application process will open on Monday, November 21.

How does the Newcastle Clean Air Zone application process work?

You can apply for grant funding if your vehicle does not meet CAZ emissions requirements and would be charged to enter the CAZ. There is an eligibility criteria to be met - which are detailed here.

The application can be completed online and responded to within 10 working days. Drivers who receive confirmation will also be issued with a 90-day exemption period from the Clean Air Zone charges.

The amount of money available in grants for each type of vehicle is:

  • Taxis, including Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles – up to £3,500
  • Wheelchair accessible taxis, including Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicles – up to £4,000
  • Light goods vehicles – up to £4,500
  • Heavy goods vehicles – up to £16,000
  • Buses and coaches – up to £16,000
The Newcastle Clean Air Zone will be implemented in 2023 (Image: Newcastle City Council)

Where does the Newcastle Clean Air Zone cover?

The Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone covers the majority of the city centre. It begins at the entry point of the Redheugh Bridge, Tyne Bridge and Swing Bridge - it also applies on the High Level Bridge although traffic here is one-way out of Newcastle.

The zone then runs from Close on the Quayside and along Skinnerburn Road then up to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, along the Central Motorway and back by Northumbria University to the Tyne Bridge.

A map of the Clean Air Zone in Newcastle and Gateshead (Image: Newcastle City Council)

When do charges for the Clean Air Zone in Newcastle and Gateshead come into play?

For those not in the loop, the arrival of the Clean Air Zone signs may have come as a surprise. It is, however, a scheme the Council has been working on for a while and the now confirmed implementation date of Monday, January 30, 2023 is actually later than first hoped for. Charges for non-complying cars will be introduced in two phases, detailed below.

Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for connected city at Newcastle City Council said: “Although the signage and cameras for the Clean Air Zone are now in place, we want to reassure people that there will be no charges until next year and there is still time to get ready. Over the next two months we will be collecting details of vehicles entering the zone and contacting owners of non-compliant higher polluting vehicles, which will be affected from January, to make them aware and provide information about how to get support and financial help.”