Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone launched earlier today (Monday 30 January), which sees motorists with non-compliant taxis, buses, coaches and HGVs will face charges to drive into the zone.

Affected vehicle owners are advised to ensure they understand what it means for them – including how to pay a Clean Air Zone charge.

Drivers of non-compliant vehicles who enter the Clean Air Zone will NOT be sent a notification reminding them to pay.

Instead, drivers are asked to check if their vehicle is affected and if they are required to pay to do so online or over the telephone.

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Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for a connected, clean city at Newcastle City Council, said this means it is vital that people understand what it means for them, adding: “With less than a week to go before the Clean Air Zone launches, we are reminding the owners and operators of HGVs, buses, coaches and taxis to check whether they are affected.

“Responsibility for paying a CAZ charge rests with you so it’s really important to check whether your vehicle is compliant and whether your route is within the zone.”

People can check whether their vehicle will be charged and, if they do need to pay they can also make a payment, using the national Clean Air Zone website www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones. Payment can also be made by telephone on 0300 029 8888. The lines are open Monday to Friday between 8am and 7pm and on Saturday from 8am until 2pm.

Once the Clean Air Zone launches on 30 January, payments can be made any time from six days before a journey, on the day of travel or by 11:59pm on the sixth day after driving in the zone. If a charge is not paid drivers may receive a penalty charge notice (PCN).

Affected drivers are encouraged to also be aware of whether their journey takes them within the Clean Air Zone boundary so that they know whether they need to pay.

The zone covers most of Newcastle city centre as well as routes across the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges.

Road signs with the Clean Air logo mark all the entrances to the CAZ and further signs are in place in all directions, to warn drivers on approaching routes.

There is also an interactive map of the Clean Air Zone available online so that people can check before they travel. This can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/map

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Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “There are a number of ways people can check both their vehicle and their route to understand whether they will need to pay a CAZ charge.

“We don’t want to see drivers getting caught out and we encourage them to make these necessary checks so that they are prepared when the zone launches on 30 January.”

The level of charges people will have to pay depends upon the type of vehicle.

Non-compliant buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £50 per day, while non-compliant taxi and private hire vehicles will be charged £12.50 per day.

Private cars are not affected by the Clean Air Zone and do not have to pay any charges.

Non-compliant vans will have to pay £12.50 per day but not until July. These charges have been delayed due to national vehicle supply chain issues that are making it difficult for owners and small businesses to obtain compliant vehicles.