The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is due to launch in November 2021 and some vehicles that travel through it would face a daily charge. These include non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles (PHVs), buses, coaches, and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

We appreciate that these changes come at a challenging time, so we want to help those most affected by the CAZ charges. You may be able to get help from the Clean Air Fund if you’re directly impacted by the CAZ. This includes people who operate non-compliant:

If your business replaces or upgrades non-compliant vehicles with cleaner, greener ones, you’ll avoid the daily charge. We’ll also have fewer polluting vehicles in the city.

Apply for clean air zone funding

How much funding is available?

We don’t have enough funding to help everyone, so we need to specifically target those who are most affected by the CAZ. This is intended to help those who are likely to be significantly impacted by CAZ charges and it will provide grants to replace older, more polluting vehicles with compliant ones. You can get different amounts of funding, depending on a few factors.

Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)

You can access £1,500 per vehicle to help you upgrade to a compliant taxi or PHV via purchase or lease.

At the moment, there is enough funding to support all active non-compliant vehicles licensed with Portsmouth City Council. This could change if more licensed non-compliant vehicles that aren’t currently being used return to operation. If this happens, we’ll need to assess and prioritise each application for funding.

A CAZ-compliant vehicle is a one that is Euro 6 standard or newer if diesel, or a Euro 4 standard or newer if petrol. There is no requirement for replacement vehicles to be electric to access the fund.

You’ll need to apply for a grant and have received your approval letter before purchasing a replacement vehicle. Grants can’t be paid to anyone who applies after buying a new vehicle.

If you’re looking to buy a vehicle to license as a taxi or PHV, you should make sure that you can license this for use with Portsmouth City Council and that it is compliant with the Clean Air Zone euro standard.

From January 2022, any vehicles that are over 4 years old cannot be newly licensed, so you should make sure you can drive it in the CAZ before you buy a used vehicle. Please contact us or visit our licensing page to check if a vehicle can be licensed.

If you’re selling an older, non-compliant vehicle, you should make it clear to the buyer that it can’t be licensed as a taxi or PHV with Portsmouth City Council. You can still sell or transfer the ownership for private use. You can also sell it for scrap.

How can I check if I can apply for funding?

To apply for the fund, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria.

  • You must be the registered keeper or owner of a ‘non-compliant’ private hire or hackney carriage vehicle. You may have more than one vehicle.
  • The vehicle or vehicles must have been licensed with Portsmouth City Council at some point between May 2020 and the date you apply.
  • You must make reasonable attempts to continually license your compliant vehicle for the next 3 years.
  • You cannot have received any Clean Air Fund incentives from another council. You also cannot be in the process of applying for one, or planning to apply for one in future from another local authority.

Read more about the fund application process

See full terms and conditions

Wheelchair accessible vehicles

If your non-compliant vehicle is wheelchair accessible, you can access £4,000 for each vehicle. This is intended to help you upgrade to a compliant one via purchase or lease.

At the moment, there is enough funding to support all licensed non-compliant vehicles in Portsmouth. The number of grants are unlimited for each applicant, while complying with State Aid limits.

Buses and coaches

You can access £15,000 for each non-compliant bus or coach you have. This is intended to help you upgrade by retrofitting your vehicle, or purchasing or leasing a compliant one.

There are 60 grants available, which will be assessed on a points based scoring system. You can currently apply for a maximum of 3 vehicles.

How can I check if I can apply for funding?

To apply for the fund, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria.

  • You must be part of a business that owns or leases non-compliant vehicles. In the Portsmouth CAZ, this would be one with Euro category M3 with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 5000kg, and more than 8 seats in addition to the driver. If you’re not sure of the vehicle category, you can check your logbook.
  • You must have owned or leased your vehicle or vehicles for at least 12 months before you apply.
    • We may consider exceptions if you propose to replace an existing non-compliant vehicle that can’t be retrofitted with one that can.
  • You must have been actively trading for more than 12 months. We understand that your business may have paused due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but you’ll need to show that you’ve been actively trading for more than 12 months and up to February 2020.
  • You must be able to show evidence of how frequently your non-compliant vehicle enters the CAZ. On average, this should be 2 or more days per week. You’ll also need to show evidence of your upgraded compliant vehicles entering the CAZ. This evidence could be contracts, email confirmation or vehicle telematics.
  • You must show evidence of selling any non-compliant vehicles that you’re replacing through this fund.
  • You cannot have received any Clean Air Fund incentives from another council. You also cannot be in the process of applying for one, or planning to apply for one in future from another local authority.

Read more about the fund application process. Full terms and conditions will be published very soon.

This fund isn’t related to Covid-19, but you can find out more about the Taxi Driver Additional Restrictions Support Grant here.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)

You can access £16,000 for each non-compliant HGV you have. This is intended to help you upgrade by retrofitting your vehicle, or purchasing or leasing a compliant one.

There are 50 grants available, which will be assessed on a points based scoring system. You can currently apply for a maximum of 3 vehicles.

How can I check if I can apply for funding?

To apply for the fund, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria.

  • You must be part of a business that owns or leases non-compliant vehicles. In the Portsmouth CAZ, this would be one with Euro category N2 with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 3500kg, or category N3 with a GVW over 5000kg. If you’re not sure of the vehicle category, you can check your logbook.
  • You must have owned or leased your vehicle or vehicles for at least 12 months before you apply.
    • We may consider exceptions if you propose to replace an existing non-compliant vehicle that can’t be retrofitted with one that can.
  • You must have been actively trading for more than 12 months. We understand that your business may have paused due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but you’ll need to show that you’ve been actively trading for more than 12 months and up to February 2020.
  • You must be able to show evidence of how frequently your non-compliant vehicle enters the CAZ. On average, this should be 2 or more days per week. You’ll also need to show evidence of your upgraded compliant vehicles entering the CAZ. This evidence could be contracts, email confirmation or vehicle telematics.
  • You must show evidence of selling any non-compliant vehicles that you’re replacing through this fund.
  • You cannot have received any Clean Air Fund incentives from another council. You also cannot be in the process of applying for one, or planning to apply for one in future from another local authority.

Read more about the fund application process. Full terms and conditions will be published very soon.

Can I apply for funding towards Electric Vehicles?

Euro 6 standard vehicles are the minimum requirement for a compliant vehicle, so you’re not required to upgrade to an Electric Vehicle (EV).

The Clean Air Fund is designed to assist as many people as possible who are most affected by the CAZ, so we don’t have specific funding for EVs.

If you’re still interested in investing in EVs, the government’s own funding may help with this. Visit the government’s plug-in grants page to find out more.

We’ll still consider applications towards associated costs of Electric Vehicles, such as insurance and lease fees. If you have a non-compliant vehicle and would prefer to upgrade to an EV, you’ll need to demonstrate the business need to upgrade.

When can I apply for funding?

The first round of funding is now open to applications from operators of HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles. It’s important that you respond quickly to this opportunity, as this will help us direct funding to those most in need.

It also ensures that suppliers have enough capacity before the CAZ launches.

Apply for clean air zone funding

If you’re not sure you want to apply yet, you can pre-register your interest or email us so we can help you access the funding when you’re ready.

How does the council assess applications?

You’ll be able to apply for funding online, and we’ll update this page with specific details as soon as this is launched. But if you don’t have access to our website, or if you need support in completing the forms, our engagement team will be on hand to assist. We’ll provide contact details for them before the launch.

Since funding is limited, applications for buses, coaches and HGVs may need to be assessed on a points-based scoring system. This is designed to help those most directly affected, and will be determined by factors like:

  • How frequently you use the CAZ across the week.
    For example, if your non-compliant HGV only travels through the CAZ once a week or less, you may not be eligible
  • How dependent you are on the CAZ.
    For example, if your business is located within the CAZ, you may be prioritised
  • How many non-compliant vehicles you have.
    For example, if your coach company has 3 non-compliant vehicles out of a fleet of 5 you may be prioritised
  • Whether you can avoid the CAZ.
    For example, if you have both non-compliant and compliant buses, but can arrange your vehicles to avoid the CAZ charge, you may not be prioritised
  • How much of your turnover is dependent on transportation costs.
    For example, if 100% of your freight company trade needs to be transported by non-compliant HGVs, you may be prioritised
  • How recently you’ve worked in the CAZ and how committed you are to keep operating within it.
    For example, if your taxi has depended on city centre pick-ups for the last 2 years, and you’ve made all reasonable commitments to continue for the next 2 years, you may be prioritised.
  • Whether you can access other financial support.
    For example, if your coach company hasn’t been able to access government support, you may be prioritised over a company that has received fleet or vehicle improvement grants recently.

How can I apply for funding?

Apply for clean air zone funding

You can apply for funding online, and we have a team in place to help you process it if you need it.

Before you apply, you should use the government’s Clean Air Zone charge vehicle checker. You can enter your vehicle registration to check whether it would compliant for the CAZ. At the moment, this is only for Clean Air Zones in Bath and Birmingham, but we’ll update this when the Portsmouth CAZ has been added to the system.

If you aim to retrofit your vehicle, you should also contact suppliers to get quotes for the retrofitting work before you apply for the fund. If you don’t do this, you could risk delays to your application or even have to reapply if your vehicle cannot be retrofitted.

When you make your application, you’ll need to:

  • Provide general personal data about you and your business
  • Provide details of your non-compliant vehicles, such as registration, make and model, V5 document, proof of purchase
  • Provide details of any new retrofit or leasing supplier or replacement vehicles you’re likely to use
  • Provide evidence of how dependent you are on traveling in the CAZ
  • Provide evidence of how frequently and for what purpose you’ll use the CAZ
  • Confirm you can meet all the Terms and Conditions

We can help you find suppliers to help you retrofit your vehicles. While we don’t have agreements in place with any approved supplier, we can recommend Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) accredited suppliers we’re confident will have the available technology and resources to help you. These include:

You can see more information about accredited retrofit suppliers on the CVRAS website.

Please contact us at CAZHelpDesk@portsmouthcc.gov.uk if you have any questions.