Low Emission Zones introduced across Scotland

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to protect public health and improve air quality have now been formally introduced across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Plans have been agreed at the local authority level and have now also been approved by Scottish Ministers, as required in legislation through the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

With the shape and scope of LEZs now agreed across the four cities through this introduction, local grace periods until enforcement commences have now begun.

  • In Glasgow, the LEZ already applies to buses. For other vehicle types, enforcement commences on 1 June 2023 (1 June 2024 for residents within the zone)
  • Edinburgh will commence enforcement on 1 June 2024
  • Dundee will commence enforcement on 30 May 2024
  • Aberdeen will commence enforcement on 1 June 2024

LEZs set an emissions limit for certain road spaces, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality. This helps protect public health within our towns and cities, making them more attractive places in which to live, work and to visit. LEZs also encourage people to think about leaving the car at home and to consider public transport or active travel – supporting climate action by helping to meet Scotland’s world leading commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.

All four cities propose schemes operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will enforce their LEZ schemes using Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. A penalty charge will be payable by the registered keeper of a vehicle when a non-compliant vehicle enters the LEZ.

Penalty charges are also consistent across the four cities. For non-compliant vehicles found to have been driven within the zone the initial penalty is set at £60, with a subsequent doubling for each contravention, capped at £480 for cars and light good vehicles, and £960 for bus and HGV.  The penalty charge is reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.  Where there are no further contraventions detected within the 90 days following a previous contravention, the penalty is reset to £60.

The minimum emission standards for vehicles permitted within the four LEZs are:

  • Euro 4 for petrol cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from January 2006)
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from September 2015)

A number of vehicles are exempt from LEZ requirements, including any vehicle a blue badge holder is travelling in. Funding remains available to help people and businesses that need it most to comply with Low Emission Zones. 

Full information on Scotland’s Low Emission Zones is available at www.lowemissionzones.scot.

Further information is available on the relevant local authority pages.

The introduction of Scotland’s LEZs marks the completion of the Scottish Government’s landmark Programme for Government commitment. Welcoming the introduction, Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said:

“The introduction of Low Emission Zones is a truly significant public health moment for Scotland. Our air quality is generally good – but for too long air pollution has exceeded legal limits for health in our city centres as a consequence of unrestricted vehicle emissions.

“We have a moral responsibility to act. Air pollution often disproportionally impacts those with the least in our society. It causes the most damage to the youngest, the oldest and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“LEZs are the biggest change we’ve ever seen in how vehicles will access our cities – and they need to be, in order to best protect public health and improve air quality.

“With a year to go until the earliest point of enforcement in Glasgow and two years to go until enforcement in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, I encourage everyone to visit www.lowemissionzones.scot to find out more about the schemes, including the Scottish Government funding on offer.”

John Bynorth, who leads Scotland’s Clean Air Day for Environmental Protection Scotland said:

“We welcome the milestone introduction of LEZs to Scotland’s four main cities as it will lead to vast improvements in air quality in the city centres where the zones operate. Outwith the LEZs, we would also expect to see potential benefits to the surrounding areas as people consider their travel options and consider cycling or walking instead of taking the car.

“This will lead to improvements in the health of people who live, work and go to school in these cities and make them cleaner and more sustainable as they strive to achieve net-zero climate change targets in the coming years.”

 

REHIS is a registered charity in Scotland, SC009406

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