Low Emission Zones (LEZs) have 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. 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 and a year later for residents within the zone. Edinburgh will commence enforcement on 1 June 2024, Dundee on 30 May 2024 and Aberdeen on 1 June 2024.
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.”
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, the City of Edinburgh Council said: “By introducing an LEZ, Edinburgh is joining cities right across the UK in working towards a healthier environment and a better quality of life for everyone. We all have the right to breathe clean air and it’s our responsibility to tackle air pollution to protect the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of society. The LEZ will restrict the most polluting vehicles from entering the boundary, reducing harmful traffic-related nitrogen oxide emissions by a predicted 55% in the zone.”
Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras will be used to police the LEZs, and all four cities propose schemes operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Penalty charges are 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 coaches, buses and HGVs. The penalty charge is reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days, and where there are no further contraventions detected within the 90 days, the penalty is reset to £60.