Community councils call for city-wide Edinburgh Low Emission Zone

Edinburgh Council has been urged to take its plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) back to the drawing board and come up with a scheme that benefits the entire Capital — not just the city centre.

Edinburgh Council has been urged to take its plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) back to the drawing board and come up with a scheme that benefits the entire Capital — not just the city centre.
Edinburgh Council has been urged to take its plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) back to the drawing board and come up with a scheme that benefits the entire Capital — not just the city centre.

The Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC), which represents the views of 44 such groups across the city, said there is “no support for the City Council’s proposed LEZ” which excludes suburban communities with the highest level of emissions.

From May 31, diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars registered before January 2006 – as well as HGVs and buses that do not fall into the ‘Euro 6’ emissions standards category – will be prohibited from driving within the City Centre boundary.

This includes the West End, Queen Street and the New Town, Greenside at the top of Leith Walk, Abbeyhill on the east, Pleasance, the Meadows and Tollcross.

Under the scheme, which was approved by councillors in January in a bid to drive down pollution in central Edinburgh, drivers unlawfully entering the zone will be identified using Automatic Number Plate Recognition and issued with a fine.

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However, it will not take effect until 2024, with the council agreeing to a two year ‘grace period’.

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Whilst the EACC supports the creation of a LEZ, it said its members unanimously agree that a city wide boundary is favoured by Edinburgh’s residents.

It added in a statement: “The strength of opposition to the current proposals was articulated by both city centre and suburban community councils.”

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The association described the council’s modelling of the scheme’s success as “educated guessing” and said: “Assumptions are being made which are extremely optimistic and unlikely to have any relation to reality.”

It slammed the council’s “fixation with consideration of Edinburgh being seen through the prism of the City Centre at the expense of the suburban communities”.

“The streets in these communities have had the highest level of emissions with the consequent detrimental effect on public health. Perversely it is the residents in these communities which will see no benefit from the proposed Edinburgh LEZ,” it added.

Edinburgh Council have been approached for comment.

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