Community calls for Edinburgh Council's LEZ to be extended to cover New Town
COMMUNITY councillors are calling on transport bosses to extend a proposed low emission zone (LEZ) to cover the entire New Town to “offer residents and visitors the highest levels of protection against air pollution”.
The city council’s initial LEZ proposals include a citywide ban for the most polluting commercial vehicles, buses and coaches – as well as a smaller city centre zone where high polluting cars would also be subject to bans or face hefty fines.
But New Town and Broughton Community Council has called for the city centre zone to be “widened to include the northern New Town and other residential areas”.
In a response to the city council’s public consultation on the plans, the community council added: “There is a clear possibility that the present proposals move damaging emissions away from the more transient population of the city centre towards areas inhabited by permanent residents.
“We welcome this City of Edinburgh Council initiative but urge that the boundary between the two proposed zones should be drawn more widely to encourage more private and commercial vehicles to upgrade their engines more quickly in the interests of public health and sustainable economic growth.
“Ultimately, this can only be achieved through cleaner engines and reduced traffic volumes and we urge the City of Edinburgh Council to use an LEZ regime to progress these as quickly as possible and to deliver benefits for the city’s permanent residents.”
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “Our low emission zone proposals are ambitious in nature, and are designed to tackle the worst concentrations of air pollution in the densely populated city centre. On a wider scale, the city wide boundary will deal with the impact of those vehicles that tend to make multiple trips and are responsible for the highest levels of emissions.
“These proposals have been developed following a great deal of analysis and modelling in close partnership with SEPA and Transport Scotland and are crucial to addressing poor air quality in Edinburgh and the risk it poses to human health. Our approach is in close alignment with a range of projects designed to improve active travel facilities and public transport access, including the city centre transformation and the city mobility plan. It is part of our wider commitment, across many different policies, to create a shift amongst the public, away from car use towards healthier and more sustainable choices of travelling by foot, bike or by public transport.
“Our recent consultation on LEZ in Edinburgh received a fantastic response, and the findings and our response to this, together with ongoing analysis, will be provided as an update on the LEZ’s development to the transport and environment Committee next month.”