Edinburgh Low Emission Zone: roll-out of signs across the capital 6 months ahead of LEZ launch next summer
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Road signs marking out the boundary of Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone has begun ahead of its launch in June 2024.
The strategy will penalise the most polluting vehicles entering the city centre with a £60 penalty charge that rises to £480 if an offending driver enters the zone four times within a 90-day period.
The roll-out of signs forms part of the two-year grace period following the introduction of the 1.2 square mile city centre LEZ that was introduced in Edinburgh on 31 May 2022. All non-compliant vehicles will be identified using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras then checked with DVLA data to check if the vehicle meets the LEZ emission standards.
Today, transport and environment convener Scott Arthur met with contractors installing the warning signs near the Meadows in Edinburgh’s south side, six months before the LEZ goes live next year. Councillor Arthur said: “While enforcement against non-compliant vehicles won’t begin until 1 June 2024, these signs are a reminder that the changes will soon come into force.
“By allowing a two-year grace period we wanted to give people plenty of time to prepare for the LEZ. However, with six months to go there’s still time, and I’d urge anyone who’s eligible to apply for the support finds on offer.”
Cllr Arthur added: “Essentially, reducing the most polluting vehicles from the city will benefit everyone. Air pollution harms both our physical and mental health, so the LEZ we will help create a healthier place for everyone, reducing inequalities and making the city centre a more welcoming place.”
The LEZ, which stretches from Queen Street to Melville Drive and from Palmerston Place to Abbeyhill, was approved in 2022 but councillors agreed a two-year grace period before enforcement begins. In early 2024 there will be changes made to some street layouts and signals around the LEZ boundary to cut congestion and improve safety. Full details of the changes can be found on the council website. ANPR are expected to be installed in the coming months and a mobile enforcement vehicle will be active from June 2024 onwards.
Independent market research carried out in June indicated that a majority of drivers in Edinburgh continue to support the LEZ and data analysed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) revealed that overall compliance with Edinburgh’s LEZ emissions standards had increased from 48 per cent to 78 per cent over the last six years.
Dona Milne, director of Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: “Reducing air pollution has clear long and short-term health benefits for everyone. Our hope is that improved air quality will also encourage people to take advantage of more sustainable and active ways of travel, such as walking, cycling and public transport, which is beneficial for individuals and communities alike.”
LEZ restrictions will apply to all motor vehicles that do not meet the minimum emissions standards but exemptions are in place for blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.