Edinburgh's Low Emission Zone: 26 objections and one note of support

Edinburgh’s plans for a Low Emission Zone covering a 1.2 square mile area of the city centre attracted 26 objections and one note of support.

By Ian Swanson
Friday, 25th March 2022, 7:29 pm

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But officials say none of the objections justify making changes to the scheme and councillors are being recommended to confirm their proposals next week and submit them to Scottish Ministers for consideration.

The council said most objections focused on the size of the zone and the location of the boundary, the impacts of traffic displacement and the potential financial challenges of complying.

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Other objections included concerns around exemptions, the effects on individuals and businesses and the evidence base for the scheme.

If it gets approval, the LEZ is due to be introduced this May – but with a two-year grace period before enforcement begins.

All motor vehicles, except motorcycles and mopeds, will have to meet a minimum emissions standard to enter the zone and those which fail to meet the standard will be banned.

There are certain exemptions, including for blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.

Map showing the boundary of the LEZ

The ban will affect an estimated 20,000 vehicles in and around the Capital – diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars registered before January 2006 – as well as heavy goods vehicles and buses that do not meet the Euro VI emission requirements.

Objections were submitted by the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils, West End Community Council, New Town Broughton Community Council, a joint submission from Corstorphine and Murrayfield Community Council, Preston Street Primary School Parent Council and Living Streets. In addition, three businesses and 17 individuals also sent in objections.

Many of those who questioned the size of the zone argued for a proposal which was included in an early version of the LEZ, which involved a second city-wide zone in addition to the city centre one. The city-wide zone would not apply to domestic vehicles but ban buses and HGVs which failed to meet the standard and would mean some of Scotland’s worst streets fro air quality, including St John’s Road in Corstorphine, were not left out of the LEZ.

Others argued the boundaries were poorly sited and traffic diverted along these streets would have a detrimental impact on the health, for example, of children at Preston Street Primary School or playing on the Meadows.

St John's Road in Corstorphine is not in the LEZ despite high pollution levels

Officials say they do not believe there will be an adverse impact and say there has been further engagement with Preston Street parent council about traffic calming measures outside the school in a bid to reassure them.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “Being able to breathe clean air is a right we all deserve, and by introducing a Low Emission Zone in the city centre we want to tackle air pollution in one of the most densely-populated parts of Edinburgh.

“Our officers have carried out a great deal of planning, modelling and analysis, in line with national frameworks, to develop our proposals. They have been able to draw on this evidence in response to objections received during the Statutory Notice Period. I’m confident that the proposed scheme will deliver significant benefits to quality of life in our city.”

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