Only vehicles with cleanest engines to be allowed into new low emission zones in Scotland’s biggest cities – have your say
Council leaders have sought to reassure drivers that most will unaffected when low emission zones are introduced next year in Scottish cities as they launched consultations into the pollution-busting move.
Only vehicles with the cleanest and most up-to-date diesel and petrol engines will be allowed into the centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee from next spring to reduce harmful emissions.
This could affect up to one in five diesel cars in Edinburgh, which have older engines, and half of vans.
However, a two-year grace period will enable drivers to change their vehicles before £60 fines are introduced.
Edinburgh and Aberdeen city councils start public consultations into their schemes on Monday.
They follow Glasgow launching a consultation last week and Dundee two weeks ago.
All motor vehicles apart from mopeds, motorcycles and exempt vehicles such as blue badge holders and the emergency services will be covered by the LEZs.
Councillors in Edinburgh will use the results of their three-month consultation to finalise the scheme in the autumn.
The local authority said the move would significantly improve air quality, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from traffic by 55 per cent.
It said traffic surveys last year showed more than three-quarters of lorries were compliant.
Officials expect all Lothian’s buses – the city’s main operator – to meet standards by the end of this year, while 60 per cent of other buses are compliant.
They said funding was available to help drivers on lower incomes and small businesses switch to cleaner vehicles, such as from Home Energy Scotland and the Energy Saving Trust.
To use the LEZs, petrol cars and vans must have the latest “Euro 4” engines, introduced from around January 2006.
Diesel cars and vans must have the latest “Euro 6” engines, introduced from around September 2015.
Buses, coaches and lorries will have to have the latest “Euro VI” engines.
City of Edinburgh council transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes, said: “By introducing a LEZ in the city centre, we want to significantly reduce harmful pollutants in this densely-populated part of Edinburgh, and for areas outside the zone to enjoy the knock-on benefits of cleaner vehicles too.
"As well as improving standards in buses, coaches and commercial vehicles like vans and lorries, in general, cars are becoming more efficient, which means the majority of drivers wouldn’t need to make any adjustments to comply with the LEZ.”
Transport and environment vice-convener Karen Doran, said: “We want a LEZ to benefit all sections of society and we’ve worked hard to develop a scheme with minimum impact on surrounding neighbourhoods, maintaining national exemptions to allow access by car for all who need it.”
Aberdeen’s consultation will last two months.
The city council said by the time penalties were introduced in 2024, 86 per cent of cars, 70 per cent of vans, 93 per cent of lorries and all taxis were expected to be compliant.
In Dundee, whose consultation ends on August 9, community safety and public protection deputy convener Lynne Short said: “With one of the biggest proposed changes to the city in decades now on the horizon, it is important as many people as possible take part”.