Polluting vehicles to be banned from Glasgow city centre next year in low emission zone

Drivers will be banned from driving into the centre of Scotland’s largest city centre from next May unless their vehicles have the cleanest engines.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 4:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 7:01 pm
Glasgow's low emission zone will be extended from buses to all vehicles next year. Picture: John Devlin

The launch of the second phase of Glasgow’s low emission zone (LEZ) will be followed by enforcement from June 2023 after a year-long grace period.

It comes after the most polluting buses were progressively prohibited from the city centre buses from 2018 to cut harmful exhaust pollution such as nitrogen dioxide.

Glasgow was the first Scottish city to introduce an LEZ, which are also due to be established in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, but plans have been delayed by the Covid pandemic.

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Edinburgh City Council is expected to announce an update to its plans next week, which were due to be introduced in May next year.

Consultation on the latest phase of Glasgow’s scheme is expected to start this month.

It will see petrol vehicles registered before 2006 and diesel vehicles registered before September 2015 excluded from the LEZ.

Mopeds, motorcycles and certain other vehicles will be exempt.

The city council said reducing emissions in the LEZ would particularly benefit older and very young people, and those with heart and lung conditions.

The restrictions will operate 24 hours a day.

The council said the next phase of the LEZ was dependent on legislation, which had been paused by the pandemic.

A report to be considered by councillors stated: “It is proposed that the LEZ come into effect (subject to the approval of committee and Scottish ministers) on May 31 2022.”

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A council spokesperson said: “This means that enforcement of this second phase is now expected to be from June 1 2023, subject to the relevant approvals, which is slightly later than originally anticipated.”

However, a further year’s grace period is likely for residents until June 2024.

The council said: “The harmful effects of poor air quality have become a significant global concern.

"It is also part of a broader approach to enhancing the amenity and attractiveness of the city centre through cleaner air.

"The LEZ is intended to accelerate the pace of improvement in Glasgow’s air quality and in particular to ensure that air quality levels in the city centre cease to breach EU limits and Scottish objectives for nitrogen dioxide.

"The principal cause of emissions and resulting air pollution in the city is road traffic.

"On the streets with the highest level of pollution, buses (60-75 per cent) and other diesel engine vehicles are the main source of pollution.”

The council’s city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction Anna Richardson said: "The introduction of Glasgow's LEZ in 2018 shows our resolute determination to tackle air pollution in the city centre and beyond.

“To ease compliance, we are raising early awareness as well as supporting a wide range of projects and initiatives that encourage higher levels of active and more sustainable travel, and a reduced reliance on private vehicles.”

She said: "We hope to get feedback from as many people as possible when the consultation opens later this month.”

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