Edinburgh Low Emission Zone: What the incoming changes will mean for you

Controversial plans to restrict traffic in the centre of the Capital in a bid to cut air pollution are expected to be approved by councillors next week.
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Here is what Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone will mean for you.

Under the LEZ, vehicles that fail to meet strict emission standards face a 24/7 ban from a 1.2 square mile area of the city centre, stretching from Queen Street to Melville Drive on the other side of the Meadows and from Palmerston Place to Abbeyhill – but not including these streets.

The Low Emission Zone is intended to improve air quality in the Capital.The Low Emission Zone is intended to improve air quality in the Capital.
The Low Emission Zone is intended to improve air quality in the Capital.
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The ban will affect diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars registered before January 2006 - an estimated 20,000 vehicles in and around the Capital - as well as HGVs and buses that do not meet the Euro VI emission requirements.

Automatic number plate recognition cameras will be used to check vehicles inside the zone are entitled to be there.

The ban will be introduced in May this year, but a two-year grace period means there will be no enforcement until June 2024.

Motorcycles and mopeds are not included in the ban. And there are nationally-set exemptions for emergency vehicles, blue badge holders and historic vehicles.

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Fines for vehicles that enter the zone when they do not meet the standard are set at £60, though halved if paid within 30 days. But if they do it again within a 90-day period the penalty roughly doubles each time - up to a maximum of £480 for cars and light commercial vehicles and £960 for heavy duty vehicles.

Once the council has approved the LEZ proposals, there will be a 28-day period when formal objections can be lodged. The council must then consider these and decide whether to revise the plans. It could also decide an “examination” (inquiry) should be held. The final scheme is then submitted to the Scottish Government for approval and ministers also have the option of ordering an examination, which may or may not involve public hearings. Any inquiry would mean a delay to the scheme.

To meet concerns about the impact of the zone on streets close to the boundary, where traffic might be expected to increase, the council has promised a “Network Management Strategy” to identify specific measures that could help, such as junction reconfigurations, optimising traffic signals and improving signage.

Financial support is available for people whose vehicles do not comply with the emission standards, if they are on specific means-tested benefits and live within a 20km radius of the LEZ. These include a £2,000 grant towards disposal of the vehicle and up to £1,000 per household in Travel Better vouchers to pay for bus passes, train season tickets, new or used bikes or car club membership.

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Edinburgh council unveils final plans for Low Emission Zone

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