The council is planning to introduce a Low Emission Zone in the city centre. It has been talking about it since 2018 and now a plan has been drawn up for approval by the Transport Committee at its next meeting. But the structure for the new city centre LEZ will not happen overnight.
If the committee gives it the go ahead next week, then there will be 12 weeks of public consultation and then the council will begin the statutory process, hoping to introduce the scheme next year.
When it is in place all vehicles will have to meet certain emissions standards before entering the zone. Those which do not will be charged with £60 penalty tickets (halving if paid in 30 days in the same way as a parking ticket).
But the council will introduce a two year grace period meaning that penalties will actually only be enforced from Spring 2024.
A public consultation was already conducted in 2019 when responses showed mixed views on the proposal as far as boundaries were concerned, although most were concerned about clean air.
Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “As we approach Clean Air Day, which aims to tackle air pollution and its harmful effects on our health and wellbeing, it’s fitting that we’re progressing our own plans to significantly improve air quality in the city.
“A great deal of analysis and monitoring has gone into the latest proposals for a Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh. This takes into account the urgent need to lower emissions for the good of our health, while remaining aware of the impact on local businesses, residents and on traffic patterns.
“We know from our consultation in 2019 that lowering air pollution matters to everyone, so I look forward to hearing from the public on the preferred option, if approved by committee.”
Cllr Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “We have committed to introducing a Low Emission Zone, both under the national drive to implement LEZs across the country but also through the City Mobility Plan, as part of our plans to deliver a more sustainable, environmentally friendly transport future in Edinburgh.
“We will continue to work closely with residents, businesses and stakeholders as we move a step closer to its introduction, ensuring everyone is well prepared for the changes.”
The various options open to Edinburgh were developed using a framework set up by SEPA and this has led to the city centre being the only area being proposed for LEZ restrictions rather than the wider city.