There are four new Low Emission Zones which will begin today in Scotland, including the one in Edinburgh City Centre.
Enforcement provisions do not come into effect for two years, so no drivers will receive any fines until 1 June 2024, but the next two years should be seen as a time to plan, not just a time to evade fines for driving older vehicles.
Cllr Scott Arthur the Transport Convener said: “This is the start of a two year transition to reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles coming into the city centre, improving air quality for everyone here – both within the centre of the city and beyond.
“I hope people plan for the future and think about the sustainability of their travel into the city.”
On display today were alternative means of transport such as an e-cargobike, an e-bike and an electric bus which carries Transport Scotland’s advertising.
Vehicles must meet the emission standards to drive into the LEZ unless exempt.
Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth said: “I think the launch of the low emission zone is really important for Edinburgh, but for cities across the country too. Four cities are taking part and it will mean cleaner air in our cities. We know pollution’s a real challenge in our city centres.I think this is the start of the process though ultimately it is for local authorities like Edinburgh City Council to take this policy forward in their own local area.”
The minimum criteria for vehicles which comply are set out on Transport Scotland’s online vehicle checker. In general any vehicle registered before 31 December 2005 may not comply. The current standards are:
- Euro 4 for petrol cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from 2006)
- Euro 6 for diesel cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from September 2015)
- Euro VI for buses, coaches and HGVs (generally vehicles registered from January 2013).
The zone will cover an area from Queen Street south to The Meadows and will operate 24/7. There will be Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras (ANPR) which will record the vehicles travelling in and out of the zone and will monitor compliance. Penalty charges will start at £60 but reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
There is financial support for those individuals and businesses who find it difficult to adapt and who still need to use a non-compliant vehicle.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) air modelling specialists led on the delivery of the national modelling framework for the LEZs across four cities announced today by Transport Scotland.
Dr Colin Gillespie, SEPA’s Air Modelling Unit Manager, said: “We welcome today’s milestone which is significant for Scotland and built on science led by SEPA’s air modelling work as part of a partner led approach.
“Air pollution is one of the most important environmental health risks of our time, so the introduction of LEZs will aim to accelerate air quality improvements in the most polluted areas of our cities. SEPA is proud to play an important part in this collaborative work.”