New Low Emission Zones launching today – Most petrol and diesel vehicles to be banned

PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’

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The Low Emission Zones in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow have been formally introduced to improve air quality. While charges are not yet being levied onto vehicles, older petrol and diesel vehicles will be charged to drive inside the zone.

If vehicles do not meet the emissions standards, drivers could face a £60 fine, which is halved to £30 if paid early.

Diesel cars and vans will need to meet the Euro 6 standard, which apply in other emissions based charging zones, which generally apply to vehicles registered after September 2015.

Petrol vehicles will also be affected, with drivers being required to adhere to Euro 4 standards, which usually applies to those registered after January 2006.

As with other emissions zones, like London’s ULEZ and Birmingham’s Clean Air Zones, some exemptions do apply.

Blue badge holders, emergency service vehicles, motorbikes and mopeds will be exempt from the charges.

In Glasgow, a LEZ has already been put in place in the city centre for buses and will be extended further for other vehicles from June 1, 2023.

Dundee will begin charging non-compliant vehicles from May 30, 2024.

Edinburgh and Aberdeen will begin enforcement of the restrictions one day later, on June 1, 2024.

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Local authorities will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to fine drivers who fail to adhere to the restrictions.

There has been debate over which method would be the best fit for the Low Emission Zones.

Some have argued that the LEZs don’t go far enough and need to cover a larger area, while others believe It will have negative consequences on the areas.

Scott Arthur, City of Edinburgh Council’s interim transport and environment convener, admitted it was “not perfect” in its current form.

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He went on to describe it as a “blunt tool that focuses on the age of vehicles rather than emissions”.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting service: “What we’ve got is a reasonable compromise and it will save lives, so it’s worth going forward with and it’ll be under continual review, particularly over the next two years.

“I think over time we’ll get something that meets Edinburgh’s needs.”

Experts say air pollution from the levels of congestion are causing new lung conditions like lung cancer and worsening existing conditions like asthma and COPD.

This is something which London Mayor Sadiq Khan has highlighted when unveiling his plan to expand the ULEZ to encompass most of Greater London in August 2023.

Some communities in Scotland have also expressed their concerns about the new LEZ schemes, fearing that it will displace traffic and emissions to roads that surround the city.

They worry that this could encourage people to drive further to avoid the charging zones.

It is hoped the new schemes will promote cleaner vehicles, public transport use and more active travel like walking and cycling.

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