About Low Emission Zones
What is a Low Emission Zone?
A Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is an area which sets an environmental limit on certain city roads, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality. This helps protect public health within cities, making them more attractive places in which to live, work and to visit. Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards set for a LEZ may be subject to a penalty charge notice.
LEZs were introduced across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow on 31 May 2022.
Local grace periods now apply until enforcement begins.
- In Glasgow, the LEZ has applied to buses since 2018. For other vehicle types, enforcement began on 1 June 2023 (enforcement begins on 1 June 2024 for residents within the zone)
- Dundee will start enforcement on 30 May 2024
- Aberdeen will start enforcement on 1 June 2024
- Edinburgh will start enforcement on 1 June 2024.
The geographic extent, scope, timescales for implementation of Scotland’s LEZs were determined by each local authority.
Why do we need Low Emission Zones?
Air pollution in Scotland has reduced over recent years, however air quality remains an issue in a number of hotspots in Scotland’s towns and cities. Some areas do not comply with European and domestic air quality legislation, predominantly due to road transport.
Poor air quality has a negative impact on all of our health, but we know that the very young, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable.
LEZs set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality. LEZs will help to protect public health and support Scotland in successfully meeting air quality legal limits.
What are the benefits of Low Emission Zones?
LEZs will help to protect public health by improving air quality, as well as delivering various health, environmental and economic benefits, including:
- cleaner air can have health benefits for everyone, especially for old and very young people and for those with existing heart and lung conditions.
- in 2010, the UK Government’s Department of Health’s Expert Advisory Committee, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), estimated that poor air quality shortens average life expectancy in Scotland by three to four months (compared to six to seven in England and Wales). Vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected (Health Protection Scotland, 2014).
Further information can be found at: Air quality and health | Scotland's environment web
- can help reduce pollution from vehicle emissions.
- help to accelerate the uptake of lower emission vehicles – and cleaner vehicles. Also benefit all areas the vehicles travel through – not just the LEZ.
- encourage people to consider using more public transport and active travel methods instead of driving.
- can help improve air quality and protect public health within towns and cities. This makes them more attractive places to live, work and to visit.