Developing low emission zones in Scotland
Legislation, policies and stakeholder engagement will help ensure the development and implementation of low emission zones in Scotland is evidence based, robust and will deliver air quality improvements and wider benefits.
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019
The Transport Scotland Act 2019 provides the legislation to enable the creation and civil enforcement of low emission zones. The Scottish Government is now developing regulations, due to be published later in 2020, for consistent national standards across a number of key aspects including emissions, penalties, certain exemptions and parameters for grace periods. Local authorities will then have the powers to create, enforce, operate or revoke a low emission zone in their areas and to design the shape, size and vehicle scope of their low emission zone based on their specific, local requirements.
Cleaner Air for Scotland (CAFS) Strategy
Scotland’s first distinct air quality strategy sets out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to further reduce air pollution to protect public health and fulfil Scotland’s legal responsibilities as soon as possible. The strategy aims to achieve the ambitious vision for Scotland "to have the best air quality in Europe". This includes commitment to a nationally consistent approach to the appraisal, design and implementation of low emission zones through the application of a National Low Emission Framework (NLEF), in conjunction with a National Modelling Framework (NMF).
This is currently under review with a new version to be published this year.
National Modelling Framework (NMF)
Detailed air quality modelling by SEPA and extensive traffic data collection is being undertaken in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee to support air quality modelling for low emission zones. The NMF will support low emission zones through a standardised two-tier approach to modelling air quality (at city and region level), and by providing evidence to support action and development of the NLEF.
National Low Emissions Framework (NLEF)
The NLEF was finalised in line with the findings of the Building Scotland’s low emission zone consultation and the experience of putting in place the first low emission zone in Glasgow. The NLEF will help local authorities to consider a range of air quality improvement options related to transport.
CAFS Governance Group (Scottish Government)
Supports implementation of the CAFS (Cleaner Air for Scotland) strategy with actions managed by sub-groups covering communication, place-making, transport, health and climate change.
Four Cities Low Emission Zones Leadership Group
Convened to support the delivery of low emission zones, this group is co-chaired by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. Meetings are held each quarter.
Low Emission Zone Consistency Group
Supports the development of a nationally consistent approach to the implementation of low emission zones in Scotland, bringing together officials from local authorities and key public bodies to collectively consider issues relating to their design and delivery.
Low Emission Zone Delivery Groups
A low emission delivery group has been convened for each city made up of those who have a role in delivery at individual city level. This includes transport planning, traffic engineering, air quality, planning and legal and finance specialists, Transport Scotland, SEPA and other relevant local organisations.
The delivery groups oversee the design, development and implementation of all phases of the low emission zone for each city.
National Transport Strategy (NTS)
The National Transport Strategy (NTS2) sets out an ambitious and compelling vision for Scotland’s transport system for the next 20 years.
A collaborative approach has been taken to the development of the document, with more than 60 organisations and 6500 people making a contribution. There were 1200 responses to the consultation.
The Strategy sets out the actions that have to be taken to meet The Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change targets. It acknowledges that there needs to be a range of activity, including technological change to ultra-low emission vehicles, altering people’s travel behaviour through improved use of public and active travel modes, as well as a reduction in the demand for unsustainable transport.
The strategy redefines investment priorities, putting sustainable and public transport at the heart of decision-making.