How Low Emission Zones work

How Lezs Work

The Scottish Government is committed to introducing Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to improve air quality and to meet the requirement of both domestic and European air quality legislation. The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provides legislation to create and enforce the LEZs.

The Low Emission Zones (Emission Standards, Exemptions and Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 and, The Low Emission Zone (Scotland) Regulations 2021 both came into force on the 31 May 2021.

The local authorities for each city will use these regulations to design, introduce and operate LEZ specific to their own requirements.

It is confirmed that:

  • Low Emission Zone entry will be based on the Euro emission engine classification standards – the confirmed minimum criteria is:
      • 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*)
      • Mopeds and motorcycles are out with the scope of the current LEZ for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen

*These dates are only indicative - please check with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer to confirm.

When planning a vehicle journey to one of the four Scottish LEZs, please check your vehicle against the Scottish vehicle checker, available here.

  • Low Emission Zones operate continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round (including all Public Holidays such as Christmas Day and Boxing day).
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used, which are linked to local and national vehicle licencing databases, to monitor all vehicles driving in a Low Emission Zone. They will detect vehicles which do not comply with the minimum Euro emission standards.
  • The design, implementation and operation of Low Emission Zones will include grace periods for commercial fleet operators and private vehicle owners to give vehicle operators and owners time to prepare before the enforcement stage commences.
  • Low Emission Zones will be enforced using a penalty notice approach, to discourage non-compliant vehicles from driving into the zone. When a non-compliant vehicle is detected a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is issued on the registered keeper of that vehicle:
    • The initial penalty charge for all non-compliant vehicles is set at £60, reduced by 50% if it is paid within 14 days.
    • The penalty amount doubles with each subsequent breach of the rules detected in the same LEZ. The penalty charges are capped at £480 for cars and light goods vehicles and £960 for minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs.
    • Where there are no further breaches of the rules detected within the 90 days following a previous violation, the rate is reset to the base tier of charge i.e. £60.
  • Some categories of vehicles will be exempt from Low Emission Zone requirements. These include:
    • Vehicles for disabled persons (including Blue Badge holders)
    • Police, Fire, Ambulance and other emergency service vehicles
    • Military vehicles
    • Historic vehicles
    • Showman’s vehicles
    • Each year, local authorities will publish a report on the effectiveness of Low Emission Zones.

    Support for bus operators

    The Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) grant funding supports bus and coach operators with the financial costs associated with engine and exhaust retrofitting to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

    BEAR Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 provided £18.6 million funding to support the costs of retrofitting of 1143 buses and coaches to Euro VI standard in Scottish Air Quality Management Areas from 2018 to 2022.

    A further £5 million has been made available in BEAR Phase 5 for 2022/23 to licensed bus and coach operators, local authorities and community transport operators. Further details on this fund can be found here - Scottish Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit Fund | Transport Scotland

    The retrofitting technology helps reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions from older buses to help them to achieve the Euro VI emission standard. Installing the retrofit technology ensures the bus achieves the emission equivalent of a new, modern bus.

    On 1 April 2022, the Scottish Government launched the new Network Support Grant (NSG) to support bus services in 2022-23.

    The NSG replaces the Bus Service Operators’ Grant (BSOG), COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) and COVID-19 Support Grant - Restart (CSG-R). These schemes ended on 31 March 2022.

    For further information and to apply please visit

    Support for business/members of the public

    The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the move towards cleaner, low emission modes of transport. £5 million grant funding has been made available in 2022/23 in the LEZ Support Fund, following successful uptake of £3.85 million in 2021/22. Eligible households and micro-businesses within 20km of a LEZ can apply for funding to prepare for when LEZs are enforced in 2023 and 2024.

    Grants are available to support the cost of retrofitting engines or exhausts on taxis, vans and HGVs to Euro 6/VI standard in order to help protect public health and meet LEZ standards or incentivise the disposal of non-compliant vehicles.

    Find out more about the Support Fund for households

    Find out more about the Support Fund for micro-businesses

    Find out more about the Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund

    Various other grants and loans are additionally available via the Energy Saving Trust. A list of grants and funding is below: