In 2022, Scotland is introducing Low Emission Zones to improve air quality across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This will be in addition to the existing bus only LEZ in Glasgow established in 2018.
Their introduction will help protect the health of the public by improving air quality and addressing pollution hotspots, which are principally caused by road traffic. Low Emission Zones will also contribute to Scotland’s carbon reduction targets, by realising the co-benefits of encouraging use of cleaner vehicles, greater use of public transport and more active travel such as walking, cycling and wheeling.
Low Emission Zones set minimum emission standards all vehicles must meet to be able to access each zone. The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provides the legislation to create and enforce Low Emission Zones. The national standards for Low Emission Zones have now been confirmed within regulations.
The confirmed minimum emission 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*)
*These dates are only indicative - please check with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer to confirm.
At the moment, Glasgow is a bus only LEZ. When Phase 2 of Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone is enforced from June 2023, it will apply to all vehicles driving into the city centre.
Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh are set to introduce LEZs in 2022, in line with the Scottish Government’s current timetable, with proposed enforcement beginning in mid-2024.
Electric and ultra-low emission vehicles
Full electric and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) can be driven into Scotland’s Low Emission Zones.
ULEVs in particular have been rising in popularity. There are now more than 12,000 in Scotland, with demand outpacing the rest of the UK since 2017.
This demand has been stimulated by support from the Scottish Government which has provided over £85 million to help people make the switch to ultra-low emission and electric vehicles through its Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme. The loan is now being expanded to help people who may otherwise be put off by the high purchase price of electric vehicles. Read more on the Low Carbon Transport Loan Scheme here.
Delivered through Energy Saving Trust it will enable people and businesses to benefit from cheaper running costs compared with petrol and diesel vehicles whilst supporting our world leading net-zero target and air quality objectives.
Investment has also led to Scotland having one of the most comprehensive charge point networks in Europe and it’s growing all the time. Find out more about the ChargePlace Scotland and its charging locations here.
Embracing active travel is a great way to avoid having to drive into a Low Emission Zone.
Leaving your car at home and choosing to walk, wheel or cycle instead is a simple way to keep fit, improve your wellbeing and help Scotland reduce its air pollution levels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
If you live close to a Low Emission Zone in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh or Glasgow why not choose public transport or active travel for your journey? You could consider walking, wheeling or cycling to places close by, or to a bus stop or railway station if your journey is a bit longer.
Choosing active travel is not only a great way for you to stay active and keep fit, but will also help you to save money, improve your health and wellbeing, all while helping to reduce air pollution levels.
How fit you get is entirely up to you! Regular walking, wheeling and cycling can help you increase your fitness levels while using an e-bike lets you decide how hard you want to work. If you have lots to carry about town you could consider getting an e-cargo bike. Interest-free loans are on offer from the Scottish Government. Find out more about support available through the Energy Saving Trust.
Click on these links for the Energy Saving Trust e-bike loan and the Energy Saving Trust e-bike grant fund for local authorities, public sector agencies, further and higher education institutions, active travel hubs and community groups.
If you are an employer seeking to promote sustainable travel in your workplace, visit waytoworkscot.org/
Further information on active travel and the funding opportunities available can be found on the Transport Scotland website:
All four cities setting up Low Emission Zones have comprehensive public transport systems which should make it easy for you to travel around without a car.
You can find out more about the public travel options by clicking on the links below:
If it’s necessary for you to drive into a Low Emission Zone, then why not car share with someone else and potentially help cut greenhouse gas emissions?
- Limit the number of people in the vehicle to as few as possible, ideally no more than two (applies to adults and children aged 12 and over)
- Use the biggest vehicle available for car sharing purposes
- Windows in the car should be opened as far as possible taking account of weather conditions to improve ventilation in the space
- Occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way
- Occupants should perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and again on leaving the vehicle
- Occupants should avoid eating in the vehicle
- Passengers in the vehicle should minimise any surfaces touched
- Keep the volume of any music/radio to a minimum to prevent the need to raise voices in the car
- The longer the journey, the higher the risk; keep journey times to the minimum feasible and do not linger in the vehicle before or after the journey itself
- Where non-household members are car-sharing, the car must be cleaned regularly (at least daily) and particular attention should be paid to high-risk touch points such as door handles, electronic buttons and seat belts. General purpose detergent is sufficient unless a symptomatic or confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in the vehicle in which case a disinfectant (e.g. chlorine-based product) should be used
Full details of the current advice for car sharing can be found here.