Frequently asked questions


How does a low emission zone work?

Low emission zones are a type of Vehicle Access Regulation Scheme that set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality and so protect public health within our towns and cities, making them more attractive places in which to live, work and visit.


How will low emission zones be introduced?

Local authorities will be responsible for designing and implementing low emission zones in their own areas based on local circumstances. The Act gives local authorities the powers to create, enforce, operate or revoke a low emission zone in their area and to design the shape, size and vehicle scope of individual low emission zones.


When will low emission zones come into effect?

Implementation of low emission zones has been paused due to COVID-19 and plans for the design and implementation of low emission zones in Scotland is being reviewed in tandem with the COVID-19 recovery plans. Each city committed to introducing LEZs is at a different stage of development with Glasgow’s first phase of its LEZ starting in 2018.


What about the climate, this isn’t about CO2 then?

It’s important we tackle CO2 and respond to the climate emergency. We would always encourage walking, cycling, public transport and electric vehicles over traditional petrol or diesel cars, however, for the oldest and youngest in our society, and especially those with existing health conditions, we need to take urgent action to protect public health by improving air quality in our towns and cities.


How can I make my views known regarding low emission zones?

Local authorities will undertake a consultation on each individual town or city-specific low emission zone as part of the implementation process.


Will low emission zones reduce congestion?

Low emission zones are designed to protect public health by improving air quality through limiting the use of the most polluting vehicles within the zone. The introduction of low emission zones will encourage people to consider how they travel in the affected cities with the potential for more people to choose public transport or active travel.


How will low emission zones' effectiveness be measured?

The Scottish Government proposal is to utilise the existing network of air quality sensors and diffusion tubes, in tandem with the National Modelling Framework (NMF) model data points, to evaluate the effectiveness of low emission zones.


How are Local Authorities able to set up a low emission zone in advance of the regulations being finalised following the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019?

Glasgow’s low emission zone phase 1 for buses has been established using a Traffic Regulation Conditions (TRC) placed on bus operators by Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner.

Other Local Authorities will have the same option.