How Low Emission Zones work alongside COP26 in the fight against climate change
The UK is hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow between 31 October – 12 November 2021. The conference is bringing together delegates from all over the world to discuss the climate emergency on a global level and how we can work together to combat the crisis. Taking actions to help the planet has never been more vital and a more prominent concern than it is right now.
With Glasgow as host city, the spotlight is on Scotland to highlight what is being done here to tackle the climate emergency and raise awareness of the changes people can make to help combat climate change.
There are so many fantastic projects already going on across Scotland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially from a transport perspective. The use of hydrogen and electricity to power vehicles is becoming more and more popular, with fleets of hydrogen and electric buses, refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), a soon to be introduced hydrogen train, and many more examples already in use and in the pipeline. These alternative fuel sources are essential to reducing our emissions and helping us breathe cleaner air, particularly in busy cities.
Emissions from vehicles powered by fossil fuels are harmful to both the environment and human health, particularly emissions from older models. These vehicles include older petrol cars registered before 2006 and diesel cars registered before September 2015. Introducing measures to combat harmful emissions is a Scottish Government priority. Plans to introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in four Scottish cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – which are expected to be introduced in May 2022, will play an important role in this.
Low Emission Zones aim to discourage the use of older, more-polluting vehicles and encourage people to look into more sustainable vehicles such as electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and electric bikes, or simply a newer model of car that will be much better for the environment. Have a look at our vehicle checker to see if your vehicle is suitable in a Low Emission Zone.
Additionally, the Scottish Government is committed to phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, so increasingly people will need to consider electric vehicles. There are various funding options available to help cover the cost of an electric vehicle and make it more affordable.
It is also hoped that LEZs will encourage more people to consider active and sustainable transport, particularly for shorter journeys. Choosing to walk, wheel and cycle comes with the added benefits of being great for boosting physical health and mental wellbeing, whilst also protecting our climate and air quality.
There are various funding schemes available to help individuals and organisations prepare for the introduction of Low Emission Zones and make the switch to active travel and sustainable transport. These include:
- The Low Emission Zone Support Fund
- The Access Bikes scheme which provides interest free loans to allow Scots to buy a bike
- Up to £6000 towards the purchase of an eBike
- Up to £28,000 towards the purchase of a new pure electric vehicle
- Up to £10,000 to cover the cost of purchasing a new electric motorcycle or scooter
It will take everyone playing their part and working together to tackle the climate emergency. We must all act now. It is hoped that the introduction of Low Emission Zones will encourage people to make changes to their travel choices that will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Starting with small steps can make a real difference. And what better time than when COP26 is right on our doorstep.