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Glasgow City Council

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - Q and A

Overview

Low Emission Zones set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality and protect public health. 

A penalty charge will be payable by the vehicle's registered keeper if a vehicle enters a LEZ and does not not meet the emission requirements.

From 1 June 2023, Glasgow's LEZ will apply to all vehicles driving into the city centre zone.  Please note however that:

  • motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles are not affected by LEZ schemes in Scotland
  • some categories of vehicle are exempt, such as vehicles for disabled persons - this includes blue badge holders

pdf icon Glasgow's LEZ - Information Booklet [2Mb]

Why is Glasgow introducing a Low Emission Zone?

Harmful nitrogen dioxide is being recorded in our city centre at levels that do not meet statutory objectives.  

As the main source of this air pollutant is from road traffic, Glasgow's LEZ is an essential measure to improve air quality and protect public health.

Proposals to introduce Scotland's first LEZ in Glasgow by the end of December 2018 were approved by the council's City Administration Committee in September 2017. It was agreed that initially, the LEZ would apply to local service buses only.  In June 2018, the same committee granted approval to extend the LEZ to all vehicle types.

What are the Benefits of a Low Emission Zone?

LEZs help to protect public health by improving air quality, as well as delivering various health, environmental and economic benefits.

Health:

  • Cleaner air can have health benefits for everyone - especially for old and very young people and for those with existing heart and lung conditions.
  • In 2010, the UK Government's Department of Health's Expert Advisory Committee, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), estimated that poor air quality shortens average life expectancy in Scotland by three to four months (compared to six to seven in England and Wales). Vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected (Health Protection Scotland, 2014).

Further information can be found here

Environment:

LEZ schemes can:

  • help reduce pollution from vehicle emissions
  • help to accelerate the uptake of lower emission vehicles which offer a wider geographical air quality benefit
  • encourage people to move away from private car use and to consider travelling actively

Economic:

  • Low Emission Zones can help improve air quality and protect public health within towns and cities making them more attractive places to live, work and to visit.

When does Glasgow's Low Emission Zone start?

Glasgow's city centre Low Emission Zone is being phased in to give everyone the chance to prepare:

  • Phase 1 was introduced in December 2018, and applies to local service buses only
  • Phase 2 will apply to all vehicles (unless exempt) and will be enforced from 1 June 2023

Our Phase 2 scheme design proposes that zone residents will be granted an additional year to comply with the required vehicle emission requirements. This means that enforcement would not start until 1 June 2024. The vehicle must be registered to a residential address within the LEZ zone area to qualify for this grace period.

Where is Glasgow's Low Emission Zone?

Phase 1 of Glasgow's city centre LEZ covers an area bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east.  Details can be found below and also here using the interactive map.

pdf icon Glasgow LEZ - Phase 1 boundary map [3Mb]

The proposed boundary for LEZ Phase 2 is broadly similar:

Glasgow LEZ - Phase 2 boundary map [4Mb]

Glasgow LEZ - Phase 2 zone area (by road name) [166kb]

LEZ Phase 2 map

What are the permitted vehicle emission standards?

Emission standards for LEZs in Scotland have been set nationally - these are:

Euro 4 for petrol vehicles
Euro 6 for diesel vehicles
Euro IV for heavy duty petrol vehicles such as buses/coaches and HGVs
Euro VI  for heavy duty diesel vehicles such as buses/coaches and HGVs

Vehicles which have been appropriately modified or retrofitted to meet or exceed these emission standards will also be permitted entry to LEZs in Scotland.

For practical purposes, it is generally the case that diesel engine vehicles registered after September 2015, and petrol vehicles registered from 2006 onwards will meet the required LEZ standards.

Find out more about determining the Euro standard of a vehicle and whether it is likely to comply with the proposed LEZ emission standards here.

Are any vehicles unaffected/exempt?

Motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles are unaffected by LEZ schemes in Scotland.

Certain vehicle types are also exempt from LEZ emission requirements in Scotland - these are: 

Vehicles for Disabled Persons:

  • the vehicle is being driven by any person who is in receipt of a badge (a blue badge) that has been issued under section 21(2) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970,
  • a passenger in the vehicle has been issued with a badge under that section of that Act, or
  • a badge for the vehicle has been issued under section 21(4) of that Act,
  • a reduction in annual rate of vehicle excise duty applies because the vehicle is being used by a disabled person in receipt of personal independence payment at the standard rate, or
  • Vehicles registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class e.g. the vehicle is exempt from payment of vehicle excise duty under paragraph 19(1) or 20(1) of schedule 2 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (exemptions from excise duty for vehicles used by disabled persons).

Blue badges are assigned to a person, not a vehicle, so a blue badge holder could travel in any vehicle and the rules of the blue badge would need to be applied to that vehicle on that day of travel. We are working with Transport Scotland on the matter of how exemptions for blue badge holders will operate in practice.  Once all details are finalised, these will be publicised well in advance of the LEZ  enforcement.

Emergency Vehicles:

The vehicle is being driven by any person who is:

  • undertaking their duty as a constable
  • providing a response to an emergency at the request of the Scottish Ambulance Service Board
  • exercising the functions of the Scottish Ambulance Service Board, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Her Majesty's Coastguard or the National Crime Agency

Naval, Military or Air Force Vehicles:

  • vehicles being used for naval, military or air force purposes

Historic Vehicles:

  • the vehicle was manufactured, or registered under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, for the first time at least 30 years ago
  • the vehicle is no longer in production, and
  • the vehicle has been historically preserved or maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components.

Showmans Vehicles:

Vehicles described as either "showman's goods vehicle" or "showman's vehicle" according to section 62(1) of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. Note: these are highly specialised vehicles used for the purposes of travelling showmen, where the vehicle is used during the performance, used for the purpose of providing the performance or used for carrying performance equipment

 

Time-Limited (Temporary) Local Exemptions

The council can issue 'time-limited' (temporary) exemptions to Glasgow's LEZ in respect of specific vehicle types/categories.

It is proposed that Glasgow's LEZ does not include such general exemptions however a mechanism will be put in place whereby exemptions may be granted in advance of entry for exceptional circumstances. This may be granted for one-off entry by specialist vehicles for example, or for a specialist purpose.

Temporary exemptions will not be considered for general travel or commercial operations

I live within the LEZ boundary - do I have extra time to prepare?

Our Phase 2 scheme design proposes that zone residents will be granted an additional year to comply with the required vehicle emission requirements. This means that enforcement would not start until 1 June 2024. The vehicle must be registered to an address within the LEZ zone area to qualify for this grace period.

A letter to raise early awareness of this grace period was issued directly to zone residents in August 2021:

pdf icon Letter issued to LEZ zone area residents - August 2021 [232kb]

How will the LEZ operate/be enforced?

LEZs in Scotland will operate continuously - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used (linked to a national vehicle licencing database) to monitor vehicles driving in our Low Emission Zone. They will detect vehicles which do not comply with the required emission standards.

Please note that the council may temporarily suspend the operation of Glasgow's LEZ for a specified period where it is considered appropriate to do so for the purposes of a significant national or local event. A temporary suspension may also be issued in relation to a temporary diversion into the LEZ, where vehicles follow the signed diversionary route.

How will I know I'm driving into the LEZ area?

Roadside signage will be installed to let drivers know when they are entering Glasgow's Low Emission Zone. Positioning of signs will take account of the need for those who do not wish to enter the zone to take an alternative route.

To raise early awareness, indicative LEZ signage has been in position at several key entry points into Glasgow city centre since 2018.

What are the penalties?

Set at national level by the Scottish Government for consistency, the initial penalty charge for all non-compliant vehicles entering a Low Emission Zone in Scotland will be £60 - reduced by 50% if it is paid within 14 days.

A surcharge is also proposed whereby 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 buses and HGVs.

Where there are no further breaches of the rules detected within the 90 days following a previous violation, the surcharge rate is reset to the base tier of charge i.e. £60.

Legislation states that penalties will be used to support the air quality objectives of the Low Emission Zones.

What about consultation?

Initial Consultation (March 2020):

To feed into scheme design of LEZ Phase 2, the council ran its first consultation last year, with responses invited on details including boundary options and grace periods. The findings were independently reviewed and summarised:

Statutory Consultation (September 2021):

A statutory public consultation on the proposed final scheme design for LEZ Phase 2 closed at the beginning of September 2021.  All responses received will be independently reviewed and summarised, with a report to be published shortly.  

Looking further forward, we expect to publish the final scheme design by November 2021. This will incorporate any changes arising from the consultation and/or additional air quality modelling. Subject to committee approval of the final Phase 2  scheme design in early 2022, Glasgow's scheme will be submitted to Scottish Ministers for approval.  

Is there any funding support available?

The Scottish Government committed, through the 2018 Programme for Government, to help those who will have most difficulty preparing for the introduction of Low Emission Zones in the four cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Full details of grant funding availability can be found on the Low Emision Zones Scotland website

What else are you doing to reduce air pollution?

To complement the introduction of Glasgow's own LEZ, a wide range of work is underway in our city to improve air quality. This would include encouraging higher levels of active and sustainable travel, driving up standards in public transport and reducing reliance on private vehicles. 

In respect of our own fleet, a new strategy has set out proposals that all of the council's 2,000 vehicles should by emissions free by the end of 2029. It is intended that only electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, across all sizes and classifications, will be used to deliver crucial city services by 2030. 

Meantime, all council vehicles will meet the emission standards required by the LEZ.

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