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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. This helps protect public health within towns and cities, making them more attractive places to be.

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.

We are currently consulting on Phase 2 of Glasgow's LEZ - take part here.

Why is Glasgow introducing a Low Emission Zone?

In Glasgow city centre, levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are being recorded at levels which do not meet statutory expectations - predominantly caused by road transport.

Polluted air can affect everyone, especially the most vulnerable - the very young, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Low Emission Zones can help reduce pollution from vehicle emissions, tackling both poor air quality and climate change.

What are the Benefits of a Low Emission Zone?

Health:

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

  • LEZs can help reduce pollution from vehicle emissions.
  • Schemes help to accelerate the uptake of lower emission vehicles which offer a wider geographical air quality benefit.
  • Instead of driving, LEZs encourage people to consider using public transport and active travel methods (walk, wheel, cycle) for everyday journeys

Economy

  • A Low Emission Zone 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?

A phased approach to Glasgow's LEZ has been adopted to give people the chance to prepare.

  • Phase 1 has been in force since 31 December 2018 and applies to local service buses only.
  • Phase 2 (all vehicles, unless exempt) is dependent on legislation, the progress of which was temporarily impacted by COVID-19. This means that enforcement of this second phase is now expected to be from 1 June 2023, which is slightly later than originally anticipated.

Where is Glasgow's Low Emission Zone?

Details of the 'city centre' area covered by LEZ Phase 1 (which applies to local service buses only) can be found below and also here using the interactive map.

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

Since many buses which travel through the LEZ will also journey through other parts of the city, an improvement in emissions is also expected further afield, beyond the LEZ area.

A similar boundary is also proposed for LEZ Phase 2  - an area bounded by the M8, River Clyde and High Street/Saltmarket:

Glasgow LEZ - Phase 2 boundary map [4Mb]

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

 

LEZ Phase 2 map

I live in the LEZ zone - do I have extra time to comply?

Our LEZ scheme for Phase 2 proposes that those residing within the LEZ zone itself, will be granted a further year to comply with the emissions requirements, - with enforcement commencing from 1 June 2024.

The vehicle must be registered to an address within the LEZ boundary to qualify for this extended preparation period and to avoid a penalty charge(s) once Phase 2 is enforced.

What are the permitted vehicle emission standards?

Unless exempt, Glasgow's Low Emission Zone will apply to ALL vehicles - however motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles are not affected by LEZ schemes in Scotland.

The proposed emission standards (set nationally) are:

Euro 4 for petrol vehicles (generally vehicles registered from 2006 onwards)
Euro 6 for diesel vehicles (generally vehicles registered from September 2015 onwards)
Euro IV  for heavy duty petrol vehicles such as buses / coaches and HGVs (generally vehicles registered from 2006 onwards)
Euro VI  for heavy duty diesel vehicles such as buses / coaches and HGVs (generally vehicles registered from September 2015 onwards)

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

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 exempt?

Set at national level, LEZ Regulations exempt certain vehicle types from LEZ requirements:

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.

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

How will the LEZ operate/be enforced?

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

Glasgow City Council may temporarily suspend the operation of the LEZ scheme for a specified period where it is considered appropriate to do so for the purposes of a significant national orlocal event. A temporary suspension may also be issued in relation to a temporary diversion into the LEZ where vehicles follow the signed diversionary route.

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

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.

Are you consulting on Glasgow's LEZ?

We are currently consulting on the final LEZ proposed scheme design for Phase 2 - take part here.

Previous Consultation:

To feed into the final scheme design, the council ran its first LEZ consultation at the start of 2020 - with responses invited on details including boundary options and grace periods.

The findings were independently reviewed and summarised, including qualitative responses from a stakeholder workshop hosted by the council in March 2020.

word icon LEZ Public Consultation Report (April 2020) [2Mb]

pdf icon LEZ Public Consultation Report - Tables (April 2020) [1Mb]

Is there any funding support for businesses and individuals?

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 available can be found on the Low Emision Zones Scotland website

Will Glasgow's LEZ 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 also encourage people to consider how they travel, with the potential for more people to choose public transport or active travel instead of driving.

What else is the council 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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