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Glasgow City Council

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - Q and A

UPDATE: On 7 May 2020 the national LEZ Leadership Group announced a temporary pause in plans to implement Low Emission Zones in Scotland in response to COVID-19. Plans were formally resumed on 6 August 2020 and a new indicative timescale presented for LEZs in Scotland that aims to see their introduction between February and May of 2022.

Due to the unprecedented, ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the new timetable is not finalised however it does represent a clear commitment by all partners to work as quickly as possible to introduce LEZs at the earliest possible time.

For Glasgow, the revised national timetable means that it will not be possible for Phase 2 of our LEZ to apply to all vehicles by 31 December 2022 as originally planned. This is because LEZs in Scotland can only be enforced after a compulsory grace period of at least one year after its introduction. Instead, Phase 2 will be moved out to 2023, with a more detailed, revised timetable for enforcement to be published as soon as possible.

What is a Low Emission Zone?

A Low Emission Zone is an area where a person may not drive a vehicle which does not meet a specified emission standard.

LEZs are intended to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality in areas where standards are not being met.

LEZs are based on a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles.

Why is Glasgow introducing a Low Emission Zone?

Air pollution impacts negatively on human health; particularly so for the very young, the elderly and those with existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

In Glasgow city centre, levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are being recorded at levels which do not meet statutory expectations. The main source of this air pollutant within the city is from road traffic.

When does the Low Emission Zone come into effect?

Glasgow's LEZ will be introduced on a phased basis:

  • Phase 1 will be enforced from 31 December 2018 and will apply to local service buses only.
  • Phase 2 which will apply to all vehicles, was expected to commence on 31 December 2022 however given the new indicative timescales for LEZs in Scotland arising from the national COVID-19 response, this phase will be moved out to 2023 - with a more detailed timetable for enforcement to be published as soon as possible.

Where is Glasgow's Low Emission Zone?

Details of the area covered by LEZ Phase 1 (which applies to local service buses only) can be found here.

Buchanan Bus Station and specific access roads to it are presently exempt from the LEZ. This is to allow low frequency services operated by non-compliant vehicles to continue to serve the city.

The exact area of LEZ Phase 2 will be determined following consultation, detailed transport modelling and to allow for the re-routing of vehicles wishing to avoid entering the zone.  It is generally expected to be however, the area known as the city centre which is that bounded by the M8, River Clyde and High Street/Saltmarket.

What are the LEZ signs around the city centre boundary for?

Indicative signage that will raise awareness of the LEZ boundary has been installed at key city centre locations. See here for further details.

What are the permitted vehicle emission standards for the LEZ?

Glasgow's Low Emission Zone will apply to ALL vehicles except motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles. The proposed emission standards are:

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

Are any vehicles exempt?

The Scottish Government proposes that certain vehicle categories may be exempt from LEZs in Scotland. Details will follow once the LEZ legislation is developed.

In addition to LEZ exemptions set nationally, the council may also have the power to issue 'time-limited' (temporary) exemptions in respect of specific vehicle types/categories. This could mean an exemption period of up to one year which would then require renewal if the exemption were to be continued.

What times will the LEZ be operational?

The hours of operation are to be determined.

How will the LEZ be enforced?

Glasgow's LEZ will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

What happens if my vehicle does not meet the required emission standards and I drive into the LEZ?

Glasgow's LEZ is based on a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles. The penalty charge sum is yet to be determined by the Scottish Ministers.

Are you consulting on Glasgow's LEZ?

The council designed and ran an online consultation from 17th February to 29th March 2020 regarding Glasgow's proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Comment was invited on specifics including proposed boundary options, emission standards, vehicle types, grace periods and any unintended consequences.

Scott Porter Research independently reviewed and summarised the findings from the online respondents and also included qualitative findings from a stakeholder workshop hosted by the council on 10th March 2020.

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

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

The end of the online public conversation coincided with the COVID-19 crisis lockdown which affected some stakeholder groups' capacity to comment on behalf of members.

A further period of statutory public consultation on Glasgow's final LEZ scheme will be available in 2021 which will assist to accommodate these challenges and allow another opportunity for views to be expressed. Other stakeholders felt that a written submission more tailored towards their specific interests was appropriate. These will also be considered in the shaping of the final LEZ scheme.

All of the consultation responses will serve to inform the final LEZ scheme design.

What About Funding Assistance?

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.

Grants are available to support the cost of upgrading engines or exhausts on taxis, vans and HGVs in order to reduce emissions and protect public health.

A fund to provide support for households and private individuals affected by the introduction of low emission zones is also being developed by the Scottish Government and will be announced in the near future.

Full details of grant funding availability can be found here.

Why does the LEZ only cover the city centre?

The majority of Glasgow's air quality issues relate to the city centre so the greatest benefit to public health will be gained by enforcing a Low Emission Zone in this area first.

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

Are there not better ways for the council 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.

What is the council doing with its 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. The full report on the Fleet Strategy can be found on the Committee Information Pages of the council's website.

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


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