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Glasgow City Council

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - Q and A

What is a Low Emission Zone?

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

LEZs are intended to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality in areas where standards are not being met. They are based on a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles.

Why does Glasgow need a Low Emission Zone?

Whilst much has been done to improve the quality of the air we breathe, for the oldest and youngest in our society and those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, air quality remains an issue.

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

Glasgow's LEZ is therefore an essential measure for improving air quality in the city centre.

How will a Low Emission Zone benefit Glasgow?

Glasgow's LEZ will help to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and other internal combustion sourced pollutants which will improve air quality and make Glasgow a safer, cleaner and more pleasant place to live, work and visit.

An added benefit is that as the majority of vehicles entering Glasgow's LEZ travel in from outside the zone, the positive effects of cleaner vehicles will be experienced across Glasgow and beyond.

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 will be enforced from 31 December 2022 and will apply to all other vehicles.

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 (which applies to all vehicles from 31 December 2022) will be determined following 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 LEZ will adopt the following emission standards:

  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy diesel engine vehicles

The emission standards for motorcycles and mopeds are still being considered.

The use of Euro standards is commonplace across European Low Emission Zones.

Does my vehicle comply with the LEZ emission standards?

Until the DVLA's online registration checker is available, vehicle age can be used as an approximate guide to determine the Euro emission standard of a vehicle.

  • The Euro 4 standard for petrol engines was introduced in January 2005, with any new vehicle sold after January 2006 having to meet this standard.
  • The Euro 6 standard for diesel engines was introduced in September 2014, with any new vehicle sold after September 2015 having to meet this standard.
  • The Euro VI standard for heavy diesel engines are generally those vehicles registered with the DVLA after 2014.

There are variables however, so if in any doubt, please check with your vehicle manufacturer and/or consult your log book.

To help you understand if your vehicle might be allowed entry to a low emission zone, Transport Scotland has prepared a basic online vehicle checker.

Are any vehicles exempt?

Permanent and/or time limited exemptions from the requirements of the LEZ are yet to be set by the Scottish Ministers.

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.

I live within the LEZ area and use a vehicle - what does this mean for me?

There will be engagement/consultation with interested parties and residents over the coming months. Grace periods will subsequently be established to allow residents within the LEZ extra time to comply with the emissions requirements.

What about the impacts on businesses within the LEZ?

Phase 1 of the LEZ is concerned with local service buses only. Other vehicles are not required to comply with the emission standards until the very end of 2022.

By advising local businesses about the LEZ in advance and committing to a period of consultation and engagement in the coming months, local businesses will have the opportunity to plan and prepare.

The LEZ is expected to enhance the comfort and attractiveness of the city centre, complementing projects such as The Avenues which will see £115 million of City Deal investment into streetscape improvements.

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?

The introduction of the LEZ is part of a range of measures to improve air quality. Many of these can be found in our Air Quality Action Plans.

What is the council doing with its own fleet?

All council vehicles will meet the required emission standards required by the LEZ.

The council also has a number of electric vehicles on fleet, the numbers of which we are looking to increase.

Schemes Available

Schemes Funded by Transport Scotland and Managed by Energy Saving Trust

For Individuals:

Electric Vehicle Loan

Domestic Charge Point Funding 

eBike Loan 

For Organisations:

Switched on @work 

Plugged-in Households Grant Fund 

Low Carbon Transport Business Loan 

Low Carbon Hackney Cab Loan 

eBike Grant Fund 

eBike Business Loan 


Schemes Managed by Transport Scotland

The Scottish Green Bus Fund

Switched on Towns and Cities Challenge Fund   



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