Edinburgh proposes low emission zone for city centre

If approved, it would be implemented in spring 2022 but penalty enforcement would only start in 2024 following a two-year grace period

The Big Zero report

Plans to establish a low emission zone (LEZ) scheme for Edinburgh are to be put forward to the Transport and Environment Committee members this week ahead of a public consultation.

The City Centre LEZ would apply to all motor vehicles except motorcycles and mopeds, which if approved, a 12-week public consultation would follow to seek views on the preferred scheme, with the aim of implementing it in spring 2022.

Once the LEZ is in place, vehicles must meet a minimum emissions standard to enter the zone freely and those that don’t will have to pay penalty charges of £60, which will be halved if paid within 30 days and roughly doubled for subsequent contraventions within a 90-day period.

However, there will be a proposed two-year grace period for Edinburgh LEZ, which means enforcement will begin in spring 2024.

Work to introduce an LEZ in Edinburgh started in 2018 in line with the Scottish Government’s commitment to implement LEZs in Scotland’s four largest cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee – to tackle air pollution and protect public health.

The LEZs were originally intended to be put in place by 2020 but the date has been pushed back to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener said: “As we approach Clean Air Day, which aims to tackle air pollution and its harmful effects on our health and wellbeing, it’s fitting that we’re progressing our own plans to significantly improve air quality in the city.

“A great deal of analysis and monitoring has gone into the latest proposals for a Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh. This takes into account the urgent need to lower emissions for the good of our health, while remaining aware of the impact on local businesses, residents and on traffic patterns.

“We know from our consultation in 2019 that lowering air pollution matters to everyone so I look forward to hearing from the public on the preferred option, if approved by committee.”

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