Developing Low Emission Zones in Scotland


Legislation, policies and stakeholder engagement will help ensure the development and implementation of Low Emission Zones in Scotland is evidence based, robust and that they will deliver air quality improvements and wider community benefits.

The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019

The Transport Scotland Act 2019 provides the legislation to enable the creation and civil enforcement of Low Emission Zones. The Scottish Government has developed regulations and guidance, relating to a number of key aspects including emissions, penalties, certain exemptions and parameters for grace periods. Local authorities have the powers to create, operate and enforce Low Emission Zones and are able to design the shape, size and vehicle scope of their Low Emission Zone based on their specific, local requirements.

Transport Act

Low Emission Zone Consistency Group

This group supports the development of a nationally consistent approach to the implementation of Low Emission Zones in Scotland. It brings together officials from local authorities and key public bodies to collectively consider issues relating to their design and delivery.

Low Emission Zone Delivery Groups

A low emission delivery group has been set up for each city, made up of those who have a role in delivery of Low Emission Zones at individual city level. This includes transport planning, traffic engineering, air quality, planning and legal and finance specialists, Transport Scotland, SEPA and other relevant local organisations.

The delivery groups were involved in the design, development and implementation of the Low Emission Zones and will continue to be as implementation is underway.

National Transport Strategy (NTS2)

The National Transport Strategy (NTS2) sets out an ambitious and compelling vision for Scotland’s transport system for the next 20 years.

A collaborative approach has been taken to the development of the document, with more than 60 organisations and 6500 people making a contribution. There were 1200 responses to the consultation.

The Strategy sets out the actions that have to be taken to meet The Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change targets. It acknowledges that there needs to be a range of activity, including technological change to ultra-low emission vehicles, altering people’s travel behaviour through improved use of public and active travel modes, as well as a reduction in the demand for unsustainable transport.

The strategy redefines investment priorities, putting sustainable and public transport at the heart of decision-making.

Read the new National Transport Strategy here

Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 (CAFS2) Strategy

Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 - Towards a Better Place for Everyone is Scotland's second air quality strategy, setting out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to further reduce air pollution to protect human health and fulfil Scotland’s legal responsibilities over the period 2021-2026.

CAFS2 was published in July 2021, accompanied by a Delivery Plan, and replaces Cleaner Air for Scotland – The Road to a Healthier Future (CAFS) which was published in 2015.

CAFS2 aims to achieve the ambitious vision for Scotland "to have the best air quality in Europe". This includes commitment to a nationally consistent approach to the appraisal, design and implementation of Low Emission Zones through the application of a National Low Emission Framework (NLEF), in conjunction with a National Modelling Framework (NMF).

Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy

The strategy is currently under review.

National Low Emissions Framework (NLEF)

The NLEF was finalised in line with the findings of the Building Scotland’s Low Emission Zones Consultation and the experience of putting in place the first Low Emission Zone in Glasgow. The NLEF will help local authorities to consider a range of air quality improvement options related to transport.

National Low Emissions Framework