In 2022, Scotland is introducing low emission zones to improve air quality across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This will be in addition to the existing bus only LEZ in Glasgow established in 2018.
Their introduction will help protect the health of the public by improving air quality and addressing pollution hotspots, which are principally caused by road traffic. Low emission zones will also contribute to tackling climate change by encouraging people to use more sustainable modes of transport.
Low emission zones set minimum emission standards all vehicles must meet to be able to access each zone. The LEZ Regulations and Guidance 2019 consultation proposed that the minimum standards are:
- Euro 4 for petrol cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from 2006)
- Euro 6 for diesel cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from September 2015)
- Euro VI for buses, coaches and HGVs (generally vehicles registered from January 2013)
- (These dates are only indicative - please check to confirm with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer.)
At the moment, Glasgow is a bus only LEZ, however all four cities are yet to confirm when their LEZ enforcement for all vehicles begins.
Electric and ultra-low emission vehicles
Electric and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) can be driven into Scotland’s low emission zones.
ULEVs in particular have been rising in popularity. There are now more than 12,000 in Scotland, with demand outpacing the rest of the UK since 2017.
This demand has been stimulated by support from the Scottish Government which has provided more than £40 million through its Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme.
A further £17m has been pledged, as part of its Programme for Government 2019-20, to support the scheme which is administered by the Energy Saving Trust.
Investment has also led to Scotland having one of the most comprehensive charge point networks in Europe and it’s growing all the time. Find out more about the ChargePlace Scotland and its locations here.
Embracing active travel is a great way to avoid having to drive into a low emission zone.
If you don’t have far to travel, why not walk or cycle there? If your journey is longer, why not walk or cycle to the bus stop, railway station or use other form of public transport?
Doing this can not only save you money but help you get fit into the bargain.
How fit you get is entirely up to you, thanks to the rise in popularity and effectiveness of battery assisted e-bikes which let you decide how hard you work. There are also e-cargo bikes which make it even easier to carry everything you’re likely to need about town.
Click on these links for the Energy Saving Trust e-bike loan and the Energy Saving Trust e-bike grant fund for local authorities, public sector agencies, further and higher education institutions, active travel hubs and community groups.
If you are an employer seeking to promote sustainable travel in your work place, visit waytoworkscot.org/
All of the cities setting up low emission zones have comprehensive public transport systems which should make it easy to travel without a car.
You can find out more about the public travel options by clicking on the links below:
If it’s necessary for you to drive into a low emission zone, then why not car share with someone else and potentially help cut emissions?
Currently, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is advised that you should only travel with members of your own, or extended, household.
On occasions where there is no alternative for you but to travel with people outside of your household, it is advised that you:
- share the transport (whether it is a car or minibus or other private vehicle) with the same people each time you travel
- keep to small groups of people at any one time
- maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
- ask everyone, unless they are exempt, to wear a face-covering during the journey
- clean your hands before and after your journey
- if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.
When finishing your journey, it is recommended that you wash or sanitise your hands as soon as possible and ensure regular cleaning of keys or fobs, door handles and steering wheelif the vehicle is your responsibility.
Full details of the current advice for car sharing can be found here.