LEZ Support Fund helps Edinburgh restaurant owners buy new low-emission van

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The owners of an award-winning Edinburgh restaurant are helping to improve air quality in the city after replacing their diesel work van with a low emission vehicle.

Keith and Kaori Simpson, who run the Harajuku Kitchen, were able to get a more efficient van than expected because of the support of a grant they received through Scotland’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Support Fund for businesses.

LEZs are aimed at helping to protect public health by improving air quality and the couple wanted to replace their diesel van ahead of the scheme being introduced in the city centres of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow on 31 May 2022.

Keith said: “We were aware of the Low Emission Zone coming into Edinburgh and I knew that the old van was needing replaced because it was old and polluting. We needed something better for the environment and more efficient to use for the weekly events and markets.

“We got the grant and got a van which is a much better and more efficient van than what we would have done without the grant funding.”

The LEZ Support Fund, administered by Energy Saving Trust, provides eligible businesses (micro business and sole traders) that operate within 20km of one of Scotland’s four LEZs with a £2,000 grant towards the safe disposal of a car or van that doesn’t meet LEZ standards, and to replace it with a LEZ compliant vehicle or an alternative, sustainable mode of transport such as an e-cargo bike.

Keith and Kaori, who produce authentic Japanese food at locations across Edinburgh’s city centre, encourage other businesses to help protect public health in Scotland’s LEZs by making sure their vehicles are compliant and seeking funding support if they need help.

“We feel so much better now that our new van is cleaner and contributes to lowering emissions in the air,” said Kaori. “We always have the markets on the weekends. Usually, it’s the Sunday or Saturday market and for that, we also use the van to bring all our equipment and tables and gazebos to set up stalls for the markets.”

Keith added: “Our new van is great, it’s fulfilling its purpose and we’d like to go fully electric or hybrid in the future. The van is also much more fuel-efficient than the old van and we’re filling it up for about a third less than we were before.”

Ceit Skinner, an assistant programme manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “By reducing pollution from vehicle emissions, we will help transform our cities into cleaner, healthier places to live, work and visit. Through the LEZ Support Fund and further advice available, we can help you take your next step towards helping to improve the health and wellbeing of you and your staff as well as reducing your business’s carbon footprint and saving money.”

LEZs will be enforced for all vehicles on 1 June 2023 in Glasgow city centre, on 30 May 2024 for vehicles in Dundee city centre and on 1 June 2024 for vehicles in Aberdeen and Edinburgh city centres. Owners of a petrol vehicle registered before 2006 or a diesel vehicle registered before September 2015 which drives in the LEZ will receive a penalty charge notice (PCN).* Certain exemptions will apply – find out more about those Exemptions.

For more information visit about funding available to help your business, visit energysavingtrust.org.uk/low-emission-zone-support-fund-for-businesses/

For more information on LEZs, visit https://www.lowemissionzones.scot/about

*These dates are only indicative - please check with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer to confirm.