Low Emission Zone proposed for Edinburgh

A preferred Low Emission Zone (LEZ) scheme for Edinburgh will be put to the authority’s Transport and Environment Committee members for a decision on 17 June, ahead of a public consultation.

A City Centre LEZ, broadly following the boundary first proposed for consultation in 2019 and applying to all motor vehicles, except motorcycles and mopeds, has been recommended for approval.

This has been appraised against two other options, a City Centre LEZ with a revised boundary and a scheme incorporating both City Centre and Extended Urban Area (formerly known as Citywide) LEZs.

An evidence-led approach was taken when appraising the schemes, adhering to the National Low Emission Framework and based on detailed traffic, as well as air quality modelling and data.

Each option was assessed against a series of principles and objectives, including the reduction of harmful and greenhouse gas emissions and minimising the displacement of traffic as a result of the LEZ.

If approved, a 12-week public consultation would be carried out seeking views on the preferred scheme.

This would inform a report back to the committee in autumn, before the statutory process to introduce the LEZ begins, with the aim of implementing the scheme in spring 2022.

Once the LEZ is in place, vehicles must meet a minimum emissions standard to enter a zone freely and those that do not will be considered non-compliant and subject to penalties.

Penalty charges are set nationally at £60 for non-compliant vehicles (though halved if paid within 30 days), with the penalty rate roughly doubling for subsequent contraventions within a 90-day period.

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

Commenting, City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes 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.”

Vice-Convener of the council’s Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Karen Doran added:

“We have committed to introducing a Low Emission Zone, both under the national drive to implement LEZs across the country but also through the City Mobility Plan, as part of our plans to deliver a more sustainable, environmentally friendly transport future in Edinburgh.

“We will continue to work closely with residents, businesses and stakeholders as we move a step closer to its introduction, ensuring everyone is well prepared for the changes.”

PSE will be hosting a Public Sector Decarbonisation event on 9 September. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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