Next steps for Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone

The final steps towards introducing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Scotland’s capital this May will be taken, if agreed by councillors today.

Edinburgh’s city centre LEZ would apply to all motor vehicles, except motorcycles and mopeds, with a two-year grace period and allowing certain exemptions, including for blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.

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

A report to the Transport and Environment Committee today recommends proceeding with the scheme approved in January, and to submit the Final Submission to Scottish Ministers for consideration.

cars parked near multi-color buildings

The recommendations follow a month-long Statutory Notice Period in February, during which 26 objections and one note of support were received. After full analysis of the objections, officers advised there is no justification for changes to the scheme, though have affirmed that work will continue apace to ensure any potential impacts from the scheme are mitigated.

In general, objections to the scheme focused on the size and location of the boundary, the impacts of traffic displacement and the potential financial challenges of complying. Other objections included concerns around exemptions, the effects on individuals and businesses and the evidence base for the scheme.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: ‘Being able to breathe clean air is a right we all deserve, and by introducing a Low Emission Zone in the city centre we want to tackle air pollution in one of the most densely-populated parts of Edinburgh.

‘Our officers have carried out a great deal of planning, modelling and analysis, in line with national frameworks, to develop our proposals. They have been able to draw on this evidence in response to objections received during the Statutory Notice Period. I’m confident that the proposed scheme will deliver significant benefits to quality of life in our city.’

Cllr Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, added: ‘Significant work carried out to assess this scheme’s impact on carbon emissions, as well as the proposed boundaries and grace period, demonstrates that these proposals are appropriate for the city.

‘The LEZ, alongside a range of ambitious projects to improve air quality, will encourage more sustainable transport and support active travel, and is key to achieving cleaner air for everyone.’

Photo by Jonathan Ricci


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