South Lanarkshire carries out vehicle emissions tests

Scottish local authority aims to combat air pollution by issuing fines to vehicle owners that fail roadside emission tests, writes Amy North.

South Lanarkshire council is undertaking roadside vehicle emission tests which could see motorists hit with a £60 fine if their vehicle fails to meet emission regulations. 

South Lanarkshire council officers carrying out an emissions check

The council said it is undertaking the tests in a bid to improve air quality in the area and reduce exhaust emissions.

The council’s waste and environmental services team will be carrying out the tests throughout 2012 with ten events taking place across Rutherglen, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Lanark.

Trained technicians will carry out an initial test on the vehicle which the council said should last no more than ten minutes. If the vehicle fails then a full test will be undertaken. 

A fixed penalty of £60 will be issued to the owner of any vehicle that fails the full test which could rise to £90 if not paid within 28 days. However if owners can demonstrate that within two weeks of the failure that the defect has been fixed and the emissions from the vehicle comply with the law then the fine will be withdrawn.


The council said it recognised exhaust emissions as one of the main causes of poor air quality.

In a statement issued by the council it said: “Fortunately overall air quality in our area is good but as exhaust emissions are recognised as one of the major causes of poor air quality, the council’s environmental health officers are carrying out a serious of roadside tests as part of their regular review of the situation.

“Major pollutants from petrol and diesel engines include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, smoke (particulate matters) and ozone. These pollutants can exacerbate existing medical conditions. Air pollution can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat and reduce resistance to colds and other illnesses. Air pollution can be especially harmful to the very young, the very old. It is therefore in all of our interests to make efforts to improve the air we breathe.” 


To avoid a potential fine the council is encouraging owners to ensure their vehicles are properly maintained and serviced throughout the year and not just when the MOT is due.

In addition to this South Lanarkshire said there were a number of measures that motorists could take to reduce emissions from their vehicles. These included:

  • Ensuring the vehicle is regularly maintained — check the tuning, emissions and tyre pressure
  • Don’t make unnecessary journeys
  • Only use air conditioning and climate control when necessary
  • Drive slower — driving less than 60mph will reduce emissions and save fuel
  • Drive more gently — hard acceleration and sudden stops increase fuel consumption
  • Switch off the engine if stuck in traffic for than a minute

The council has already undertaken measures to reduce air pollution with routine patrols to tackle stationary idling which could see motorists hit with a £20 fine for allowing their vehicle to idle unnecessarily. 

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South Lanarkshire Council


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