Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone Consultation

Last week we opened a consultation on Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone.

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) aim to reduce air pollution, since it presents a significant threat to public health. It is especially harmful to young children, the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing conditions, including heart and lung diseases.

We last updated you on the proposed LEZ on the Planning Edinburgh Blog back in December 2020.

They are being introduced across Scotland’s four largest cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in response to dangerous levels of air pollution generated by road traffic.

LEZs improve public health by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering an area. Benefits of this Zone will extend beyond the city centre by improving air quality, encouraging more sustainable travel and supporting the reduction of greenhouse gases across the city.

You can use the national vehicle checker to see if your vehicle is likely to meet the minimum emission standards.

The LEZ is planned to start the LEZ on 31st May 2022, however enforcement would not begin until 1st June 2024 – a ‘grace period’ of 2 years, which aims to help individuals and organisations to get ready.

Some exemptions will apply to the LEZ rules for example, disabled persons (including blue badge holders), historic vehicles and emergency vehicles as well as others outlined in the ‘Proposal to Make a LEZ’ consultation document.

The Council also has the powers to consider local ‘time-limited’ exemptions in exemptional and unique circumstances.

All details of the proposed LEZ are outlined in full in the ‘Proposal to Make a LEZ’ consultation document. This contains the following information:

  • Edinburgh’s LEZ Objectives and why we think the LEZ is required and appropriate
  • The proposed LEZ start date, operation times and grace period
  • The scope of vehicle types that will be included in the LEZ
  • Exemptions
  • Penalties
  • Map and a list of roads included in the LEZ

The Proposed LEZ will align with the Councils;

Why we are consulting

We are seeking views on the following proposed aspects of the Edinburgh LEZ:

  • city centre zone boundary
  • 2 -year grace period
  • local exemptions and considerations for impacted groups

We are also seeking to understand knowledge of LEZs and LEZ related support funds and those available for other sustainable transport options. The consultation period is running for 12 weeks, from the 28th June 2021 and closing on 20th September 2021.

Responses, comments or feedback can also be emailed to: low.emission.zone@edinburgh.gov.uk,

or posted to: Low Emission Zone, Waverley Court G3, East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG

Depending on the volume of feedback received, it is hoped that a final LEZ scheme can be formally published towards the end of 2021 and agreed by the Council and Scottish Ministers early in 2022 before it is implemented in May 2022.

City Plan 2030 – Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme 2020

Housing under construction at Fountainbridge (January 2021)

The Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme (HLACP) is used to assess the supply of land for housing and delivery of new homes. It records the amount of land available for house building, identifies any constraints affecting development and assesses the land supply against the housing supply target and housing land requirement set by the Strategic Development Plan.

As part of these efforts, we have published our annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme for 2020. Special thanks to Homes for Scotland and their members, who have provided invaluable input to the audit despite the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The short video below gives an overview of where we are in terms of land availability and housing completions in Edinburgh.

You can also view the Housing Land Audit and Completions data on our online GIS Atlas , by selecting the Housing Land Audit schedule and Housing Land Audit completions tab in the Planning layer. This can be accessed through the Layer List icon in the top right-hand corner of the Atlas.

The Programme demonstrates that there is more than enough unconstrained housing land to meet the housing land requirements. The key findings from the study are the number of completions recorded for 2019/20 (at nearly 3,000 new homes) is the highest recorded since the late 1990s and the second highest ever recorded. The current effective supply of land is sufficient for 22,696 new homes, substantially above the target of around 15,000. Completions in 2020/21 are expected to fall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but build rates are expected to rise once more. At current build rates, there is sufficient effective land to last for 9 years.

The study supports the trends identified in the 2019 Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme, this will help identify housing sites and where development is directed as well as assist in the drafting of housing policy for City Plan 2030

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by:

  • Subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

City Plan 2030 – Consultation and Timetable Update

We are preparing a new Local Development Plan for Edinburgh called City Plan 2030.  

A new Development Plan Scheme setting out how we prepare a development plan and outlining the proposed timetable to take City Plan 2030 to the Proposed Plan stage has been approved by as part of an update report on City Plan 2030 to committee on 10 March 2021. 

The proposed plan was due to be considered by the Planning Committee this month, but due to the significant cyberattack on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency just before Christmas, the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment required to support the proposed plan was delayed.

It is now expected that the proposed plan will be published in August 2021.

The next stage of the plan process will be the ‘Period of Representations’ which will give a further opportunity for comments to be made on the plan.

How we engage with interested groups and members of the public will be determined by the coronavirus government guidance at the time. As well as a comprehensive digital plan, we will make every effort to engage with those who don’t have access to or prefer not to use digital channels. Further details on this will be published along with the Plan.

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by

  • subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

The Edinburgh Development Concordat

We have published our new Development Concordat which sets out how developers, community organisations and the Council can work together to achieve good placemaking.

The Concordat seeks to help the city’s economic recovery by promoting collaboration.  It builds on the values and principles of the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision which provides clear aspirations for what the city is looking to achieve.

The Concordat recognises the need for agility, flexibility and collaborative engagement between Council services, the development and business communities and community organisations. We all need to work together to address the City’s recovery.

Developers are encouraged to promote the value of early and meaningful engagement including post planning decision engagement with Community Councils in shaping and realising development proposals. Within this context, the changes to pre-application consultation proposed by the Scottish Government: consultation should be recognised.

Community Organisations are encouraged to promote the vital role in representing the views of the wider community when new developments are proposed and to work collaboratively with developers from pre-application through to post planning decision.

The Council will promote the ways that developers and representative community organisations can engage with each other and will promote a “whole Council approach” as an enabler of development to facilitate a more continuous “end to end” approach taking in all of the development functions of the Council throughout the whole development process.

Cllr Neil Gardiner, Convener of the Planning Committee, said

“Edinburgh attracts a wide range of major investments and developments and more minor applications which can be complex. It’s important that the process is as smooth as possible for applicants and that we give quality, consistent and timely advice at all times.

The Concordat highlights the need for early community engagement in the planning process.

Good collaboration is even more important at the moment and the Concordat will help us all work together to address the city’s recovery. This Concordat is about adding value and helping to create good places.”

The Concordat was approved by the Council’s Policy and Sustainability Committee and replaces the Edinburgh Planning Concordat which has existed in various forms since 2009.

Read the full Edinburgh Development Concordat here.

A New Year – 2021 Lockdown

As we enter into a new year with a vaccine gone into distribution, we would like to offer our best wishes to everyone for a better year ahead.

Whilst we look forward with optimism for a glimpse of normality, we would like to highlight the current circumstances of the service amid current lockdown restrictions.

Whilst a spring/summer lockdown of 2020 was challenging, the longer sunny days and warmth made the daily tasks of home working and home schooling seem bearable. Like many of you, we face these same tasks in the winter months, confined to our homes due to a dark, damp and cold climate, the challenges and strains have been intensified.

As a service, whilst continuing to offer the best customer experience that we can, current restrictions requires the continued closure of our offices and maintained remote working. Managers have recognised the extended challenges of this lockdown on all staff within the service from family life, care of vulnerable family and friends, childcare and home-schooling to those living alone, all in need of support. Consequently, the well-being and mental health of our staff within the service will continue to be prioritised. Approximately 40% of our staff have young children and dependants therefore, we expect elements of the service to experience delays as parents fulfil their daily duties however, we continue to do the best we can to minimise the disruption to the service.

Key elements of the service still continue and these include receiving, processing and assessing planning applications; City Plan 2030; planning enforcement; neighbour notifications; Planning helpdesk; DM sub-committee; and, the Local Review Body. Elements of the service that have been suspended include site visits, and site notices will be available online only. A small plea: if you are submitting an application, any contextual information including photos would be very helpful.

As a planning authority, we rely heavily on the input from colleagues within other services, agents/architects, consultants, stakeholders and communities. We recognise these same challenges will be faced by everyone. We offer our sincere understanding and continued willingness to work with you, optimising new forms of communication and alternative working arrangements.

We will continue to deliver the best possible planning service for our city however, given these challenging times and restrictive working environments, we ask for your continued patience and understanding for our staff.

Thank you.