Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone: CONSULTATION CLOSING SOON

This week is the last week to take part in our 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.

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.

Low Emission Zones (LEZ) 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.

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’ document.

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 whether LEZ related support funds and those available for other sustainable transport options.

The consultation period has been running since the 28th June 2021 and is 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.

The Proposed Low Emission Zone will align with the Councils;

Take part in our consultation on Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone.

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.

Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone: Update

Edinburgh’s low emission zone (LEZ) proposal aims to improve air quality for people across the city by tackling pollution from vehicles and has been developed in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection agency and Transport Scotland.

The LEZ will involve removing the most polluting vehicles from the network and will only allow the cleanest vehicles into the LEZ. Visit LowEmissionZone.Scot to find out if your vehicle complies.

The Scottish Government is committed to introducing LEZs to Edinburgh. The original commitment was to have these in place by the end of 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, timescales have changed, with a new indicative timescale for LEZs to be introduced between February and May 2022. For more information of LEZ timelines and more please visit Transport.gov.scot.

There are a number of funding opportunities that have been made available. These offer to help those who are most impacted by the LEZ, with grants available for people and businesses to enable them to upgrade their vehicle/vehicles to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly, LEZ compliant vehicle or public transport vouchers.

The £2 million mobility fund launched by Scottish government offers cash incentives for non-compliant vehicles to be removed from the road. Administered by the Energy Savings Trust, the programme is means tested to help those who would struggle the most to upgrade their vehicle and provides support for both people and businesses to travel more sustainably.

The mobility fund provides households with a grant of £2,000 as an incentive to remove a non-compliant vehicle from the road and replace it with a cleaner compliant vehicle or invest in alternative transport modes.

The mobility fund also provides help for businesses, with a £2,500 cash grant to help upgrade their fleet to cleaner, more efficient vehicles.

£1 million of funding is also being made available to support the retrofitting of Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) as well as Taxis through the LEZ Retrofitting Fund for micro-businesses.

Find out more about the Edinburgh project and how to get in touch with us at: https://www.lowemissionzones.scot/about/local-zones/edinburgh

Junior Road Safety Event and air quality

On 13 and 14 September we held workshops at the Junior Road Safety Event at The City Chambers to show school kids how everyday activities contribute to air pollution.  The event is organised by colleagues in Road Safety and Active Travel who work with Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) to help promote road safety and active travel amongst their peers.  They do this through competitions, assemblies and events in school, and help them put together their travel plans to reduce cars on the school run, reduce congestion and promote walking, scooting and cycling.

This annual event brings together Edinburgh primary school children who are JRSOs and provides them with ideas to promote road safety issues in their school and local community.

Air pollution has been recently described by the World Health Organisation’s Director General as ’the major public health issue of our generation’.  Because we can’t always see it, it is easy not to think about it.

But transport is a major source of local air pollution here in Edinburgh, and reducing vehicle emissions or using our cars less for example by walking or cycling instead, is one way we can help improve air quality.

The workshop activity used food colourings to represent pollutants in air. Adding drops of these to glasses of water (representing clean air) allowed the children to see how their individual activities including travel to school can pollute the air we breathe. The children compared their glasses and discussed ways they could reduce their own contributions.

The feedback we got from the children who attended the event was really positive and we hope it helps to give them a better understanding of some of the air quality issues in the city.

National Clean Air Day

National Clean Air Day

The UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day is being held on 15 June 2017.  The aim of the day is to encourage everyone to take simple actions to improve our health and reduce air pollution.  To celebrate we have written a blog about the work we do as a Council to monitor and improve air quality in Edinburgh. Did you know?

  1. Air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma attacks, as well as being associated with dimentia
  2. Drivers can be exposed to nine times more air pollution than cyclists because cars gather pollution from the vehicle in front
  3. Most of the pollutants that damage our health are too small to see, and they get through the gaps in simple fabric face masks

Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce air pollution including:

  • Use your feet and take to the street by walking, cycling, bus or tram
  • Switching your engine off when stationary
  • If you are thinking about replacing your car, consider buying a less polluting vehicle such as an petrol-hybrid or an electric car

A joined-up multidisciplinary approach is being taken to address concerns about air quality in hot-spot areas across the City by the Council. The new Spatial Policy team which came into operation in June 2016 includes officers from the Planning, Transport and Environmental Health disciplines.

The role of the team is to develop and coordinate policy and projects in relation to planning, transport and air quality with a view to securing outcomes that deliver better placemaking and linkages between spatial and community planning.  Some of the actions the team are working towards delivering through the Air Quality Action Plan include:

  • Promoting cleaner transport, in particular buses via voluntary means
  • Adoption of fleet recognition efficiency scheme for reducing emissions from heavy goods vehicles
  • Improving traffic flow and easing congestion by use of intelligent traffic signalling
  • Promoting modal shift away from car use by means of an active travel action plan

The Council has also recently proposed to take a lead and work with the Scottish Government towards progressing Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh.

Get in touch and let us know the small steps you are taking to improve your health and reduce air pollution in the City on twitter or instagram.