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.

Clean Air Day

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  Poor air quality causes heart and lung disease and is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development.

Thursday 17 June is Clean Air Day – the UK’s largest air pollution campaign that aims to bring people together to build awareness of the actions we can all do to tackle it.

Planning has an important role to play in this. Here in Edinburgh, we are setting out actions in strategies and plans to help tackle this, for example in our; 

The Clean Air Day campaign website has a wealth of ideas and ready-made materials to make it easy to get involved.

City Plan 2030 – timetable update

We are preparing a new Local Development Plan for Edinburgh called City Plan 2030. This will set out policies and proposals for development in Edinburgh through to 2030. City Plan 2030 will set out how we develop our city sustainably over the next ten years.

Choices for City Plan

Our main engagement stage ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ took place between January and April 2020. We received over 1800 responses to the consultation from organisations, community groups and members of the public. The responses to Choices for City Plan 2030 were reported to Planning Committee on 12 August 2020. The full Choices for City Plan consultation responses are available to view on our website.

City Plan 2030

We are now preparing the proposed City Plan 2030. The timetable for preparing the plan and how you can get involved in the next stage of the process is set out in our new Development Plan Scheme.

As set out in the DPS, a proposed plan is now expected to be presented to committee in February/March 2020.

You can view the new Development Plan Scheme on our website.

Period of representations

Following publication of the proposed plan, the next stage of the plan preparation process allows for comment on the proposed Plan, this is called the period of representations. Representations can be submitted to the proposed plan, either supporting or seeking change to the policies and proposals set out in the plan.

The impact of the current health emergency on the period of representations to the proposed plan is not known at this stage. It is not known if social distancing and/or lockdown measures will be still in place in 2021 to enable traditional, in person, engagement to go ahead.

However, if possible, some, or all, of the following activities will be used to raise awareness and encourage people to have their say on the proposed plan:

● Launch of proposed plan

● Publicity to raise awareness of proposed plan

● Statutory neighbour notification

● Notification to those groups and individuals on the project mailing list telling them how to comment

● Staffed exhibitions in public places to raise awareness, if possible

● Drop-in sessions to allow opportunity to find out more about consultation proposals, if possible;

● Best practice online/digital engagement (as guided by the Scottish Government’s digital planning programme) which could include virtual exhibitions, a planning engagement hub, webinars and online events, and

An update to the Development Plan Scheme will be provided at the time of publishing the proposed plan with the full details on how you can submit a representation to the proposed plan.

Non-digital engagement – including opportunities to ask informal questions, telephone surgeries, printed newsletters, hard copies of documents, paper letters and engagement via other council services.

In the meantime, you can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by

● subscribing to this blog

● following us on twitter at @planningedin

● joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

Planning Performance Framework 2019-2020

On 31 July we submitted our ninth Planning Performance Framework to Scottish Government.

View Planning Performance Framework

Since 2012, all Scottish planning authorities have prepared an annual PPF – they’re used by Scottish Government to gauge how a planning authority’s performing against a national  toolkit of statistical and quality measures.

PPF 2019-2020 reviews the activity and performance of the Council’s Planning service between April 2019 and March 2020. It looks at the quality of outcomes on the ground, how well we’ve engaged customers and communities, our governance arrangements and how we’re embedding a culture of continuous improvement.

Fourteen case studies are highlighted, including: ‘Choices’ – City Plan 2030’s main issues report; the conversion of the former House of Fraser store on Princes Street to the Johnnie Walker Experience; the Granton Waterfront Development Framework; the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan; and our new paid-for pre-application advice service.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on how we deliver our service impacted right at the end of this year’s PPF period but it’s sure to feature heavily in next year’s submission.

Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (29 April 2020)

Following on from our last update, we have a number of further service changes as we continue to adapt the planning service to the COVID -19 situation.

Site Notices and Weekly List

We have now begun the online publication of applications, following the restrictions on physically displaying site notices. We will display the planning application Weekly Lists and all Site Notices weekly on a new page on the website, and this will be updated every week.

Development Management Sub-Committee

The Leadership Advisory Panel has agreed to reinstate the Development Management Sub-Committee. We are working on how to do this through video conferencing, with the aim to hold the first reinstated Development Management Sub-committee on 20 May 2020.

Local Review Body

Following the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 coming into force, the Regulations affecting Planning have been amended. This includes the Regulations governing the Local Review Body (LRB), which as of 24 April 2020, for a temporary period, is no longer required to take place in public. Once the Development Management Sub-Committee has been established it is hoped to roll this format out for the Local Review Body.

We are still accepting online Review submissions. Please note that, as staff are homeworking, we cannot accept paper copies of Reviews, supporting documents or representations at this current time. Scottish Government has not given any powers to extend the period for submission of appeals, so if you intend to submit a Review please ensure it is within time.

For further information regarding appeals submitted to Scottish Government visit the DPEA website.

City Plan 2030 and City Mobility Plan

Finally, we are still receiving submissions on Choices for City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan until 5pm tomorrow, to allow people to give their views on two important plans that will shape how we live and work in the city in future.

Please submit your comments through the consultation hub by 30 April 2020 at 5pm.

Please look out for further service updates in the coming weeks, including on our pre-application advice service. Subscribe to the blog by email to receive immediate updates.