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.
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.
Emma explained how each of us can contribute to generating air pollution.
Children choose the colours to add to their glasses depending on what pollutants are produced by their activities
The individual glasses of coloured water were poured into one jug
This jugful shows the combined effect of our activities on the air we breathe
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.
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?
Air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma attacks, as well as being associated with dimentia
Drivers can be exposed to nine times more air pollution than cyclists because cars gather pollution from the vehicle in front
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.