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.

2021 SuDS Champion Awards

We are delighted to announce that Senior Planner Julie Waldron has been named 2021 SuDS Champion in the “Experienced SuDS Professional” category.

Run annually by Susdrain, the awards invite the water industry to nominate someone who they believe has gone ‘the extra mile’ to be recognised for their achievements to inspire, inform and influence the delivery of SuDS.

Earlier this year Julie led the delivery of Edinburgh’s Vision for Management of Water in the City of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s Water Vision is;

To develop a long-term and sustainable approach to river, coastal and storm water management across the city and its environs, respecting our unique historic heritage. This will involve all stakeholders and address the flooding and water quality risks associated with our changing climate as a result of changes in rainfall and sea level rise.

One key aim of the vision is the need to manage the first 5mm of rainfall within every new development plot.

This is a big change for both planning, transport and building standards, and will require building more raingardens, green roofs and other sustainable urban drainage features in developments. Everyone can help, by thinking about ‘holding back’ their water in their own gardens using raingardens and water butts. Even a small amount will collectively, across the city, make a significant difference.

We are developing our own guidance, which is currently in draft, and will be shared very soon. 

Overall this will help hold back water from the sewers and the rivers especially important in times of intense rainfall, allow more plants to grow and wildlife to thrive and create greener places for people to live, work and visit. It will also support healthier, happier and better off communities.

Have a look at to our blog on Edinburgh’s Water Vison from earlier this year.

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.

Scottish Design Awards

This year’s Scottish Design Awards is to be held on the 15 July. Open to all architects, engineers, graphic, interior and digital designers, the awards seek to serve as a champion of best practice, sustainability and innovation.

Last September there were a lot of Edinburgh schemes among the winners at the 2020 Awards.

Here is a quick look back at some of the developments in Edinburgh which were among last year’s winners.

If you want to take a deeper look into the details, the Planning Portal provides all the plans, drawings and related reports.

Edinburgh Printmakers (Planning Reference 15/03129/FUL)

Award Winner (Architecture – Building Re-Use)

This category C listed 19th century building was once home to the famous North British Rubber Company and McEwan’s Fountain Brewery until its closure in 2005 after which the site lay vacant for over a decade. An application for Planning Permission was submitted in July 2015 to convert the C Listed former offices into a creative hub for the Edinburgh Printmakers.

The site, within the Fountainbridge Development Brief was identified as being part of a wider strategy to re-establish a community with mixed uses and with the intention of safeguarding and reusing the few remaining heritage assets.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Bridgend Community Farmhouse (Planning Reference 15/00235/FUL)

Award (Architecture – Regeneration)

This project was led by a small voluntary community organisation which came together to work towards the renovation of the farmhouse for community ownership. The conversion was from a vacant farmhouse into a cafe and kitchen with a teaching area on the ground floor. On the first floor an exhibition area and meeting space was formed. 

The land to the rear of the farmhouse was split into two areas. Firstly the garden area was retained providing space for a kitchen garden and outdoor workshops. Secondly the rear courtyard area was hard landscaped with a paved terrace next to the farmhouse and a paved walkway along the front of the workshops.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Greendykes Phase G (Planning Reference 16/04427/AMC)

Commendation (Architecture – Affordable Housing)

A phase of 75 new homes for social and mid-market rent in Craigmillar. The masterplan was previously approved (Reference 05/01358/OUT)

The site is located on the east side of Greendykes Avenue (part of which was renamed Tudsbery Avenue) and is bounded by Greendykes Terrace (part of which was renamed Matthew Street) to the north, Greendykes Loan to the south and Greendykes Drive to the east. The site was previously housing which had been demolished.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Market Street Hotel (Planning Reference 14/04962/FUL)

Award (Commercial/Office/Hotel Building or Project)

Part of an important façade where Old Town meets New Town, the hotel sits right in the centre of Edinburgh at an entrance to Waverley Station. The restricted site had been undeveloped for over 50 years.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Global Research Innovation and Discovery (GRID) (Heriot Watt University)  (Planning Reference 17/03367/FUL)

Commendation (Architecture – Education Building or Project)

The Global Research Innovation and Discovery (GRID) teaching facility was designed specifically to promote collaboration between departments, and to create cohesion between academic disciplines, industry partners and the global community. It is focussed on subjects such as Engineering and Computer Science.

The building is the first in the Heriot Watt campus to engage its Lochside setting and offers access to the water’s edge via ramped terraces. Student well-being was designed into the project from the outset, influencing colours, materials & design.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Other nominated Edinburgh schemes included:

Kings Stables Road (Planning Reference 15/05715/FUL)

The Registers (Planning Reference 15/02788/FUL)

Buchan House  (Planning Reference 17/03375/FUL)

Code Pod Hostel – The Court (Planning Reference 18/01505/FUL)

Calton Hill City Observatory (Planning Reference 15/01828/FUL)

Granton WaterfrontDevelopment Framework Report

Non-Material Variation Service

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Non-Material Variation Service.

As previously mentioned on the Planning Edinburgh blog a few weeks ago, this is part of our wider efforts to improve customer service and consistency across the service.

A Non-Material Variation (NMV) application is a proposal to change an approved development that will not significantly alter what was granted planning permission.

Starting from 1 April 2021, we have introduced a new and streamlined way to apply for NMVs, with a new formalised Application Form and Customer Guidance for applying. It will allow us to process NMVs in a more efficient way.

NMV applications will now also be subject to a charge based on the scale of your development.

Developments which are primarily related to improving accessibility for people with disabilities are exempt.

What is a Non-Material Variation?

NMVs are permitted under Section 64 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, which makes provision for the variation of planning permission once it has been granted, provided the changes are not material.

A non-material variation essentially means that the proposed changes to a development will not significantly alter the scheme that was originally granted planning permission.

When considering a request for a non-material variation, planning officers will consider the cumulative impact of the proposed change alongside any other requests for non-material variations that have been made previously.

What permissions does a NMV relate to?

A non-material variation can only relate to a planning permission that has been granted. It is tied to the original planning permission and is not a new consent.

It is also important that you check and confirm any changes with Building Standards to ensure that any variations proposed in your NMV application still comply with the relevant Building Regulations.

How do you apply for a NMV?

All applications for non-material variations should be made using the application form on our website: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/nonmaterialvariations

The application form and supporting drawings should be submitted by email to nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk

Payments should be made online on our new NMV Payment Page – please note that we cannot accept payments over the phone or by cheque.

If an application for a NMV is successful, we will agree the variation in writing and a copy of the decision letter will be added to the planning portal. The drawings will then constitute the approved drawings for your planning permission. The original permission remains in effect but must be read in conjunction with the variations agreed under the NMV application.

If you have any questions, get in touch via nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk