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Glasgow City Council

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - Q and A

What is a Low Emission Zone?

A Low Emission Zone (or LEZ) is an area where a person may not drive a vehicle which does not meet a specified exhaust emission standard.

LEZs are intended to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality in areas where standards are not being met. They are based on a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles.

Why does Glasgow need a Low Emission Zone?

Whilst much has been done to improve the quality of the air we breathe, for the oldest and youngest in our society and those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, air quality remains an issue.

In Glasgow city centre, levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are being recorded at levels which do not meet statutory objectives. The main source of this air pollutant from within the city is from road traffic.

Glasgow's LEZ is therefore an essential measure for improving air quality in the city centre.

How will a Low Emission Zone benefit Glasgow?

Glasgow's LEZ will help to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and other internal combustion sourced pollutants which will improve air quality and make Glasgow a safer, cleaner and more pleasant place to live, work and visit.

An added benefit is that as the majority of vehicles entering Glasgow's LEZ travel in from outside the zone, the positive effects of cleaner vehicles will be experienced across Glasgow and beyond.

When does the Low Emission Zone come into effect?

Glasgow's LEZ will be introduced on a phased basis:

Phase 1 will be enforced from 31 December 2018 and will apply to local service buses only.

Phase 2 will be enforced from 31 December 2022 and will apply to all other vehicles.

Where is Glasgow's Low Emission Zone?

Details of the area covered by LEZ Phase 1 (which applies to local service buses only) can be found here.

Buchanan Bus Station and specific access roads to it are presently exempt from the LEZ. This is to allow low frequency services operated by non-compliant vehicles to continue to serve the city.

The exact area of LEZ Phase 2 (which applies to all vehicles from 31 December 2022) will be determined following detailed transport modelling and to allow for the re-routing of vehicles wishing to avoid entering the zone.  It is generally expected to be however, the area known as the city centre which is that bounded by the M8, River Clyde and High Street/Saltmarket.

What are the LEZ signs around the city centre boundary for?

Indicative signage that will raise awareness of the LEZ boundary has been installed at key city centre locations. See here for further details.

What are the permitted vehicle emission standards for the LEZ?

Glasgow's LEZ will adopt the following emission standards:

  • Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy diesel engine vehicles

Emission standards for motorcycles and other powered two-wheel vehicles will be determined in due course.

Will my vehicle comply with the LEZ emission standards?

Transport Scotland are working on an online tool that will enable motorists to check if their vehicle meets LEZ emission standards by entering their registration number. Until this is ready, they have prepared a basic online vehicle checker.

Whilst the results are not a guarantee or proof that a vehicle can enter a LEZ, they can give an indication meantime. There is also the option to check a vehicle's emission standard by consulting its log book or enquiring directly with the manufacturer.

As soon as the registration checking tool is available, a weblink will be added to this page.

Will Your Vehicle Comply?

Are any vehicles exempt?

It is likely that some categories of vehicle will be exempt from LEZ requirements.

Any exemptions will be determined in the near future by Scottish Ministers.

What times will the LEZ be operational?

The hours of operation are to be determined.

How will the LEZ be enforced?

Glasgow's LEZ will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

What happens if my vehicle does not meet the required emission standards and I drive into the LEZ?

Glasgow's LEZ is based on a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles. The penalty charge sum is yet to be determined by the Scottish Ministers.

I live/operate a business within the LEZ - what does this mean for me?

There will be engagement and consultation with individuals and businesses over the coming months.

A grace period, which is additional time to comply with the emission requirements, will be considered for zone residents and possibly for those vehicles registered at a business aaddress within the LEZ.

Transport Scotland's LEZ Support Fund aims to help those who will have most difficulty preparing for the introduction of Low Emission Zones in the four cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. The fund will offer £1.09 million of grants in 2019/20 to help commercial vehicles comply with expected LEZ standards by retrofitting. These grants are to support the cost of upgrading engines or exhausts on taxis, vans and HGVs in order to reduce emissions and protect public health.

A fund to provide support for households and private individuals affected by the introduction of Low Emission Zones is also being developed by Transport Scotland and will be announced in the near future.

Why does the LEZ only cover the city centre?

The majority of Glasgow's air quality issues relate to the city centre so the greatest benefit to public health will be gained by enforcing a Low Emission Zone in this area first.

Since many buses which travel through the LEZ will also journey through other parts of the city, an improvement in emissions is expected beyond the LEZ area.

Are there not better ways for the council to reduce air pollution?

The introduction of the LEZ is part of a range of measures to improve air quality. Many of these can be found in our Air Quality Action Plans.

What is the council doing with its own fleet?

A new strategy has set out proposals that all of the council's 2,000 vehicles should by emissions free by the end of 2029. It is intended that only electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, across all sizes and classifications, will be used to deliver crucial city services by 2030. The full report on the Fleet Strategy can be found on the Committee Information Pages of the council's website.

Meantime, all council vehicles will meet theemission standards required by the LEZ.

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