Levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are being recorded in our city centre at levels which do not meet statutory expectations. As the main source of this air pollutant is from road traffic, Glasgow introduced Scotland's first ever Low Emission Zone on 31 December 2018.
Glasgow's LEZ is expected to help to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and other internal combustion sourced pollutants, which will improve air quality and make Glasgow a cleaner, healthier and more pleasant place to be.
Phase 1 of Glasgow's LEZ applies to local service buses only, however when Phase 2 is enforced from 1 June 2023 all vehicles entering the zone must meet specified exhaust emission standards to avoid a penalty charge, unless exempt.
We are currently consulting on Phase 2 of Glasgow's LEZ - take part here.
You can also find out more from our LEZ webpages whether your vehicle is likely to meet LEZ proposed emissions requirements and what funding assistance is available to ease compliance. There are also further details available in our FAQs - including the area covered by the LEZ, how it will work in practice, grace periods for zone residents, penalty levels, and exemptions.
A phased approach to Glasgow's LEZ has been adopted to give people the chance to prepare.
LEZ Phase 2 is dependent on legislation, the progress of which was temporarily impacted by COVID-19. This means that enforcement of this second phase is now expected to be from 1 June 2023, which is slightly later than originally anticipated.
Our preferred scheme design also proposes that those residing within the LEZ zone will be granted a further year to comply with the emissions requirements, with enforcement commencing from 1 June 2024. The vehicle must be registered to an address within the LEZ boundary to qualify for this extended preparation period.
Phase 2 Scheme Design:
LEZ emission standards, penalty charges and exemptions have all been decided at national level for consistency, however the council can determine the specific shape, size and scope of our LEZ, based on local requirements.
The Phase 2 scheme design has now been developed taking into consideration the evidence base, findings of a previous non-statutory consultation in 2020 and the impacts of the pandemic. Proposals include:
A consultation on the Phase 2 scheme design opened on 24 June 2021 and can be accessed here.
Plans to establish Low Emission Zones in four of Scotland's cities were set out within the First Minister's Programme for Government 2017-18.
Low Emission Zones are a form of Vehicle Access Regulation Scheme which set minimum emission standards for access to a defined area to improve air quality by allowing access to only the cleanest vehicles, particularly at locations where there is public exposure. The aim of LEZs are not to ban all vehicles, but rather to stop the most polluting from entering the zone, to protect public health and to encourage the switch to compliant vehicles.
Proposals to introduce Scotland's first LEZ in Glasgow by the end of December 2018 were approved by the council's City Administration Committee in September 2017. It was agreed that initially, the LEZ would apply to local service buses only. In June 2018, the same committee granted approval to extend the LEZ to all vehicle types.
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provides the legislation to enable the creation and civil enforcement of LEZs.
The Scottish Government has developed regulations and guidance, relating to a number of key aspects including emissions, penalties, certain exemptions and parameters for grace periods. The council will then have the powers to create, enforce, operate or revoke a Low Emission Zone and to design its shape, size and vehicle scope, based on local requirements.
The proposed regulations were laid in the Scottish Parliament in January 2021. This formal presentation allows them to be scrutinised by MSPs. There are two sets of national regulations for LEZs:
These regulations were finalised following a consultation which asked questions about key aspects of LEZ regulations and guidance, particularly views on emission standards, exemptions and penalty charges.
Using traffic modelling information provided by SYSTRA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has developed an interactive tool to show the predicted changes in both emissions and traffic levels expected under the proposed LEZ measures. The tool allows users to explore these changes on a street by street basis and is available via the link below: