Scotland's first ever Low Emission Zone (LEZ) came into effect in Glasgow city centre on 31 December 2018.
This Phase 1 of Glasgow's LEZ applies to local services buses only, however when the LEZ is fully rolled out at Phase 2 - all vehicles entering the zone will have to meet specified exhaust emission standards, unless exempt.
Following a temporary pause in plans to implement Low Emission Zones in Scotland in response to COVID-19, there is now a revised indicative timescale that aims to see their introduction between February and May of 2022. The timetable is not finalised however it does represent a clear commitment by all partners to work as quickly as possible to introduce LEZs at the earliest possible time.
For Glasgow, these revisions mean it will not be possible for Phase 2 of our LEZ to apply to all vehicles by 31 December 2022 as originally planned - this is because LEZs in Scotland can only be enforced after a compulsory grace period of at least one year after its introduction. Instead, Phase 2 will be moved out to 2023, with a more detailed, revised timetable for enforcement to be published as soon as possible.
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 geographical area likely to be covered by the LEZ, how it will work in practice, penalty levels, and exemptions.
A Low Emission Zone is an area where a person may not drive a vehicle which does not meet a specified emission standard.
LEZs are intended to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality in areas where standards are not being met, taking a penalty notice approach to effectively ban non-compliant vehicles.
Air pollution impacts negatively on human health; particularly so for the very young, the elderly and those with existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
In Glasgow city centre, levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are being recorded at levels which do not meet statutory expectations. The main source of this air pollutant within the city is from road traffic.
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.
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.
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.