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Glasgow City Council

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) - Q and A

Overview

Low Emission Zones set an environmental limit on certain road spaces - restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality and protect public health. 

A penalty charge is payable by the registered keeper if a vehicle enters a LEZ and does not meet the emission requirements.

From 1 June 2023, Glasgow's LEZ will apply to all vehicles driving into the city centre zone.

Please note however that:

  • Motorcycles and mopeds are not affected by LEZ schemes in Scotland 
  • Some categories of vehicle are exempt such as vehicles for disabled persons - this includes blue badge holders

See our animation below for more details about how Glasgow's LEZ will operate:

Why is Glasgow introducing a Low Emission Zone?

Glasgow has made good progress in tackling air pollution however there are still areas within our city centre where nitrogen dioxide levels are higher than the legal standard. As the main source of this harmful pollutant is from road traffic, our LEZ is an essential measure to improve air quality and protect public health.

Glasgow's LEZ can also help accelerate the uptake of less polluting vehicles, encourage people to move away from private car use and increase the safety and attractiveness of our city centre.

When does Glasgow's Low Emission Zone start?

Glasgow's LEZ is being phased in to give everyone time to prepare:

  • Phase 1 (buses only) was introduced on 31 December 2018
  • Phase 2 (all vehicles) is now in operation but will not be enforced until 1 June 2023.

Enforcement for private vehicles registered to a residential address within the zone will start on 1 June 2024.

Where is Glasgow's Low Emission Zone?

Glasgow's LEZ covers an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east.  

Glasgow LEZ - Phase 2 boundary map

What are the required vehicle emission standards?

Petrol/Diesel Vehicles:

Emission standards for LEZs in Scotland have been set nationally - these are:

Euro 4 for petrol vehicles
Euro 6 for diesel vehicles
Euro IV for heavy duty petrol vehicles such as buses/coaches and HGVs
Euro VI  for heavy duty diesel vehicles such as buses/coaches and HGVs

It is generally the case that diesel engine vehicles registered after September 2015, and petrol vehicles registered from 2006 onwards will meet the required LEZ standards.

Transport Scotland have prepared a basic online vehicle checker to help you understand if your vehicle can enter a Low Emission Zone in Scotland.

Electric Vehicles:

Fully electric vehicles comply with LEZ requirements in Scotland.

If you are thinking of switching to electric, you might be eligible for a grant or loan to help you buy - see the Energy Saving Trust website for more information.

Are any vehicles unaffected/exempt?

Motorcycles and mopeds are unaffected by LEZ schemes in Scotland.

Certain vehicle types are also exempt from LEZ emission requirements in Scotland - these are set out in detail below: 

Vehicles for Disabled Persons:

  • the vehicle is being driven by any person who is in receipt of a badge (a blue badge) that has been issued under section 21(2) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970,
  • a passenger in the vehicle has been issued with a badge under that section of that Act, or
  • a badge for the vehicle has been issued under section 21(4) of that Act,
  • a reduction in annual rate of vehicle excise duty applies because the vehicle is being used by a disabled person in receipt of personal independence payment at the standard rate, or
  • Vehicles registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class e.g. the vehicle is exempt from payment of vehicle excise duty under paragraph 19(1) or 20(1) of schedule 2 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (exemptions from excise duty for vehicles used by disabled persons).

Blue badges are assigned to a person, not a vehicle, so a blue badge holder could travel in any vehicle and the rules of the blue badge would need to be applied to that vehicle on that day of travel. We are working with Transport Scotland on the matter of how exemptions for blue badge holders will operate in practice.  Once all details are finalised, these will be publicised well in advance of the LEZ  enforcement.

Emergency Vehicles:

The vehicle is being driven by any person who is:

  • undertaking their duty as a constable
  • providing a response to an emergency at the request of the Scottish Ambulance Service Board
  • exercising the functions of the Scottish Ambulance Service Board, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Her Majesty's Coastguard or the National Crime Agency

Naval, Military or Air Force Vehicles:

  • vehicles being used for naval, military or air force purposes

Historic Vehicles:

  • the vehicle was manufactured, or registered under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, for the first time at least 30 years ago
  • the vehicle is no longer in production, and
  • the vehicle has been historically preserved or maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components.

Showmans Vehicles:

Vehicles described as either "showman's goods vehicle" or "showman's vehicle" according to section 62(1) of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. Note: these are highly specialised vehicles used for the purposes of travelling showmen, where the vehicle is used during the performance, used for the purpose of providing the performance or used for carrying performance equipment

 

Time-Limited (Temporary) Local Exemptions

The council can issue 'time-limited' (temporary) exemptions to Glasgow's LEZ in respect of specific vehicle types/categories.

It is proposed that Glasgow's LEZ does not include such general exemptions however a mechanism will be put in place whereby exemptions may be granted in advance of entry for exceptional circumstances. This may be granted for one-off entry by specialist vehicles for example, or for a specialist purpose.

Temporary exemptions will not be considered for general travel or commercial operations

What about fully electric vehicles?

Fully electric vehicles comply with LEZ requirements in Scotland.

If you are thinking of switching to electric, you might be eligible for a grant or loan to help you buy.

Find out more by visiting the Energy Saving Trust webpages.

I live within the LEZ boundary - do I have extra time to prepare?

Enforcement for private vehicles registered to a residential address within the zone will commence on 1 June 2024

A letter to raise early awareness of this extra time to comply (known as a grace period) was issued to zone residents in August 2021:

pdf icon Letter issued to LEZ zone area residents - August 2021 [232kb]

For information, Glasgow's LEZ covers an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east:  

Glasgow LEZ - Phase 2 boundary map

What are the penalties?

Set at national level by the Scottish Government for consistency, the initial penalty charge for all non-compliant vehicles entering a Low Emission Zone in Scotland will be £60 - reduced by 50% if it is paid within 14 days.

A surcharge is also proposed whereby the penalty amount doubles with each subsequent breach of the rules detected in the same LEZ.

The penalty charges are capped at £480 for cars and light goods vehicles, and £960 for buses and HGVs.

Where there are no further breaches of the rules detected within the 90 days following a previous violation, the surcharge rate is reset to the base tier of charge i.e. £60.

Legislation states that penalties will be used to support the air quality objectives of the Low Emission Zones.

Is there any funding support available?

Practical, targeted assistance from the Scottish Government to help prepare for the introduction of Low Emission Zones in Scotland has included funding for households, micro-businesses, and a separate retrofit fund including support for taxi drivers.

Funding is again available in 2022, with further information available on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Interest-free loans are also available through the Energy Saving Trust for purchasing e-bikes, electric vehicles, and home charging points.

To reflect the impact of the pandemic on the uptake of the retrofitting scheme - taxi operators who can demonstrate by early 2023 that they have applied for retrofitting grants, are awaiting vehicle conversion work or are in the process of purchasing a compliant vehicle will be able to run their business without penalty should their taxi not yet be compliant by the time the LEZ becomes enforceable. 

How will the LEZ operate/be enforced?

LEZs in Scotland will operate continuously - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used (linked to a national vehicle licencing database) to monitor vehicles driving in our Low Emission Zone. They will detect vehicles which do not comply with the required emission standards.

Please note that the council may temporarily suspend the operation of Glasgow's LEZ for a specified period where it is considered appropriate to do so for the purposes of a significant national or local event. A temporary suspension may also be issued in relation to a temporary diversion into the LEZ, where vehicles follow the signed diversionary route.

How will I know I'm driving into the LEZ area?

Roadside signage will be installed to let drivers know when they are entering Glasgow's Low Emission Zone. Positioning of signs will take account of the need for those who do not wish to enter the zone to take an alternative route.

To raise early awareness, indicative LEZ signage has been in position at several key entry points into Glasgow city centre since 2018.

What about consultation?

Initial Consultation (March 2020):

To help shape the Phase 2 design of Glasgow's LEZ, the council ran its first consultation in 2020, with responses invited on details including boundary options and grace periods. The findings were independently reviewed and summarised:

Statutory Consultation (September 2021):

LEZ emission standards, penalty charges and exemptions have all been decided at national level, however the council is able to determine the shape, size and scope of our LEZ, based on local requirements. 

Proposals for the design and operation of Glasgow's LEZ Phase 2 were drawn up and consulted upon in summer/autumn 2021, with almost 3,000 responses received.

Following the ESCR Committee on 23 November 2021 where the findings of the public consultation were noted, details of the final Phase 2 scheme design were published in December 2021. 

During the period of publication, formal objections to Glasgow's LEZ scheme could be registered. A report summarising these objections was published on 7 March 2022 and noted by the council's Environment Committee. Whilst all objections were considered, the pressing need to address the negative health impacts arising from air pollution, combined with the practical support that has been made available to those most affected, resulted  in no further changes to the proposed design of Glasgow's LEZ.

The final LEZ scheme design was approved by the council's City Administration Committee on 10 March 2022.

Formal consent was subsequently provided by Scottish Ministers to the council making and operating a LEZ in Glasgow city centre.

What else are you doing to reduce air pollution?

To complement the introduction of Glasgow's LEZ, a wide range of work is underway in our city to improve air quality.

This would include encouraging higher levels of active and sustainable travel, driving up standards in public transport and reducing reliance on private vehicles. 

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