More than a million vehicles set to be banned from driving in Scottish city centres

More than a million vehicles set to be banned from driving in Scottish city centres
New Low Emission Zones in Scotland are set to be introduced within the next month – meaning that more than a million vehicles will be banned from four of the country’s major cities.

Following the introduction of the Glasgow LEZ in late 2023, Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh are set to follow with their own LEZs.

The move by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to expand the number of zones will mean that 1,078,580 vehicles that are registered in Scotland will be unable to drive through four of its biggest cities.

Dundee’s zone will be the first new zone to be introduced on May 30th 2024.

Heather Anderson convener of the Dundee Council’s climate, environment and biodiversity department said: “This is a major change in the way people will access areas of the city within the Inner Ring Road, but we must remember that only the worst polluting vehicles will be excluded and there is still time for people to make changes before enforcement starts.

“Information on the support that is available for households and business to help them meet the LEZ requirements is available on our website.”

This will be followed by Aberdeen and Edinburgh just two days later on June 1st.

A spokesperson for Aberdeen’s Let’s Clear the Air said: “With just four weeks to go until the LEZ becomes operational, this is a good opportunity to remind motorists to double check if their vehicle is compliant and plan ahead if they are among the small percentage that will no longer be eligible to drive in the zone.

“Clearly marked routes and online videos will show motorists how to navigate their way around the city centre, safe in the knowledge that we’re ‘clearing the air’.

“The overarching aim is to help make the city centre a cleaner, greener, healthier and more attractive place in which to live, work and play, while still being accessible to all and with clear health benefits for residents, visitors and future generations.”

Scott Arthur, City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport Convener, said: “Our information campaign started two years ago to give people time to get ready, and to avoid penalties when enforcement begins.”

Vehicle owners can check whether they are compliant at LEZ Scotland.

Where is the Dundee LEZ?

The Dundee Low Emission Zone Scheme can be found within the A991 Inner Ring Road, excluding the Bell Street, West Marketgait NCP, and Wellgate car parks.

Find out more about the Dundee Low Emission Zone here.

Where is the Aberdeen LEZ?

Aberdeen’s Low Emission Zone covers a small area in the centre of the city.

The northern boundary is Skene Street, School Hill, Upper Kirkgate and Littlejohn Street; North Street and Commerce Street to the east; Virginia Street, Guild Street, College Street, and Willowbank Road to the south; and Rose Street, Thistle Street; and Holborn Street to the west.

Read here for more on the Aberdeen Low Emission Zone.

Where is the Edinburgh LEZ?

The LEZ in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh covers a sizeable area of the city centre.

According to the council website, the boundary circles the city centre from Tollcross in the south, to Palmerston Place in the west, along Queen Street in the New Town, to Picardy Place, around Abbeyhill and onto Holyrood Road, along the Pleasance in the east, before heading back along the Meadows to Tollcross.

The Council revealed that the boundary itself is not within the zone and that all types of vehicles may drive around the boundary.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Drivers in Dundee should be prepared for Low Emission Zone (LEZ) enforcement from this Thursday, while those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh will be impacted from Saturday.

"Drivers with a diesel car registered before 2016 need to check if their vehicle is liable for the daily charge. Meanwhile, most petrol cars registered prior to 2006 will also have to pay the fee. The best advice to drivers is to use Scotland’s Low Emission Zone checker to see if their vehicle is compliant. There are some exemptions, for instance for Blue Badge holders and owners of historic vehicles, although it may be necessary to apply for the exemption to avoid having to pay the charge.

“All Scotland’s LEZs use the same penalty charge structure, which means that if motorists fail to pay the daily charge, they’ll instead face a fine which starts at £60 but gets progressively higher for future breaches. 

“While motorists were given a two-year grace period to prepare for these new LEZ enforcements, it’s important to realise they’ve had 24 months of extremely high fuel prices, an ongoing cost-of-living crisis and insurance premiums at an all-time high, making it very challenging for drivers of older vehicles to upgrade. 

"Those on low incomes who live within 12 miles of a LEZ boundary may be eligible for a grant of up to £3,000, so it’s well worth checking the Energy Saving Trust’s website.” 

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