Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone is now in force.
The City Council says the scheme, which effectively excludes the most polluting vehicles from the city centre, “protects public health by tackling unacceptably high levels of harmful air pollution that have stubbornly persisted in areas of the zone”.
All vehicles entering Glasgow’s LEZ now must meet the less-polluting emission standards or face a penalty charge.
Glasgow’s LEZ is the first to come into force in Scotland. It follows the initial, bus-only phase of the scheme which, since 2018 has seen a year-on-year improvement in the proportion of low or zero emission buses servicing the city centre.
Cllr Angus Millar, Convener for Climate and Transportsaid: “I am proud that Glasgow has fully rolled out the first of Scotland’s Low Emission Zones, joining hundreds of cities across Europe who have introduced similar initiatives in ensuring cleaner, more breathable air.
“Glasgow has made great strides in tackling air pollution in recent years, thanks in no small part to the success of the first phase of our LEZ, which has led to all buses running through our city centre meeting the less-polluting emission standards. But we still have stubbornly high air pollution levels in the city centre, which have been in breach of legal limits for decades now, and that poor air quality is actively harming Glaswegians’ health; creating and exacerbating people’s health conditions and the city’s health inequalities, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.
“While the vast majority – up to 90% – of vehicles currently entering the city centre will be unaffected, the LEZ standards will address the small minority of vehicles which pollute the most, disproportionately creating the harmful concentrations of air pollution. And by ensuring cleaner air, we can create a safer and more pleasant experience for everyone who lives, works and visits Glasgow city centre.”
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition Màiri McAllan said: “I’m pleased to welcome the wider enforcement of Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone in Glasgow. Air pollution from vehicles disproportionally impacts the most vulnerable in our society. It causes the most damage to the youngest, the oldest and people with pre-existing medical conditions. LEZs are an important tool in protecting public health and improving air quality – while at the same time protecting our environment by reducing harmful emissions and encouraging a shift to more sustainable transport.
“With the LEZ enforcing buses since 2018, Glasgow has already seen improved air quality. I look forward to welcoming further improvements in air quality through this wider enforcement – with Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh following next year.”
Gareth Brown, Chair of Healthy Air Scotland and Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Asthma + Lung UK Scotland added: “With 1 in 5 Scots developing a lung condition like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in their lifetime, for them, air pollution can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks and flare-ups.
“Air pollution in Glasgow is shockingly 4.5x World Health Organisation (WHO) levels, so it is clear that we need to make tackling air pollution a national priority with Low Emission Zones just the start.
“Our cities must be redesigned to be far healthier places, where people can walk and cycle and not forced to breathe in toxic levels of air.”
(Picture – Glasgow City Council)