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Low Emission Zones: A positive step, but support for Local Authorities is vital

Published 06 September 2017 by Jamie Wylie

Yesterday’s Programme for Government revealed a welcome commitment to establish a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee by 2020. This was today followed up with an announcement from Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and the Islands, of a new consultation on LEZs.

LEZs are one of the most effective tools in tackling air pollution and are desperately needed in Scotland to tackle illegal levels of air quality in many of Scotland’s urban areas.

Commenting on the new commitment to introduce four LEZs, Transform Scotland Director Colin Howden said:

We welcome the commitment to introduce LEZs in Scotland’s four biggest cities by 2020. Along with the commitment to phase out the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2032, this will be vital in tackling the illegal levels of air pollution in Scotland’s towns and cities.

LEZs have worked in hundreds of other towns and cities across Europe, and it is time now for Scotland to catch up. However, if the Scottish Government puts all the responsibility for taking action on to Local Authorities, we see little likelihood of success.

“The Scottish Ministers should financially support Local Authorities so that introducing LEZs is a coordinated effort. If the necessary support isn’t provided by the Scottish Government, Local Authorities would bear all of the financial burden at a time when their budgets are already severely constrained. This would put the successful establishment of LEZs and the improvement of air quality at risk.