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Scotland has introduced its first Low Emission Zone – and locals are furious

The policy will affect more than 730,000 vehicles in the country

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

In an effort to combat air pollution, Glasgow has officially introduced a new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for cars and vans. The move is a first for Scotland and other areas are expected to follow suit, but residents aren’t exactly happy about the news. 

The LEZ stretches across Glasgow’s city centre and came into place on June 1, restricting older vehicles not deemed ‘green’ enough from travelling within the designated zone.

The crackdown is due to mainly impact those who own diesel vehicles registered before September 2015 and petrol vehicles registered before 2006. That accounts for more than 730,000 cars, vans, buses and lorries in the country. Motorbikes, mopeds, ambulances, police cars and fire engines are exempt.

While the LEZs are intended to protect the environment, they’re also pretty controversial, often forcing people to spend money on new cars. Others argue that it will affect the income of cab drivers who use older vehicles as well as that of businesses in the city centre.

‘People are in for a shock when the LEZs come into force,’ said Brian Gregory, of the Alliance of British Drivers. ‘Thousands of drivers will need to sell their car and buy a new one or face huge fines. How is this good for the environment?’

Luke Bosdet, a spokesperson for AA’s motoring policy unit, said: ‘Most residents have little or no chance of affording a replacement.’

Number plate recognition cameras have been put in place to scan each vehicle entering the area. If drivers in a banned vehicle enter the LEZ they will face a £60 charge, which will be cut to £30 if paid within a fortnight or doubled with each subsequent breach of the rules.

Glasgow City Council said the measure is a necessary step in tackling air pollution in the city, which has been over the legal requirement for ‘green’ environmental targets for a while now. 

Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee are expected to impose their own LEZs in June 2024. 

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