Scotland’s Low Emission Zones paused

Plans to implement low emission zones across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee have been paused temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The decision has been taken by the Low Emission Zone Leadership Group, which includes Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and representatives from the four local authorities, Public Health Scotland & SEPA.

It will provide an opportunity to consider the kind of transport systems we want to see return to our cities after COVID-19.

Low Emission Zones were expected to be implemented across Scotland’s four cities later this year.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to tackling air pollution in the quickest time possible. The unprecedented impact of the COVID–19 outbreak has resulted in necessary changes to priorities across government and across our local authority partners. Similar to other initiatives across public sector, we have come to the view that introducing low emission zones across our four biggest cities by the end of 2020 is no longer practicable.

“We remain dedicated to introducing Low Emission Zones across Scotland’s four biggest cities to improve air quality and protect public health. Local authorities share this ambition and Scotland’s first LEZ in Glasgow has been in place since 2018. LEZ planning within local authorities will continue, the development of regulations is ongoing and funding to support businesses and individuals prepare for LEZs remains unchanged.

“Given the recent uptake in active travel and air quality levels we are going to take the opportunity to review how Low Emission Zones can be designed and how our cities might witness a green recovery transformation in tandem with the COVID-19 recovery plans. We must be bold in our actions to reset the system to meet our climate change ambitions, reduce inequalities, improve our health and wellbeing and deliver sustainable economic growth.”