Glasgow City Council is expected to finalise its Low Emission Zone scheme tomorrow  (Thursday 14 June), as environmental campaigners criticise the plans for failing to go far enough to deliver clean air as soon as possible. Nine health and environmental campaign groups and over 350 members of the public have signed an open letter calling on the Council to show greater ambition with their proposed Low Emission Zone.

Air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland Emilia Hanna said,
“The people of Glasgow need an ambitious, effective Low Emission Zone to cut toxic air pollution as soon as possible, but once again the Council has gone backwards to a plan for a ‘No Ambition Zone’.

“In March, hundreds of people protested Glasgow City Council’s draft proposals and in response the plans were slightly improved as Councillors at the Environment Committee. But the current version seeks to undo the good work of that Committee, with restrictions on dirty cars, vans, taxis and lorries only kicking in at the end of December 2022, twelve years after the legal deadline for clean air. The plans will condemn people in city to have illegal levels of air pollution for years to come.

“Glasgow Councillors still have a chance to rescue this Low Emission Zone at Committee. The Councillors must show their intention to phase out dirty buses in the city centre more quickly than currently planned, and must stick with the proposal passed at the Environment Committee in March that the Zone come into force against all vehicles by April 2021.

“Glasgow residents have been forced put up with toxic air pollution for years so the Council cannot afford further dither and delay. A legal deadline for clean air lapsed back in 2010. There should be no more kicking the issue into the long grass, we need decisive action from the Council which sees all the dirtiest vehicles out of the city centre as soon as feasibly possible. The prospect of our children, and the health of the city, depends on a bold, strong, Low Emission Zone which sets a strong standard for the rest of Scotland.

Notes to Editors

  1. Agenda for City Administration Committee meeting on Thurs 14 June 2018 http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/Agenda.asp?meetingid=15555
  2. The open letter can be found at https://foe.scot/resource/letter-glasgow-lez/
  3. In March, Labour, Greens and Conservative backed amendments which brought forward the date of inclusion for all vehicles in the LEZ by 20 months to April 2021. There was also support for the introduction of road-user charging. This is when vehicles have to pay to access certain areas of the city and could be a great tool to cut pollution and congestion. Bus firms who don’t comply with emissions standards will now also face penalties from the outset. More in this blog https://foe.scot/glasgows-no-ambition-zone-wont/
  4. Free to use, print quality photos of an air pollution protest outside Glasgow City Chambers in March are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgcCDZd
  5. Scottish Government clarified that £8million is available for Glagsow bus fleet funding (29 March 2018) https://foe.scot/press-release/new-funding-low-emission-zone-drive-higher-ambition/
  6. In March 2018, Scottish Environment LINK representatives resigned from the Scottish Government’s Governance Group tasked with the implementation of their Air Pollution Strategy. This was in protest at the slow pace of action and the weak proposals for Glasgow LEZ https://foe.scot/press-release/link-resigns-from-cafsgg/
  7. Friends of the Earth Scotland Low Emission Zone briefing (Sep 2017) https://foe.scot/resource/low-emission-zone-briefing/
  8. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
    * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
    * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
    * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.