The Scottish Government’s plan for Low Emission Zones (LEZ) to tackle air pollution in cities needs to be fixed, a parliamentary committee will be told this morning (24/10/18).

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is reviewing the Transport Bill, which sets out the legislation for the creation of the zones. The Committee will hear evidence from a panel of experts on Wednesday morning.

Gavin Thomson, Air Pollution Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, is expected to tell the Committee:

“We welcome the legal basis for creating Low Emission Zones, but we have real concerns that the Zones will make no difference to air pollution, unless significant changes are made to the Transport Bill.

“Current plans are for the Zones to be introduced very slowly, with long grace periods, with the Zones potentially not fully in place until as late as 2026 . To put that length of time in perspective, 20,000 people will die prematurely in Scotland because of air pollution in the next 8 years. Worse than the slow implementation is the ceiling for Local Authorities. The Bill, as it is drafted, prevents councils from acting quicker and ensuring air quality is improved before the middle of the next decade.

“The emission standards being proposed are weak, and do not account for changes we would expect to see over the next 8 years. The Zones are planned for far in the future, while the emissions standards are stuck in the past. The Bill needs fixed to ensure Low Emission Zones make a genuine difference to air quality, meeting legal standards and protecting people’s health”

Notes to Editors

  1. New Research Means 2500 Deaths a Year in Scotland are from Air Pollution
  2. FoE’s submission to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Rural/Friends_of_the_Earth_Scotland_TB.pdf
  3. 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.