Ahead of his statement today (7/12/17) in the Scottish Parliament, Friends of the Earth Scotland have called on the Transport Minister to clarify how Scotland’s Low Emission Zones will be funded.

The Scottish Government committed to have one Low Emission Zone (LEZ) by 2018 in Glasgow, and to work with local authorities to introduce LEZs in our four biggest cities by 2020 and, where necessary, in all other Pollution Zones by 2023.

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said:

“Low Emission Zones are a brilliant opportunity for Scotland to tackle the air pollution crisis that has been dragging on for far too long. Low Emission Zones have been proven to be the single most effective way to tackle dangerous and toxic air. The Scottish Government is to be congratulated on making LEZs a priority for Scotland’s cities and setting an ambitious timetable for their delivery, but promises will be pie in the sky without the necessary funding to set up and deliver LEZs. The Scottish Government needs to set out details of how it will fund LEZs.

“The Scottish Government must provide the bulk of funding for Low Emission Zones and not simply pass the bill onto cash-strapped councils. Low Emission Zones should restrict the most polluting buses, vans, and lorries from polluted areas, including cars and taxis at a later date. The Government should also increase the money available through the Green Bus Fund and extend it to cover bus retrofits.

“There are over 250 LEZs now operational in the rest of Europe, and there are plenty of best practice examples for the Scottish Government to follow, so it must just now get on with the task of making sure we have high quality LEZs in our cities. LEZs must go hand in hand with measures to encourage greater uptake of public transport, and get more people walking and cycling.”


  1. A Ministerial Statement to the Scottish Parliament ‘Improving Scotland’s Air Quality – Putting in Place Scotland’s Low Emission Zones’ is scheduled for 2.30pm on Thursday 7th December. https://bb.parliament.scot/#20171207
  2. You can find free to use, print quality images of people in Edinburgh protesting about air pollution on our Flickr account https://flic.kr/s/aHskiVKDf1
  3. The Scottish Government’s LEZ announcement were made in the 2017 Programme for Government. https://foe.scot/press-release/prog-govt-2017-reaction/
  4. Friends of the Earth Scotland Low Emission Zone Briefing (November 2017) https://foe.scot/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Low-Emission-Zone-Briefing-Updated-Nov-2017.pdf
  5. Scotland still has 38 air pollution zones where Scottish safety standards are being broken. Friends of the Earth produce a list of Scotland’s most polluted streets each January. The 2016 figures are available at https://foe.scot/press-release/scotland-s-most-polluted-streets-revealed-5-new-pollution-zones-declared/
  6. 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.