New funding for Low Emission Zone should drive higher ambition
Commenting on the confirmation that the Scottish Government will fund nearly £8m of bus upgrades for Glasgow, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Director Dr Richard Dixon said:
“This is good news for the people of Glasgow. We have been seeking clarification for months over funding for the Low Emission Zone in Glasgow. Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh will all benefit but the lion’s share will go to Glasgow for the first Low Emission Zone in Scotland. £8m will allow hundreds of buses to have their exhausts upgraded to meet the latest air pollution standards, which means Glasgow City Council can now plan to deliver clean air in the city much faster than the current draft proposals.”
The Scottish Government suggest that £8m will pay to upgrade 300 buses but using the current cost of doing exactly the same upgrade in London more like 450 buses could be upgraded. With at least 15% of the fleet already at the top standard, this funding could mean 75% of the city centre bus fleet could be at the top standard by spring of next year. This compares with a target of only 20% in the draft plan.
“The Scottish Government has a target of delivering clean air in Scotland by 2020 and this funding will ensure that Glasgow can take a great leap forward in reducing pollution in the city’s streets and the current annual death toll of 300 people. Glasgow City Council will be voting to finalise their plans for the Low Emission Zone in a couple of weeks and this funding means we will be looking for high ambition in getting to 100% of the cleanest buses in the city.”
Notes to Editors
1. Scottish Government press release: https://news.gov.scot/news/cleaner-air-for-scotland
2. FoE criticised the weak draft plan from Glasgow City Council 10 days ago: https://foe.scot/press-release/glasgow-endorses-weak-air-pollution-plans/
3. LEZs were first proposed in 2015, the SNP 2016 Scottish Election manifesto promised a Low Emission Zone by 2018. The Glasgow SNP promised an LEZ for the city in their 2017 council election manifesto. In September 2017 the Government confirmed the first LEZ would be in Glasgow and there there would be further Zones in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh by 2020.
4. FoES briefing on LEZs: https://foe.scot/campaign/air-pollution/what-is-a-lez/
5. 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.