On the close of a Scottish Government consultation (28/11/17) on Low Emission Zones campaigners have called for strong Low Emission Zones to tackle Scotland’s air pollution crisis. LEZs will be introduced in 2018 in Glasgow, and 2020 in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee in a bid to tackle illegal and toxic air pollution.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said,

“Low Emission Zones can be a life-saving intervention in the fight against deadly air pollution, which kills over 2500 people in Scotland every year. The Scottish Government must fund Low Emission Zones and not pass the bill onto cash strapped councils. Low Emission Zones should restrict the most polluting buses, vans, and lorries from polluted areas, followed by cars and taxis at a later date.

“LEZs operate successfully in hundreds of locations across Europe. London Low Emission Zone has operated for nearly a decade and is being improved into an Ultra LEZ which will include a larger area and more vehicles.

“LEZs must go hand in hand with measures to encourage greater uptake of public transport, and get more people walking and cycling.

Spokes campaigner Dave du Feu said,

“Spokes welcomes the introduction of Low Emission Zones in Scotland, making cities safer and more pleasant for walking, cycling and for generally going about the everyday activity of an urban area.

“We urge the Scottish Government to fully incorporate into Low Emission Zone policy modal shift from motor traffic to cycling, walking, e-bike and cargo bike. Active travel will both benefit from and contribute to LEZ success. It is not enough for the government just to promote shift from fossil vehicles to electric vehicles – people and businesses in urban areas must be shown the option of a complete shift to e-bike or cargo-bike, topped up with car club when a larger vehicle is needed. Electric vehicles are certainly needed for longer trips, heavy loads and other purposes, but they are not pollution-free, with significant pollutants from brake wear and road dust, from current electricity generation and through the whole manufacturing process.

Professor Tom Rye, Director of the Transport Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University said:

“LEZs are a very important and welcome step but, given that they cannot by themselves lead to complete compliance with air quality safety standards, there is a pressing need to implement alongside them demand management for private motor vehicles and improvements for public transport, walking and cycling if legally binding air pollution targets are to be met.”

Irene Johnstone, Head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, said:

“We’re pleased to see progress finally being made on introducing Low Emission Zones in Scotland. However, LEZs are just one part of the solution to improving air quality, which is essential if we are protect the public’s lung health. This is why plans to tackle air quality need to be fully integrated into the new national plan to tackle lung disease.”

You can add your voice to calls for strong Low Emission Zones before the consultation closes


The Scottish Government committed to one Low Emission Zone (LEZ) by 2018 in Glasgow, and have promised 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. They made this announcement in their 2017 Programme for Government. https://foe.scot/press-release/prog-govt-2017-reaction/

This consultation “sets out the proposed arrangements and options to deliver a consistent approach to designing, building and managing Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Scotland. It is an opportunity to shape the guiding principles the Scottish Government will adopt to put in place the first LEZ by 2018.” https://consult.gov.scot/transport-scotland/building-scotlands-low-emission-zones/

Friends of the Earth Scotland Briefing on Low Emission Zone (November 2017) https://foe.scot/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Low-Emission-Zone-Briefing-Updated-Nov-2017.pdf

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/

Spokes is the Lothian Cycle Campaign – a non party political voluntary organisation, founded in 1977, and now with a membership of over 1000. SPOKES has a long history of effective campaigning for better conditions for cyclists, especially in Edinburgh and the Lothians: www.spokes.org.uk/

The British Lung Foundation Scotland
*support people who have lung disease, their families and carers.
*work with other organisations, such as voluntary groups, the NHS, and the Scottish Parliament to improve services across Scotland.
*raise awareness of lung disease at a local and national level.
*campaign to make lung disease a priority for the Scottish Government. https://www.blf.org.uk/what-we-do/scotland

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.