Friends of the Earth Scotland has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that Glasgow will be home to Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone as part of her Leader’s speech to the SNP conference this afternoon. The Low Emission Zone is set to reduce the illegal levels of air pollution which have been silently causing premature death and harming health for years in Scotland’s largest city.

Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“Glasgow is the obvious choice for Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone. The LEZ has the potential to improve air quality, drive down climate emissions, and make Glasgow city centre a much more pleasant place for people to live, work, and spend time and money in. Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone should initially restrict the most polluting buses, vans, and lorries from the city centre, with taxis and cars included at a later date.

“Low Emission Zones restrict the most polluting vehicles from the most polluted places, and to have the best chances of tackling harmful pollution, they need to be bold and ambitious. Frustratingly Glasgow City Council has proposed a LEZ which only restricts buses at first, but a Scottish Government consultation on LEZs makes it clear that LEZs should apply restrictions to more than just buses.”

The announcement follows a plan, published by Glasgow City Council last month, to create a Low Emission Zone in the city centre. Over 300 people in Glasgow die early from exposure to fine particle pollution each year. Air pollution levels, which continue to breach safety standards, are linked with asthma, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, diabetes, and have harmful impacts on children and unborn babies. It was recently discovered that exposure to air pollution has effects on babies similar to those of smoking during pregnancy.

Glasgow was named in two court actions for having levels of pollution breaking European legal limits years after a deadline.

Friends of the Earth have been calling for buses, vans, and lorries to be included initially in Low Emission Zones, with taxis and cars included later.

A Low Emission Zone consultation was launched last month, along with a Government announcement that there will be LEZs in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow by 2020, with others possibly to follow. There are over 250 LEZs across Europe.



1. Sturgeon’s expected announcement has been trailed by the Evening Times: www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/15585746.Glasgow_wins_race_to_set_up_first_Low_Emission_Zone_in_Scotland/

2. FoES guide to Low Emission Zones: https://foe.scot/campaign/air-pollution/what-is-a-lez/

3. Glasgow City Council’s report can be found here: www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=85137

4. Scottish Government Press Release 6/9/17 ‘Consultation launched on Building Scotland’s Low Emission Zones’ news.gov.scot/news/consultation-launched-on-building-scotlands-low-emission-zones

5. The 2017/18 Programme for Government can be found at www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/09/8468

6. Levels of air pollution across several parts of Scotland continue to break European legal limits and Scottish standards years after a legal deadline: https://foe.scot/press-release/scotland-s-most-polluted-streets-revealed-5-new-pollution-zones-declared/ Glasgow has been named in several legal actions for failing to comply with EU limits on air quality.

7. Exposure to fine particle air pollution (PM2.5) causes over 300 early deaths in Glasgow each year, and over 2000 early deaths across Scotland according to Public Health England: see Table 3, p 20: www.gov.uk/government/news/estimates-of-mortality-in-local-authority-areas-associated-with-air-pollution

8. Glasgow SNP’s manifesto commitments on transport can be found at https://snpforglasgow.scot/manifesto/transport/. They have promised to establish a Low Emission Zone in the city.

9. 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 5,000 local activist groups.