Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, has said that 95.5% of respondents to a consultation support the principle of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to help improve air quality.
The analysis of responses to Transport Scotland’s consultation “Building Scotland’s Low Emission Zones’ was published yesterday (Wednesday, March 13).
The consultation asked key questions relating to the design of LEZs in Scotland and responses will help inform national standards and the development of supporting legislation.
Yousaf said: “This is another important step in delivering our vision for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe. This consultation has given the public, businesses and transport operators the platform to share their views on important issues relating to the scope and lead-in times for LEZs.
“These zones will improve air quality, tackle congestion and help improve our urban environments, however, it is critical that this is done in a consistent manner and in partnership with local authorities, industry and regional transport partnerships.
“To that end, I am delighted that this important consultation received close to one thousand responses from a variety of sectors, with 95.5% of respondents supporting the principle of LEZs to help improve air quality in Scotland.
“This government has made a bold commitment to introducing LEZs into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020.”
Yousaf stated that local authorities should be ambitious in their LEZ designs and consider all vehicles for inclusion with appropriate lead in times to enforcement, for both buses and private vehicles.
He continued: “Clear national guidance is critical, and the Government aims to enable decriminalised enforcement and ensure a consistent approach in our four biggest cities and beyond.”
Low Emission Zones are a form of vehicle access regulation which sets an environmental limit on certain road spaces, to improve air quality by allowing access to only the cleanest vehicles, particularly at locations where there is public exposure.
The Scottish Government has committed to introduce LEZs into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020, and into all other Air Quality Management Areas by 2023, where the National Low Emissions Framework supports this approach.
In total, 967 responses were received to the consultation. There was a high level of consensus among respondents with 95.5% supporting the principle of LEZs to help improve air quality in Scotland
Almost two-thirds (62.3%) of respondents agreed with the proposed minimum mandatory Euro emission criteria for Scottish LEZs.
The proposed minimum criteria as set out in the consultation document is Euro 6 for diesel cars, Euro 4 for petrol cars and Euro VI for buses (including older retrofitted engines which would be improved to operate as Euro VI).
The views provided showed that the most popular suggestion was for LEZs to operate 24 hours, 7 days a week. The views provided also showed a high level of consensus with 91.6% in favour of using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to enforce LEZs. Those who disagreed had privacy concerns with the use of ANPR.