Plans to implement low emission zones in four Scottish cities have been paused temporarily in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Scottish Government has announced.
In September 2017, the Scottish Government committed to the introduction of low emission zones (LEZs) in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee by the end of 2020.
In 2018, Glasgow’s LEZ went live – in a move the city council said would make the city centre ‘more pleasant and attractive’ for those living, working and visiting.
Glasgow City Council has adopted a phased approach to implementation and by the end of 2022, the emission standards required to enter Glasgow’s LEZ will apply to all vehicles.
However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision has been taken by the Low Emission Zone Leadership Group – which includes transport secretary Michael Matheson – to delay introduction in the remaining cities.
The group hopes in doing so, they will have an opportunity to ‘consider the kind of transport systems we want to see return to our cities after Covid-19’.
The Scottish Government says it is fully committed to tackling air pollution in the quickest time possible.
Michael Matheson said: “The unprecedented impact of the Covid–19 outbreak has resulted in necessary changes to priorities across government and across our local authority partners.
“Similar to other initiatives, we have come to the view that introducing low emission zones across our four biggest cities by the end of 2020 is no longer practicable.
“We remain dedicated to introducing Low Emission Zones across Scotland’s four biggest cities to improve air quality and protect public health. Local authorities share this ambition and Scotland’s first LEZ in Glasgow has been in place since 2018.
“LEZ planning within local authorities will continue, the development of regulations is ongoing and funding to support businesses and individuals prepare for LEZs remains unchanged.”