Scotland paves way for Low Emission Zones
The Scottish Government is pushing ahead with plans to introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZs) and a long-awaited ban on pavement parking under its Transport (Scotland) Bill.
The government has committed to introducing LEZs into Scotland’s four biggest cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – between 2018 and 2020, and the Bill enables their creation and civil enforcement by local authorities.
Published following public consultation, the Bill will allow the Scottish Government to set national standards on areas including emissions, penalties, certain exemptions and parameters for grace periods for such zones.
It follows the publication of the Air Quality report in February from the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, in which the Committee expressed its support for LEZs but said it had concerns on the tight timescale to get these up and running and also questioned whether local authorities have the technical and financial resources to ensure they are fully operational by 2018 and beyond.
Glasgow will be the first city to introduce a LEZ, which goes live at the start of next year. However, the council recently came under fire for its latest proposals for a Low Emission Zone, which were labelled as “incoherent, ill-considered and unworkable” ahead of the zone’s planned introduction at the start of next year.
Proposed measures in the Transport (Scotland) Bill would also prohibit double parking and parking on pavements and give local authorities the powers needed to enforce this important change – leading to calls for common sense to prevail.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “There are instances, particularly on narrow residential streets, where motorists believe they are doing the right thing by putting a wheel or two on the kerb so not to impede road access for other vehicles while also making sure they leave adequate space for those using the pavement and particularly wheelchair users.
“All eyes will now be on a set of standards and guidance that the Scottish Government will produce for local authorities which we hope will also be clear for motorists to understand. It’s important that common sense prevails over what is and isn’t acceptable.”
Other measures in the Bill would see smart ticketing technology standardised across the country and the regulation of road works improved.