Work towards a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) scheme in Edinburgh is well underway, with the first phase proposed to take effect later this year.
Progress made toward introducing a Low Emisson Zone
A report to the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday (27 February) updates members on progress and recommends the introduction of a LEZ applying to buses in 2020, as well as providing a response to Transport Scotland’s consultation on LEZ regulations and guidance.
The Council is seeking to implement an ambitious LEZ using regulations and guidance currently under public consultation by Transport Scotland. The regulations, which will address the operation of LEZs, their enforcement and penalties applied, are not expected to be complete and available for use until the end of 2020.
In order to implement the LEZ project with immediate effect, the report recommends the Council develops a proposal to the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland to introduce and enforce LEZs for buses. This would allow Edinburgh to ensure bus operators are making the necessary improvements to their fleets to address air quality issues.
Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said:
Introducing LEZs is crucial to our plans to tackle poor air quality in the city and its negative impact on health and wellbeing. This is only the first step in addressing air pollution through LEZs, and the Council still fully intends to introduce a comprehensive LEZ addressing emissions from other vehicle types.
Public transport is, of course, key to our broader vision for environmentally-friendly, efficient transport in Edinburgh, and we will work with bus operators to help them to adjust to these changes. As such, we’re currently delivering more than £2 million of improvements to support bus priority across the city.
Support for bus companies
Work to support bus priority, which has been funded by the Scottish Government, includes bus lane enforcement cameras, a real time information system for bus services serving Edinburgh, new bus shelters and the installation and upgrade of bus signal priority at various junctions.
Committee is being asked to approve a draft response to Transport Scotland’s consultation, which is broadly supportive, though has identified some areas on which it intends to work with Transport Scotland to develop. Following the completion of several workstreams, a revised LEZ scheme will be reported to Committee in September 2020.
Working with businesses to adapt to changes
Engagement with affected residents and businesses is continuing, including a breakfast event held to provide information and support to small and medium-sized businesses operating in Edinburgh. This attracted more than 80 attendees, who heard from the Transport Convener alongside representatives from Transport Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Energy Savings Trust.
Transport and Environment Committee will consider Edinburgh Low Emission Zone – regulations and guidance consultation response and programme update on Thursday, 27 February. Read the full report on the Council website.