Con­cern over timescale for clean-air zones in cities

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY CALUM ROSS

An in­flu­en­tial group of MSPs has raised con­cerns about the tight timescale for im­ple­ment­ing low emis­sion zones (LEZs) in Aberdeen, Dundee, Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow.

Mem­bers of Holy­rood’s En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee said they sup­ported the move but ques­tioned whether coun­cils had the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial re­sources for them to be fully op­er­a­tional.

The com­mit­tee held an in­quiry to ex­am­ine the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s 2015 Cleaner Air for Scot­land Strat­egy.

Scot­land’s first LEZ is due to be up and run­ning in Glas­gow by the end of the year with zones in place in Aberdeen, Dundee and Ed­in­burgh by 2020.

Un­der the scheme, lor­ries, vans and buses which did not meet emis­sion stan­dards could be fined for driv­ing within the des­ig­nated area.

But the re­port said that even if the zones were in place by the dead­lines “they will not be en­forced for a num­ber of years” which might cause con­fu­sion, par­tic­u­larly for bus op­er­a­tors and small freight firms.

MSPs called for a progress up­date by the end of June 2018 along with an in­di­ca­tion “of the date of which they will be en­force­able”.

The re­port said com­pli­ance with the pro­posed LEZs would come “at a sig­nif­i­cant cost” and more de­tail was needed of the in­volved.

Com­mit­tee con­vener Graeme Dey MSP said: “While we recog­nise that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has am­bi­tious tar­gets to tackle pol­lu­tion, we have ques­tions on whether the nec­es­sary sup­port is go­ing to be in place to achieve these.

“For ex­am­ple, while we sup­port low emis­sion zones and the phas­ing out of cars to stop toxic and traf­fic-choked streets, we are seek­ing clar­ity on how this will be de­liv­ered.” es­ti­mates

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