Aberdeen LEZ campaigners “finally get the right info” after council co-leader’s claims thrown out

06/06/2024

A North East MSP has welcomed a Scottish Minister’s verdict that Aberdeen City Council can “make amendments to, or revoke” elements of the controversial LEZ.

At Holyrood today, Liam Kerr asked the SNP’s transport secretary to adjudicate concerns over the implementation of Aberdeen’s low emission zones, which started enforcement on June 1.

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Council co-leader Ian Yuill had previously claimed the council would be “in breach” of legislation if it did not implement the LEZ as is, and “the LEZ is a Scottish Government requirement”. 

But cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop said: 

“The local authority has flexibility in determining the geographical area, type of vehicles within scope, length of grace periods and the granting of local time limited exemptions. 

“The local authority has the power to vary the hours of operation away from the default position of 24/7. 

“The local authority may also make amendments to or revoke a LEZ, subject to approval by Scottish Ministers.”

North East MSP Mr Kerr previously raised concerns about implementation of the LEZ on behalf of residents.

The Scottish Conservative said today that locals, businesses and visitors to the city have “finally got the right info” about the scheme.

He said:

“People in Aberdeen and the wider North East have today had their suspicions confirmed. Finally they’ve got the right info and it’s on the official record.

“Aberdeen City Council can change the scope and conditions of the LEZ, and have had the time to do so since May 2022 when its terms were sent to the Scottish Government.

“The minister knows the council leadership has closed ranks on this issue and pointed members of the public towards the Scottish Government. So any review of this scheme will be keenly watched by businesses in the weeks and months ahead.”

In April, a poll of over 2,700 respondents found 90.1% opposed to the LEZ, while 88.9% said they will be less likely to visit the city centre due to it. Less than one in 10 people held a positive view of the local authority’s current transport policies.

But Ms Hyslop rejected claims by some city centre businesses and residents that the LEZ will have a negative effect on footfall.

She said:

“Data from Glasgow earlier this year shows that footfall in the city centre was matching the pre COVID levels at weekends, with evening footfall higher than before, indicating the LEZ has had no negative effect. 

“Yes, daytime footfall is slightly down, however that appears to be, in the main, attributable to changed working practices, for example, homeworking – meaning the cities are not as busy during office hours.”

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