Cleaner air for city centre as LEZ enforcement is two months away

A map of the Aberdeen LEZ area

A CONSULTANT at NHS Grampian welcomed the forthcoming low emission zone (LEZ) as it will help to improve air quality and reduce harmful air pollution which will benefit people’s health.

As part of a Scottish Government programme, LEZs are being introduced in Scotland’s four biggest cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen.

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The objective of introducing these LEZs is to tackle air pollution in city centres, mainly nitrogen dioxide, caused by road traffic. About 85% of vehicles will be compliant with the Aberdeen LEZ by the time enforcement starts on 1 June 2024 and people can enter their vehicle registration number on the website for Scotland’s Low Emission Zones to confirm if their vehicle will comply.

Phil Mackie, consultant in public health for NHS Grampian who also leads on preventing harms to human health for Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The World Health Organisation has identified air pollution as one of the greatest threats to human health because it causes ill health and makes existing poor health worse. Air pollution contributes towards millions of early deaths every year worldwide and is a major contributor to climate change. Government policies helped to improve air quality when they were introduced in the 1970s, and we need to continue to do everything we can now.

“Particulate matter (which comes from diesel engines), as well as vehicle gas emissions (such as nitrogen dioxide) cause the biggest harm and the more vehicle emissions you have in one place the higher the risk to human – and wider – health. It’s important to remember the impact poor air quality has on our economy. It increases medical costs, it has been shown to reduce productivity, it damages soil, crops, forests, lakes, and rivers.

“Addressing this means preventing harmful engines coming together in our cities and thinking about how we can reduce pollution in other ways too. It’s something we can and should take action on and that’s why I’m very much supportive of these low emission zones.”

Blue badge holders are exempt from all Scottish LEZs and they should register their details with the LEZ exemption system on the national website so that the vehicle they are travelling in can access all the low emission zones in Scotland.

In Aberdeen, boundary signage for the Aberdeen LEZ has already been installed and warning signage is due to be installed in the next few weeks. Cameras are also to start to be installed although people will not be fined until 1 June 2024.

Motorists driving non-compliant vehicles in the area from that date will be given a fine although there are exemptions including the blue badge holders. Other classes of vehicle which are exempt include emergency services, naval, military or air force vehicles, historic vehicles, showman vehicles, and motorbikes and mopeds.

The LEZ in Aberdeen will also help the city reach its climate change targets by reducing road transport’s contribution to emissions and prioritising active and sustainable transport movement.

The LEZ was technically introduced in Aberdeen 2022 with a two year ’grace’ period which means between 2022 and 1 June 2024, drivers will not be fined for entering the LEZ with a non-compliant vehicle. People can find out which streets are in the Aberdeen LEZ at Roads within low emission zone boundary | Aberdeen City Council

More information about LEZs in Scotland including the vehicle checker can be found at Low Emission Zones Scotland | Transport Scotland

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