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The lowdown on Scotland’s new low emission zones

Find out about new low emissions zones, if your business is affected and what support might be available to help you adapt

With a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles due to come into effect from 2030, Scottish local authorities are doing their part to promote clean air in towns and cities across the country.

To address the higher levels of air pollution, four low emissions zones (LEZs) have been introduced to support those living and working in the cities to benefit from lower air pollution.


What are low emission zones?

LEZs are geographic areas where access for the most polluting vehicles is restricted. This is done to combat local air pollution from vehicle emissions, tackling both poor air quality and climate change.

They offer several health, environmental and economic benefits, including:

  • Protecting public health by improving air quality, which has benefits for everyone and especially those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions.
  • Encouraging people to choose active travel and public transport, as well as switch to electric vehicles.
  • Improving worker productivity thanks to cleaner air, and making city and town centres more attractive places to work.


What vehicles are affected?

Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards set for a LEZ will be penalised if they enter the zone once the current grace periods end. The minimum emission standards are:

  • Petrol cars and vans – Euro 4 (generally vehicles registered from 2006).
  • Diesel cars and vans  – Euro 6 (generally vehicles registered from September 2015).
  • Buses, coached and HGVs – Euro 6 (generally vehicles registered from January 2013).

These dates are indicative, so please check with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer to confirm your vehicle’s standard.


Where are Scotland’s LEZs?

Low emission zones are now live in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. The local authorities in these cities are responsible for the enforcement of the zone and any exemptions.

If you regularly operate within one or more of these cities, check your local authority website for details of their grace periods, penalty charges and exemptions and consider acting now to reduce vehicle running costs and avoid penalties.


Is there support available to help my business adapt?

To support micro businesses and sole traders adapt to the low emission zones, Energy Saving Trust administers funding and support on behalf of Transport Scotland:


Low Emission Zone Support Fund

Grants of £2,000 are available to eligible micro businesses and sole traders to safely dispose of their zone non-compliant vehicle with a SEPA licensed treatment facility. A further £1,000 is available for those businesses who wish to invest in a cargo bike following their vehicle disposal. Full eligibility and access to a self-referral form is available here.


Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund

Grants of up to 80% funding to a cap value is available to eligible micro businesses and sole traders to improve the emission standard of their existing vehicle to meet the zone requirements. Funding is limited to CVRAS approved solutions available for a range of commercial vehicles including taxis, vans, and HGVs. Full eligibility and access to a self-referral form is available here.


Details of further transport funding for businesses that is managed by Energy Saving Trust can be found here.


Advice Services

Tailored advice to help you plan your future business transport can be requested from a Sustainable Transport Coordinator. You can request contact from a coordinator using this form.


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