East Lothian residents and businesses advised to provide their views on city consultation

The City of Edinburgh Council is currently seeking the views of individuals, organisations and businesses on proposals to introduce a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) to reduce pollution from traffic. It is estimated that around 80% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations are directly attributed to traffic emissions. Pollutants caused by vehicle emissions are largely invisible, but these gases and particulates can be hazardous to human health.

East Lothian Council spokesperson for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said: “Whilst these proposals are within Edinburgh it’s important that East Lothian residents and businesses who regularly travel into the city are aware of the consultation currently open and put forward their views. Whether you commute by public transport to and from Edinburgh, or are a taxi or delivery business travelling daily into the city, your views on the proposals will greatly help form future transportation policy.”

Edinburgh has a number of Air Quality Management Areas due to traffic related air pollution. The proposals include a LEZ which applies both to the city centre for all vehicles, and city wide for only commercial vehicles (buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, light goods vehicles, vans, taxis, and private hire cars).

Cllr Hampshire added: “Air pollution is not restricted to council boundaries and East Lothian Council has put in place a number of initiatives to tackle vehicle related pollution. Within Musselburgh town centre an Air Quality Management Area was declared from the High Street at Newbigging westwards towards Bridge Street and Mall Avenue. Regular monitoring of pollution levels has provided invaluable data of both the type of emissions and the sources”

“Working in partnership with other local authorities, Scottish Government and a range of public and private agencies, East Lothian Council is working to actively reduce air pollutants resulting from traffic emissions. The introduction of cleaner engines by local bus companies and the expansion of electric vehicle charging points across the county is beginning to show some positive results but it’s recognised much more requires to be done.”

Edinburgh’s LEZ will be one of four in Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s national Low Emission Zones programme, alongside Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. LEZs reduce pollution caused by vehicles by restricting access for polluting vehicles that fail to meet minimum emission standards (which are set nationally).

In line with Scottish Government Commitments, Edinburgh is planning for its LEZ scheme to be in place at the end of 2020. Owners of the different types of vehicles will have a grace period before enforcement starts. This is to allow owners time to make suitable alternative arrangements.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that has established links between air pollution with ill health. Reducing pollution will help improve the health and wellbeing of people who live, work or visit the city, particularly those vulnerable to pollution such as children, older people and those with health conditions

To inform how City of Edinburgh Council will implement the proposed LEZ in Edinburgh, the public consultation is seeking views on key aspects including: the proposed boundaries, the types of vehicles affected, grace periods (how long different vehicle types should have to comply), and wider views on how the LEZ might impact upon your transport choices.

The consultation is available on City of Edinburgh Council’s website https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/edinburghlez/ The consultation closes on Sunday 21 July.

Published: Wednesday, 17th July 2019