Road signs are being installed on the boundary of Edinburgh’s low-emission zone (LEZ), with six months until enforcement begins.
The signs, which are being used in four Scottish cities with city centre LEZs, inform drivers they are driving within the zone.
In Edinburgh, additional warning signs will tell drivers that penalty charge notices (PCNs) will not be issued until 01 June 2024 and only to the most polluting vehicles.
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “While enforcement against non-compliant vehicles won’t begin until 01 June 2024, these signs are a reminder that the changes will soon come into force.
“By allowing a two-year grace period we wanted to give people plenty of time to prepare for the LEZ. However, with six months to go there’s still time, and I’d urge anyone who’s eligible to apply for the support funds on offer.”
Some households and small businesses may be eligible for Scotland’s Low Emission Zone Support Fund, funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Energy Saving Trust.
The scheme offers successful applicants grants to dispose of non-compliant vehicles and to help households invest in more sustainable forms of transport, including public transport or bike hire schemes.
Automatic number plate recognition cameras, which support enforcement, will be installed in late 2023/early 2024 and a mobile enforcement vehicle will be active from June 2024 onward.
In early 2024 there will also be changes made to some street layouts and signals around the LEZ boundary to cut congestion and improve safety.
Data analysed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency earlier this year revealed that overall compliance with Edinburgh’s LEZ emissions standards had increased from 48% to 78% over the last six years.
A city centre LEZ was introduced in Edinburgh on 31 May 2022, along with LEZs in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, restricting the most polluting vehicles only.
In Edinburgh, a two-year grace period is in place, meaning no PCN charges will be issued during this time.
LEZ restrictions will apply to motor vehicles, except motorcycles and mopeds. Vehicles must meet the minimum emissions standards to drive within the zone, though national exemptions apply including for blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.
In related news, City of Edinburgh Council is set to spend £55m replacing obsolete vehicles and ensuring its fleet complies with the city’s LEZ standards.
The local authority’s finance and resources committee has approved a plan to replace more than 1,000 vehicles, including 204 that fail to comply with the LEZ.
The Fleet Asset Management Plan will see older vehicles replaced and more vehicles brought in-house rather than leasing them.
City of Edinburgh Council’s finance and resources convener, Mandy Watt, said: “Our fleet asset management plan ensures our vehicles are modern, efficient, and fit for purpose to deliver services across the city.
“As part of our investment in the fleet we will also be able to upgrade the minority of vehicles that don’t comply with Edinburgh’s LEZ.
“Increasing the number of council-owned vehicles reduces our reliance on those provided by third parties too – and the associated hire costs.
“This will free up funds to purchase vehicles outright and employ in-house technicians to maintain vehicles.
“By modernising our fleet we’ll continue exploring cleaner, environmentally friendly forms of transport, such as electric, helping to improve air quality and supporting net zero goals.”
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