Friends of the Earth Scotland has criticised Edinburgh for its ‘half-hearted’ proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ). The LEZ is planned to restrict HGVs, buses and coaches in certain parts of the city until 2024 when it will begin to restrict the most pollution cars.
The zone follows a similar approach made in Glasgow except that here, by 2022, all vehicles entering the zone here will need to be compliant with emissions standards.
Gavin Thomson, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Air Pollution Campaigner, said: “These plans from City of Edinburgh Council could have been a great step forward for air quality in the city, and the case for these improvements is clear. Toxic and illegal levels of air pollution in Edinburgh cause 200 early deaths each year. Several streets across the city are breaking legal limits that should have been met years ago. It is shocking that no restrictions will be applied to cars in the next 5 years, no matter how polluting these vehicles may be. Many residents in Edinburgh will be surprised that the Council is creating a zone to tackle air pollution but that it doesn’t actually apply to cars”.
Friends of the Earth Scotand also highlighted that that the inner city approach to a LEZ would simply displace air pollution to other parts of the city. Thomson said: “These two-tier plans mean tourists and shoppers will be breathing clean air in the city centre but, further out, residential areas will experience higher traffic and air pollution, as vehicles drive round the zone”.