Low emission zone Glasgow: Almost 3,000 drivers fined for flouting Glasgow’s new LEZ
Nearly 3,000 motorists have been fined for driving into Scotland’s first low emission zone (LEZ) with banned vehicles.
A total of 2,922 penalty charges were issued in the first month of the Glasgow city centre zone in June, the city council revealed on Friday.
To enter the zone, vehicles must have Euro 4/IV petrol engines, fitted since 2006, or Euro 6/VI diesel engines, fitted since September 2015. There is a grace period for residents until June 2024 and other exemptions, such as for emergency vehicles.
The zone is bordered by the M8 to the west and north (which is not included), the River Clyde to the south, and High Street and Saltmarket to the east.
The launch of car enforcement comes after non-compliant buses were progressively restricted over the past five years.
A city council spokesperson said: “To allow for a period of familiarisation, non-compliant vehicles detected in Glasgow’s low emission zone received a maximum of one penalty charge notice during the zone’s first month of operation, June 2023.
“Surcharging, which allows the penalty amount to double for subsequent LEZ breaches, started in July and will begin after the first charge notice can be expected to have been received by the vehicle’s registered keeper.
“Glasgow’s plan to phase in a LEZ was announced in 2018 to address decades of harmful air pollution in the city centre.
“Since then there has been extensive communications and engagement to raise awareness of the scheme, its timescale for introduction and the availability of funding to support compliance.
“While up to 90 per cent of vehicles currently entering the city centre will be unaffected, LEZ standards will address the most polluting vehicles which are disproportionately creating the harmful concentrations of air pollution in the city centre.”
The IAM RoadSmart motoring group expressed alarm at the number of drivers fined.
Neil Greig, its Scotland-based policy and research director, said: “Just short of 3,000 vehicles in one month seems a very high price to pay for the new LEZ and would suggest that many drivers are still not aware of the restrictions, or have no alternative, but to pay the fine.
"Most new schemes offer a complete amnesty in the early days rather than Glasgow’s less than generous ‘special offer’ not to issue double fines for a few weeks.
"Drivers caught should be targeted for extra information and details on how to access the scrappage schemes. If the LEZ continues to catch thousands of drivers in the coming months, it will have failed to improve air quality and be open to accusations of simply being another money-making scheme.”
A spokesperson for the AA motoring group said: “We always welcomes first-time warning letters, grace periods and/or ‘surcharging’ when new restrictions are introduced so that drivers who genuinely make a mistake learn the lesson without being beggared for it.”
Glasgow City Council transport and environment convener Angus Millar said in May: "With the success of the bus phase, it’s clear that expansion to include all types of vehicles will allow us to maximise the LEZ’s air quality.”
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