Glasgow named as Scotland's first low emission zone

Glasgow will become Scotland's first low emission zone next year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

Buses will be targeted first for restrictions in Glasgow's low emission zone. Picture: John Devlin
Buses will be targeted first for restrictions in Glasgow's low emission zone. Picture: John Devlin

It will mean all but cleanest-engined vehicles being barred from the city centre, but the city council has said that won't start immediately.

Buses will targeted first and their operators will be required to have set quotas of their fleets with the cleanest diesel engines to be allowed to enter the zone.

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This is because they produce the most harmful nitrogen dioxide in the city centre.

The move is aimed at improving air quality to reduce premature deaths from air pollution and make cities more attractive.

Ms Sturgeon told the SNP conference in Glasgow that she had already committed to establishing zones in Scotland's four largest cities by 2020.

She told delegates: "The first of these will be in place by the end of next year and I am very pleased to announce today that it will be located here in the city of Glasgow."

Transport minister Humza Yousaf sought to allay concerns among bus operators at the cost of preparing for the zones by announcing extra funding for cleaning up bus engines.

They have expressed anger at being singled out for the first restrictions and said buses were key to reducing congestion.

Mr Yousaf said: "I’m proud that the Scottish Green Bus fund has already provided more than £16 million to support the introduction of hundreds of low emission buses.

"Today, We have again demonstrated our commitment to the bus industry through the announcement that we are providing a further £1.6 million immediately to a Bus Retrofit Programme for Scotland."

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He added: "We can be proud of the progress we’ve made in tackling air pollution, but our biggest cities, like Glasgow, are determined to create the best possible environment for communities to flourish by improving air quality.

“Our position is that local authorities should be ambitious, and all vehicles, including private cars, should be included in a LEZ in a phased manner."