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Consultation launched for Aberdeen low emission zone

Union Street. Picture by Darrell Benns
Union Street. Picture by Darrell Benns

Aberdeen City Council has opened a consultation on plans to create a low emission zone (LEZ) in the centre of the city.

The LEZ, similar to schemes already introduced in Glasgow and London, would restrict certain vehicles from entering roads in the heart of Aberdeen in an effort to improve air quality.

Monitoring locations in the city centre show that European and national objective limits on levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air are regularly exceeded, with Friends of the Earth Scotland research from the start of the year showing Union Street, Wellington Road and Market Street as the worst offenders.

LEZ schemes are also planned to be introduced in Edinburgh and Dundee, in accordance with the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government.

The plans in all three cities were put on hold in May, with Transport Secretary Michael Matheson saying: “The unprecedented impact of the Covid–19 outbreak has resulted in necessary changes to priorities across government and across our local authority partners.”

As a result, the initiative will not be put in place by the end of the year as originally planned, and feedback from the consultation is expected on January 4 next year.

Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen City Council’s transport spokeswoman, said: “I would encourage all city centre users to have their say in the Low Emission Zone survey which goes live today and runs for four weeks.

“The purpose of the consultation is to help better understand the pros and cons of each of the options and how they will impact on residents and businesses.

“I hope that residents, community councils, bus operators, and local and national businesses all take the opportunity to respond.

“The results of the consultation exercise along with associated traffic modelling studies will be reported to elected members next year and it is hoped to then identify a preferred option and formally declare a LEZ in 2022, in line with the Scottish Government’s recently revised timescale for LEZ development.”

According to the council, one third of all vehicles passing through Aberdeen city centre last year would not be compliant to the LEZ criteria, meaning they would not be permitted to enter.

However, it is anticipated that the figure will be lower by the time the zone is enforced, as individuals and businesses buy newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles over time.

The consultation can be found here

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