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Environmental group urges people in Aberdeen to make voices heard in pollution consultation

Union Street, which is at the centre of several options for the LEZ. Picture by Darrell Benns

An environmental campaign group has called for “as many people as possible” in Aberdeen to have their say on plans for a new low emission zone (LEZ) in the city, as the consultation period draws to a close.

The proposed LEZ would restrict certain vehicles from entering certain parts of the city, based on their age and their emissions standards – though some exemptions and grace periods would be available.

The consultation offers a number of different options for the location of the LEZ, including the Union Street area and certain sections of the city centre masterplan.

However, campaign group Friends of the Earth Scotland have said option 4A, which covers the entire masterplan area, offers “the best option for clean air in Aberdeen”.

The group has made their full response to the consultation publicly available on their website.

LEZs have already been introduced in Glasgow and London and are also planned in Edinburgh and Dundee – though the Scottish Government’s proposals for bringing in the new schemes were put on hold in May amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said this delay was “disappointing”, adding that it will mean the LEZs will come into effect five years after they were first announced by the government.

Now the group is marking Clean Air Day by calling on people in the city to contribute their views.

The current consultation, which can be accessed by clicking here, began on September 14. It will come to an end on Sunday, and feedback is expected on January 4 next year.

Gavin Thomson, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “We need as many people as possible to have their say on this low emission zone consultation; this is about clean air for people in Aberdeen, it’s about tackling climate change, and it’s about making a city that businesses and tourists will choose over the competition.

“To be effective, Aberdeen’s zone needs to cover a large area, to ensure all pollution hot spots are dealt with, and includes all vehicle types.

“The option from the council that covers the city centre masterplan area would ensure that all the persistent pollution hot spots are addressed.

“The low emission zone will be introduced over the next few years, until the oldest of every vehicle type will be prevented from entering the zone.

“It is critical that we use this period to improve our public transport, and make sure the city has a joined-up cycle network.

“After a long wait, it’s great to see Aberdeen Council finally bring forward the options for the city’s low emission zone. Cities in Scotland, including Aberdeen, have been breaching legal air quality limits since 2010, putting public health at risk.

“The longer we wait the more people are exposed to dangerous air pollution as they go to school, to work or visit the city centre.”

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