Court action against Glasgow’s LEZ has left many wondering if the scheme will still be given the green light to go ahead in Aberdeen next year.
Enforcement of the Granite City’s LEZ is supposed to officially commence on June 1, 2024.
Drivers with vehicles that don’t meet the strict emission requirements entering the zone will be slapped with a £60 fine, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Enforcement in Glasgow’s LEZ started in June this year — making it the first Scottish city to introduce an LEZ.
However, the Scottish Government is to face court action over claims the penalties are unfair.
As reported by The Herald, Glasgow City Council has been accused of “profiteering” after £600,000 of fines were generated in the first two months of the LEZ operating.
So what does court action against Glasgow’s LEZ mean for Aberdeen?
Aberdeen City Council has said there are “currently no plans” to postpone the implementation of the LEZ while the judicial review is under way.
However, a spokesman said a “further assessment” will be made following the outcome of the legal challenge.
So, depending on the review outcome, the LEZ could still be enforced on June 1, 2024.
But, before enforcement goes live, the council will need to install signage showing where the zone’s boundaries are, as well as specialist cameras, all to the tune of £600,000.
Scotland’s LEZs, including Aberdeen’s, have strict emissions criteria to determine what vehicles are permitted.
There are certain exceptions in place, but many older vehicles won’t be allowed.
These include diesel cars and vans registered before 2015 which generally do not meet Euro 6 standards, and petrol vehicles registered before 2006.
How many of the council’s vehicles are compliant with the LEZ?
Recent figures have shown that 88% of Aberdeen City Council’s vehicles are compliant with the LEZ.
This means 70 of the 589-strong fleet will not meet the requirements and will be unable to pass through the boundary.
However, the local authority has stressed some of these are based solely at locations outwith the LEZ and are not required to be compliant.
According to the data, the oldest vehicle in the fleet is a diesel tractor at 21 years in service. Street cleaners and gritters have also been listed as being in service for more than 10 years.
Other diesel vehicles in service for longer than eight years include vans, cars, minibuses, and pickup trucks.
The full list of council vehicles can be found here.
What are the concerns about council vehicles not being ready for the LEZ?
MSP Liam Kerr has expressed concerns about the vehicles not being ready for the LEZ enforcement and how it could impact the council’s running.
He is worried that the older diesel vehicles being non-compliant could impact services.
Mr Kerr said: “It’s vital that the majority of ACC vehicles will be able to run ‘business as usual’ when the LEZ comes in.
“This is going to be yet another major change for residents, commuters, and visitors to the city.
“So the council needs to make sure it doesn’t follow the example set by Glasgow — what a debacle that has been.”
Mr Kerr said if LEZ bans affect council vehicles like bin lorries needing to pick up waste in the city centre, he would “rather the council get a limited number of exceptions than face difficulty with providing a public service”.
Will non-compliant council vehicles be replaced?
While some non-compliant council vehicles are not required to enter the LEZ, others will be replaced as part of the local authority’s net zero commitment.
The spokesman for the council said: “There are some vehicles based solely at locations outwith the LEZ that are not required to be LEZ compliant. These vehicles will be replaced in due course as part of the council’s commitment to replace older assets with net zero or low-emission options.
“The money we have for implementing the LEZ is direct Transport Scotland grant funding, so we would not be permitted to use that for our own fleet upgrades.
“Our non-compliant vehicles are being replaced through our vehicle replacement programme.”
Read more about Aberdeen’s LEZ:
- Find out if your car will be banned in the Aberdeen Low Emission Zone here
- Revealed: How £600,000 will be spent on Aberdeen’s LEZ
- Aberdeen LEZ: What I learned checking 300 cars to see if they’ll be banned