Scottish Ministers’ Approval for Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone

Local media as well as national media has recently covered the introduction of Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in major Scottish cities – Edinburgh along with Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow. 

The following is adapted from an email sent to the New Town & Broughton Community Council  (NTBCC) on 2 June stating that  final approval by Scottish Ministers for the proposed LEZ in Edinburgh was given on 19 May.  The email confirms that the proposal, as agreed at the Council’s 31 March 2022 Transport & Environment Committee, has now been approved by Scottish Ministers and came into force  on 31 May 2022 – with enforcement from 1 June 2024. 

NTBCC had again raised several concerns with the proposal during the final Council consultation e.g. the limited scope of the LEZ in Edinburgh, its adverse impact on residents living outside the area covered by the LEZ and the lack of effective enforcement plans. However, despite these concerns, shared by many other groups, the proposed scheme was approved at the 31 March Transport & Environment Committee without any changes from the initial proposal.

We are also unclear how this proposal will contribute to reductions in emissions to ensure compliance with the Scottish Government’s climate change objectives, specifically for carbon dioxide (CO2) – as stated below.

The specific detail of the approved Low Emission Zone can be viewed on the Council’s website here .


Dear New Town & Broughton Community Council,

Notice is hereby given that the City of Edinburgh Council (‘the Council’), having received consent from the Scottish Ministers on 19 May 2022, will make and operate a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) (‘the Scheme’) in Edinburgh city centre, in accordance with the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, Low Emissions (Scotland) Regulations 2021 and Low Emission Zones (Emission Standards, Exemptions and Penalty Charges) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Scheme is located within an area of Edinburgh city centre, as denoted by the boundary and was introduced on 31 May 2022. A two-year grace period will apply to all with penalties issued to non-compliant vehicles from 1 June 2024. The LEZ will cover the public roads in this area but does not cover private or special roads.

Reasons for introduction of the LEZ Scheme, include:

  • Road traffic remains the main source of harmful emissions that contribute to local air pollution and there continues to be exceedances of legal limits for air quality in Edinburgh city centre. The Scheme aims to improve air quality to ensure compliance with the Scottish Government’s air quality objectives, particularly for nitrogen dioxide (NO2); and
  • Air pollution and poor air quality damages public health and the health of all individuals exposed to it. Air pollution is particularly harmful to the young, older people and those with pre-existing health conditions, including asthma; and
  • Road traffic is a significant source of harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. The Scheme aims to contribute to reductions in harmful emissions to ensure compliance with the Scottish Government’s climate change objectives, particularly for carbon dioxide (CO2).

A full Statement of Reasons has been published, for why the Scheme is needed in Edinburgh.

Details of the Scheme, as approved, can be viewed:

  • In person at: the City Chambers reception, 253 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ, Monday to Thursday from 09:00 to 17:00 and on Fridays between 09:00 and 15:00. Please call 0131 529 6698 beforehand, to arrange an appointment or request accessible copies of documentation.

Kind regards,

George King

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) The City of Edinburgh Council, Waverley Court G3, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG

Find out more online at: edinburgh.gov.uk/lez and  www.lowemissionzones.scot

Email: low.emission.zone@edinburgh.gov.uk