Glasgow prepares groundwork for Low Emission Zone

Glasgow city council has sought to lay the foundations for the establishment of a Low Emission Zone within the city, after submitting traffic regulation proposals for approval to the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland.

The local authority is pursuing a plan with an initial focus on securing cleaner bus services within the city, in an area currently covered by the city’s air quality management area, from the end of 2018.

Glasgow bus air quality

Glasgow city council will be the location for Scotland’s first low emission zone which is expected to initially focus on buses

As part of this, all bus services operating within the low emission zone will be required to meet at least the Euro VI emission standard, although this will be phased in gradually up to 2022.

This month the authority submitted a Traffic Regulation Request under Section 7 of the Transport Act 1985 to establish a Traffic Regulation Condition for the city’s Low Emission Zone, which is expected to be the first of four in operation in Scotland by the end of the decade.

The request details intended changes to requirements under the city’s public service vehicle (PSV) operator licence outlining the streets included within the LEZ, as well as the conditions to be placed upon bus operators wishing to operate upon those streets covered by the order.

Regulation

As part of this, Glasgow has stipulated that from 31 December 2018 20% of journeys run by individual bus operators must be carried out by buses which have been type approved as meeting at least the Euro VI standard, are electric, or have been certified by Transport Scotland as being fitted with a Euro VI comparable exhaust system.

This requirement will then apply to 40% of journeys from 31 December 2019, 60% of journeys from 31 December 2020, 80% by 31 December 2021 and 100% from 31 December 2022.

It states that buses used on the service will be monitored to ensure compliance, and, if operators are found not to be meeting the requirements they could be faced with enforcement action.

The proposals will be considered by the Traffic Commissioner following a regulatory impact assessment, a process which can take up to several months to complete.

Services

In a statement issued when the proposals were first discussed in March, Councillor Anna Richardson, the city council’s Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said: “While we continue to work with the bus industry to improve services – services which are vital to the lives of Glaswegians – Transport Scotland has made it clear that substantial grant funding, as well as loans, will be made available to support the bus industry and to protect passengers.

Glasgow city council’s map showing air monitoring sites in the city

“That is why the initial phase of the LEZ will address local buses through Traffic Regulation Conditions set by the Traffic Commissioner. Buses will be expected to meet Euro VI emission standard by December 2022. All other vehicles will also have to be compliant by that date, and we will be engaging widely with residents and businesses to ensure that everyone is aware of and prepared for the LEZ.

“Glasgow is forging a national path towards cleaner air – air that we will all benefit from. Poor air quality is a significant public health concern and a major social justice issue for Glasgow.

Low Emission Zones

Glasgow is the first of four Scottish cities – including also Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh – to be required to implement a Low Emission Zone before the end of the decade.

In the past week, details have emerged of the approach being considered by Edinburgh city council as to how it is likely to design its own Low Emission Zone – suggesting a difference in direction from the plans outlined by Glasgow (see airqualitynews.com story).

Documents published by the authority suggest that ‘combinations of LEZ options are being explored’, based around ‘geographic limits and vehicle types’.

Related Links
Glasgow city council – Low Emission Zone proposal