Four experts give their view on what the Scottish Government needs to next on Low Emission Zones

AS the Scottish Government’s consultation over Low Emission Zones comes to a close. four experts from different fields offer their opinions on what needs done to ensure Scotland takes full advantage of them between 2018 and 2020.

Glasgow will be first, followed by Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee in a bid to tackle toxic air pollution.

Here’s their expert view on what the nature and scope of their roll-out should consider.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna

“Low Emission Zones can be a life-saving intervention in the fight against deadly air pollution, which kills over 2500 people in Scotland every year. The Scottish Government must fund Low Emission Zones and not pass the bill onto cash strapped councils. Low Emission Zones should restrict the most polluting buses, vans and lorries from polluted areas, followed by cars and taxis at a later date.  LEZs operate successfully in hundreds of locations across Europe. London’s Low Emission Zone has operated for nearly a decade and is being improved into an Ultra LEZ which will encompass a larger geographical area and more vehicles. LEZs must go hand in hand with measures to encourage greater uptake of public transport, and get more people walking and cycling.”

Spokes campaigner Dave du Feu

“Spokes welcomes the introduction of Low Emission Zones in Scotland, making cities safer and more pleasant for walking, cycling and for generally going about the everyday activity of an urban area. We urge the Scottish Government to fully incorporate into Low Emission Zone policy modal shift from motor traffic to cycling, walking, e-bike and cargo bike. Active travel will both benefit from and contribute to LEZ success. It is not enough for the government just to promote shift from fossil vehicles to electric vehicles – people and businesses in urban areas must be shown the option of a complete shift to e-bike or cargo-bike, topped up with car club when a larger vehicle is needed. Electric vehicles are certainly needed for longer trips, heavy loads and other purposes, but they are not pollution-free, with significant pollutants from brake wear and road dust, from current electricity generation and through the whole manufacturing process.”

Professor Tom Rye, Director of the Transport Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University

“LEZs are a very important and welcome step but, given that they cannot by themselves lead to complete compliance with air quality safety standards, there is a pressing need to implement alongside them demand management for private motor vehicles and improvements for public transport, walking and cycling if legally binding air pollution targets are to be met.”

Irene Johnstone, Head of British Lung Foundation Scotland

“We’re pleased to see progress finally being made on introducing Low Emission Zones in Scotland. However, LEZs are just one part of the solution to improving air quality, which is essential if we are protect the public’s lung health. This is why plans to tackle air quality need to be fully integrated into the new national plan to tackle lung disease.”

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Building Scotland’s Low Emission Zones

Picture credits: cc Calard

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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