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Glasgow low emission zone: what to know

May 12, 2023 by

Want to know all the details about the Glasgow Low Emission Zone? You’ve come to the right place

Glasgow is one of a number of UK cities to have introduced a Low Emission Zone recently, with the city’s LEZ going live on 1 June 2023.

Glasgow’s scheme works differently from the Clean Air Zones in Bath, Bristol and Birmingham, plus London’s ULEZ, because while those cities allow drivers to pay a fee (of between £8 and £12.50) to enter the zones, Glasgow’s LEZ bans older, more polluting cars outright – and it’s a model of scheme that is being copied in three other cities.

Why has a low emission zone been introduced in Glasgow?

The zone’s introduction is part of a national drive for emission zones, with Glasgow saying it is bringing in its LEZ “to reduce levels of harmful vehicle emissions in our city centre. These can cause health problems, particularly for those most vulnerable.”

Where is the low emission zone in Glasgow?

Roughly a square mile of Glasgow’s city centre is covered by the Low Emission Zone. Dozens and dozens of streets are included in it (here is a complete list), and the zone is bordered at the south by the river Clyde, and at the north by the M8 motorway; and by Glasgow Green to the east, and Charing Cross to the west.

Diesel cars not meeting Euro 6 emission regulations (roughly pre 2015), and petrol ones not meeting Euro 4 (roughly pre 2006) are completely banned from the zone – there’s no option to pay at all; enter the zone in one of those cars and you will be slapped with a penalty. Check if your vehicle is compliant with the zone using Transport Scotland’s tool.

HGVs, buses and other large commercial vehicles are also banned from the zone under similar Euro emission regs criteria, namely large vehicle standards IV (for petrol) and VI (diesel).

What vehicles are exempt from the low emission zone in Glasgow?

Electric vehicles and cars/vans meeting Euro 4/6 standards can enter the zone, while a number of exemptions apply.

What is the penalty for entering the Glasgow low emission zone in a non-compliant vehicle?

Just as Glasgow’s LEZ operates in a manner different from those in other UK cities, so too does the penalty structure for driving into the zone in a non-compliant vehicle.

The penalty structure works on an escalating scale, with the first fine being £60 (reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days).

A second offence will see a penalty of £120 applied, a third £240, and a fourth £480 (this is the maximum fine). The penalty for breaches by HGVs is capped at £960. All of those penalties are reduced by 50% if paid within a fortnight.

Do note these penalties escalate regardless of whether the first fine is paid, meaning residents who break the rules every day could theoretically be fined £174,180 in a year, with HGV drivers potentially getting annual penalties of £347,460.

Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee will be getting identical LEZ schemes with the same ban and penalty structure in 2024.

How to pay the penalty charge

Once the zone is live, penalties can be paid via Glasgow City Council’s website. Fail to pay and you will face enforcement action.

Do I have to pay the penalty charge?

Yes, if you have been issued with a penalty for entering the LEZ you have to pay it. Note that the exemptions mentioned above need to be applied for, rather than being automatically enacted.

Can I appeal the penalty charge?

If you think you have been issued a penalty incorrectly you will be able to appeal using Glasgow City Council’s website.

Is there any financial support to get a compliant vehicle for the Glasgow low emission zone?

If you receive some means-tested benefits and live within 20km (12.4 miles) of an emission zone like Glasgow’s you may be eligible for a grant of £2,000 if you scrap a non-compliant car, and a £1,000 grant to help with “sustainable travel alternatives” such as train and bus tickets, and second-hand bikes.

‘Micro’ businesses employing nine or fewer people can apply for the same grants, plus retrofit schemes that could see wheelchair accessible taxis, light commercial, heavy goods and refuse collection vehicles fitted with emission-busting AdBlue technology.