Scottish city’s Low Emission Zone totally bans older, more polluting cars from the city centre, with no option to pay an entry fee
Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) comes into force on 1 June 2023, becoming the first zone in the UK to completely ban drivers of older, more polluting cars from entering the zone.
While Glasgow’s LEZ uses the same Euro 6 (for diesel cars) and Euro 4 (for petrol) emission standards as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), plus Bristol’s and Birmingham’s Clean Air Zones, unlike those other cities, Glasgow drivers will not be allowed to pay a fee to enter the zone.
Instead, anyone with a non-compliant car will be charged a penalty of £60 (reduced by 50% if paid within a fortnight), and that penalty will double for each subsequence offence – regardless of whether the initial penalty is paid – up to a maximum penalty of £480, eight times the initial fine. HGV and bus drivers with non-compliant vehicles face a penalty cap of £960. Both those escalations reset to the initial £60 fine if no further offence is committed within 90 days.
Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone will occupy a small area, roughly a square mile in size, of the city centre, but it will be joined in 2024 by zones in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee that work on precisely the same principles, effectively seeing older cars banned from the centre of four major UK cities.
Diesel cars that do not meet Euro 6 emission standards, and petrol cars not meeting Euro 4 levels, will be banned from the Scottish zones, starting with Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous city.
Euro standards are introduced in stages, applying first to brand-new models put through type approval, before being applied to all new cars sold in showrooms. As such, there is no hard-and-fast date for when cars meet the standards, but Euro 4 standards were introduced over 2005 and 2006, and Euro 6 across 2014/15. Euro 4 rules applied to brand-new models approved from January 2005, and all new cars sold from January 2006.
Euro 6 standards applied to brand-new models type approved from September 2014, with most new cars having to be compliant from September 2015 before they could be sold in showrooms. However, due to quirks of legislation, some diesel cars sold up to 1 September 2016 may not meet Euro 6 standards.
Effectively, anyone with a diesel car registered in 2016 or before, and anyone with a petrol car registered prior to 2006 should check if their vehicle meets these emission standards before entering Glasgow, or any other city with a Euro 6/4-based emission zone.