Edinburgh Low Emission Zone Guide
In May 2022, the Scottish Parliament approved the establishment of a low emission zone (LEZ) in Edinburgh city centre, with enforcement of its rules set to begin on 1st June 2024. The LEZ, also referred to as a clean air zone, is an area within the city that restricts access to certain vehicles with the aim of reducing harmful air pollution and improving public health. By implementing this new measure, the city hopes to achieve its goal of achieving net zero emissions from transport by 2030.
If you’re unsure about what this means for you, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll take a look at the proposed map of the LEZ, what you could be charged for driving there, and permitted alternatives to non-compliant vehicles.
Edinburgh LEZ Map
The proposed LEZ has a perimeter of 10.7km and covers 3.1km² of the Edinburgh city centre. This includes the Old Town, Canongate, the West End, the Meadows, part of Tollcross, and part of Newington.
Edinburgh LEZ Timeline
- June 17 2021: plans for the LEZ were approved. A 12 week consultation period with city residents will begin shortly.
- Autumn 2021: councillors on the Transport and Environment Committee will adjust the scheme and submit it to the Scottish Government for approval.
- 31 May 2022: the LEZ will be officially introduced.
- 1st June 2024: penalty enforcement of the LEZ will begin.
Edinburgh LEZ Charges
Unlike the England Clean Air Zones which allow motorists access if they pay a daily charge, the Edinburgh LEZ will follow a penalty enforcement regime. This aims to categorically deter drivers of non-compliant vehicles from the city centre.
Non-compliant vehicles that enter the LEZ will initially be charged £60. This charge will double for each entry made within a 90-day period. The maximum penalty is £420 for light passenger and commercial vehicles and £900 for heavy duty vehicles.
Edinburgh LEZ Alternatives
An estimated 16,000 vehicles in Edinburgh will be affected by the new restrictions. However, you may not need to take any action to be able to continue driving in the city centre.
Motorbikes, mopeds, zero emissions vehicles (such as electric bikes, mopeds and cars), petrol vehicles registered since 2006, and diesel vehicles registered since September 2015 are compliant and will be able to freely enter the LEZ.
If your vehicle is non-compliant and you need to replace it before enforcement begins in June 2024, consider switching to an eBike or eMoped. Because they’re powered by electricity, they don’t produce tailpipe emissions so they’re far better for the environment than petrol and diesel cars. They’re also usually cheaper to buy and offer far reduced fuel and maintenance costs compared with cars.
A variety of grants funded by Transport Scotland are available if you currently drive a non-compliant vehicle. We’ve listed some of them below:
- eBike Loan
- Interest-free loans to help you to buy an electric bike
- Used Electric Vehicle Loan and Electric Vehicle Loan
- £20,000 to cover the cost of a used electric car, £5,000 for a used electric motorbike or moped, £28,000 for a new electric car, and £10,000 for a new electric motorbike or moped
- Domestic Charge Point Funding
- £350 towards the cost of installing a home charge point
- LEZ Support Fund and Travel Better funding
- £2,000 for low-income households to cover the disposal of non-compliant vehicles
- LEZ Support Fund for Businesses
- £2,500 for microbusinesses and sole traders to cover the disposal of non-compliant vehicles
- LEZ Retrofit Fund
- Enables microbusinesses and sole traders to retrofit their non-compliant vehicles using solutions approved by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme so that they meet LEZ emissions standards
To read more about the available funds and grants, visit the Low Emission Zones Scotland website.