Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to be rolled out across many UK cities

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to improve air quality are to be rolled out across many cities in the UK. They already exist in London, Bath, and Birmingham and are beginning to be introduced in Scottish cities where air quality is becoming a growing concern for the nation’s health, environment, and economy.

Scottish cities Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen are to introduce similar schemes between February 2022 and May 2022, whilst in England Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have plans to introduce their own schemes.

Whilst the Scottish and UK Government provides the framework for LEZs in their respective area each local authority is responsible for designing and implementing LEZs for their individual city.

As all LEZs are introduced at a local authority level rather than a government level the criteria, charges, and aspects of the zones differ in each area. A vehicle may be compliant in one zone but not another.

What are low emission zones?

LEZ’s are an Environmental limit on certain roads restricting access for the most polluting vehicles – vehicles that do not meet the standards will not be able to enter the zone and penalties will be charged for non-compliance.

There are a number of different reasons that these zones are being introduced and the main benefits are:

  1. Health
    Removing the most polluting vehicles from the most heavily congested areas will drastically improve the air quality in the area. This increases overall health and life expectancy (It is estimated that poor air quality shortens life expectancy in Scotland by 3-4 months (health protection Scotland 2014). The main focus is on the reduction of nitrogen oxide (NO2) concentrations, which are linked to cancer and respiratory diseases.
  1. Environment
    The hope is that these low emission zones will accelerate the uptake of lower emission vehicles, which benefits all areas not just those within the zones. As we move towards decarbonising our transport more incentives for the replacement of the most polluting vehicles is a positive step – whether this is for less polluting vehicles such as electric or replacing journeys by other means such as e-bikes/cargo bikes.
  1. Economy
    Makes towns and cities more attractive places to live, work and visit.

Criteria

The low emission zone entries vary depending on the local authorities. In Scotland it will be based on the Euro emission engine classification standards – the minimum criteria is:

  • Euro 6/VI for diesel vehicles (any new car sold after Sep 2015)
  • Euro 4/IV for petrol vehicles (Any new car sold after 2006)
  • Euro VI for heavy diesel vehicles (including older vehicles retrofitted to operate as Euro VI)

Whilst in areas such as London inner city there is a ULEZ applicable that has similar requirements as Scottish cities and a wider London LEZ which is only applicable to commercial vehicles but based upon the same Euro classifications.

Funding

  • The LEZ Support Fund made available targeted grant funding of £1.09 million for taxis, heavy goods vehicles, and micro-businesses.

For micro-businesses, the fund provides an incentive of a £2500 cash grant per car or van to remove a non-compliant vehicle, replace it with a compliant vehicle, or to invest in an alternative mode of transport such as an e-cargo bike.

The Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund will provide micro-businesses who operate within one of Scotland’s four proposed low emission zones, with support to retrofit their existing non-LEZ compliant vehicles with the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) approved solutions that meet the minimum proposed standards of the low emission zones. Grants are available to cover up to 80% of the cost of a retrofit solution

EV charge point funding

There is also funding available to help install EV charge point infrastructure at your business:

  1. a guaranteed £350 per charger from the Office of Zero-Emission Vehicles
  2. Grant funding from the Energy Saving trust that can cover up to 50% of the total project cost on an application basis for charge points in Scotland.

With funding available and an increasing number of public chargers becoming available it is a great time to consider changing your business fleet to Electric vehicles reducing both ongoing costs in fuel, Emission zone charges, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

DB Group can assess the suitability of your site for EV charging infrastructure, apply for all grants and funding on your behalf, and project manage the whole installation and setup.