Drivers entering Glasgow city centre will need eco vehicles to avoid huge fines

Motorists will have to have an environmentally friendly car by the middle of next year if they want to drive into Glasgow city centre.

The controversial new regulations are set to be introduced in May with fines of £480 enforced from June 2023. The Sunday Mail reports the deadline for objections to Glasgow’s new Low Emission Zone expired last week.

However, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh have all agree to a two-year ‘grace period’ and won’t enforce fines until the middle of 2024.

Scientists monitoring pollution levels in London – where the scheme is already in force – have found it has made minimal difference to pollution levels amid calls for the project to be scrapped entirely.

Brian Gregory, of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “People in Scotland are in for a real shock when the LEZs come into force.

“Thousands of drivers who have no choice but to enter the city will need to sell their car and buy a new one or face huge fines.

“Car manufacturers must be rubbing their hands together because a huge number of perfectly good vehicles will get scrapped and replaced at a massive cost to consumers. I think people are being scammed by dodgy science on this – it is just a revenue-raising tool.

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“Producing thousands of new cars is not good for the environment. It is much better to allow people to drive their existing cars until they actually need to be replaced.

“There are also question marks over how environmentally friendly options such as electric cars are.”

Diesel cars built before 2015 and petrol cars manufactured prior to 2006 are unlikely to meet the new standard in Scotland. But researchers from Imperial College London have said a scheme in the capital which has been operating for two years has not been effective.

The team looked at the level of pollutants over 12 weeks, starting before and ending after the LEZ was launched by London mayor Sadiq Khan in April 2019.They found just a three per cent reduction in deadly nitrogen dioxide levels and “insignificant” drops in levels of ozone, which can damage the lungs, and tiny particles of dirt and liquid called PM2.5 that are thought to reach the brain.

The Scottish LEZs will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round, and be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras linked to a national vehicle licencing database.

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Some non-compliant vehicles will be allowed to use the zones, including police cars, ambulances, fire engines and those belonging to disabled blue badge holders.

For cars, penalty charge notices of £60, reduced by 50 per cent if paid within two weeks, will be sent to drivers of non-compliant cars, with a £480 cap.

Scottish Lib Dem transport spokeswoman Jill Reilly said: “We have been supportive of ambitious Low Emission Zones but these need to be coupled with support for those who will struggle to make the change to less polluting forms of transport.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said: “Drivers and city centre businesses are going to pay heavily for the LEZs.”

The Scottish Government said: “Our LEZ Support Fund provides money for lower-income households and small businesses to prepare for the introduction of LEZs, with cash grants available to purchase a compliant vehicle, retrofit an existing one or buy a bike or public transport voucher.”

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