Penalty charge notices (PCNs) for non-compliance with the Glasgow Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be issued from 1 June after expiry of a one-year grace period the day before. Euro VI compliance or better is required of coaches, buses and minibuses for penalties to be avoided, with a graduated scale in place for repeated breaches.
Glasgow will be the first city in Scotland to introduce penalties for LEZ non-compliance. The Glasgow Low Emission Zone is bordered by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south, and Saltmarket/High Street to the east (map). No part of the M8 falls within the LEZ.
Unlike the approach to Clean Air Zones and the London Low Emission Zone in England, vehicles that do not meet the required standards are outright banned from entering LEZs in Scotland, hence the utilisation of penalty charges.
Those are set at a national level by legislation and begin at £60. The graduated approach means that they double upon each further offence for the same vehicle in the same LEZ once the previous PCN is judged to have reached the vehicle’s keeper.
PCNs for Scottish LEZs are capped at £960 for vehicles including coaches, buses and minibuses. The rate is reset to £60 when no breaches occur for 90 days. All PCNs are discounted by 50% if paid within 14 days. Enforcement is by roadside cameras.
The different legal framework behind LEZs in Scotland compared to emission control zones in England has left the door open to potential regulatory difficulties for operators that do not comply with the former.
Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Scotland Claire Gilmore wrote in the TCs’ Annual Report for 2021-22 that failure to meet the standards required by Scottish LEZs “may impact on their repute.” The TCs subsequently confirmed that the same would not be the case for failure to comply with England’s emission control zones because of the different legal approach there.
Enforcement of the Dundee LEZ is due to begin on 30 May 2024, while those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh are set for 1 June 2024. Introduction of PCNs represents phase two of the Glasgow LEZ. Phase one commenced in 2018 and targeted the city’s bus fleet.