New low emission zones in Scottish cities will help save lives, says Slater

Newly-introduced low emission zones (LEZs) in three major Scottish cities will save lives, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens has said.

Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen have introduced the regulations in the city centres this week, one year after Glasgow did the same.

The zones are designed to limit the amount of older vehicles in the city centre in a bid to improve air quality.

But they have proven controversial with business owners amid concerns it could reduce the amount of people travelling to city centres.

Low emission zone sign
Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen put the measures in place this week (Lucy North/PA)

Lorna Slater, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said: “There is no such thing as a safe level of air pollution, and Low Emission Zones have a key role to play in delivering cleaner, greener and safer cities.

“If we are to have liveable and clean cities then we need to reduce the numbers of cars on our roads, and LEZs are a big step towards doing that.

“It has taken a lot of work by a lot of people to get here, but these zones will save lives and have a positive impact that will be felt for years to come.”

Kayleigh O’Neill, the party’s transport spokeswoman on Edinburgh City Council, and a candidate for the Edinburgh North and Leith seat at the General Election, said the measure will make the city cleaner and more accessible, adding: “The climate crisis will demand more radical action in the months and years ahead and that needs leadership.

“I look forward to a time when we can look at expanding this zone and bringing in further measures to keep our streets and lungs free of pollutants.”

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said LEZ schemes are important because “any air pollution can have an impact on health”.

She said: “This bold action mirrors the decisive measures we’ve seen in towns and cities right across Europe.

“There are now over 320 similar schemes in effect which respond to the latest medical understanding concerning the dangerous effects of air pollution from vehicle emissions.”