Progress on low Emission Zone


26th September 2019

A low Emisson Zone for Dundee will come a step closer next week if councillors back the latest stage of development.

A programme of awareness-raising and subsequent consultation on five proposed options for the city’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be discussed by Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee.

Under the proposals the city’s inner ring road would form the boundary of the LEZ, access to which would only be available to certain types of vehicle that meet stringent air quality criteria.

To achieve air quality compliance for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 the LEZ must exclude all non-compliant buses but the consultation will ask what, if any, other types of vehicle should also be penalised for entering the zone.

This could mean all older HGVs, LGVs and diesel cars registered on or before August 31, 2015 and all petrol cars registered before 2006.

If councillors agree, in addition to enabling feedback on the five LEZ options, as part of the exercise people who take part in the consultation will also have access to scientific and other data explaining how the options were arrived at and why others were not included.

Kevin Cordell, committee convener said: “We are fully committed to improving the air quality in the city for everyone who lives, works and visits through the introduction of an LEZ.

“A considerable amount of time and effort has been put in by a team of experts to establish what the most effective options are for doing this.

“We want to share that work with everyone who will be affected by the introduction of an LEZ in order to have the best-informed and most transparent debate possible, before we decide where it should be and what category of vehicles it will include when we bring it in.”

Alan Ross convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee added: “Whatever option we choose to take at the end of the consultation process it is important that it balances air quality with ensuring that the city’s commerce and industry is not brought to a standstill.

“In addition we must be sure that LEZ is deliverable and keep it under observation to ensure it meets the objectives and can be scaled up or changed as needed.”

A delivery group was established in September last year to lead the development of a Dundee Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in line with the Scottish Government’s target to introduce such zones in all four major cities by 2020.

The Dundee LEZ will contribute to the broader city objectives and the vision to create a healthy, vibrant and attractive city by protecting public health through improving air quality in Dundee and achieving air quality compliance for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5.

Dundee's LEZ will develop an environment that helps to promote more active and sustainable travel choices, contributes to the city's ongoing transformational change and helps to promote Dundee as an inclusive and desirable place to live, invest, visit and learn.

Alison Henderson CEO of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce said: “The introduction of a Low Emission Zone is a key issue, and needs to be handled sensitively. It's important that our city achieves the difficult balancing act of protecting public health while ensuring that the business community continues to prosper and thrive.

“The information and engagement exercise must generate an informed conversation where everyone can find out what they need to know and then have their voices heard. I’d encourage as many people as possible to find out more and participate.”

Dr Jackie Hyland, Associate Director of Public Health for NHS Tayside said: “The issues surrounding public health and Low Emission Zones are far from simple. We need our vehicles but we should use them sparingly and walk and cycle whenever possible.

“Travelling by bus is really important but at present unless they have been converted to, or already are, low emission vehicles they are the greater polluters. However there will always be people who suffer from conditions such as asthma from exposure to ‘natural’ air particles such as pollen.

“In addition if more categories of vehicle are prevented from entering an LEZ then people are more likely to walk, cycle and engage more with associated benefits for physical and mental health.”

Considerable investment in new low emission vehicles has already been made by the three bus companies whose fleets serve Dundee.

Christine McGlasson Managing Director of Xplore Dundee said: “We believe that buses are the solution to pollution and we want to work alongside the city council to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and catch the bus, which will reduce congestion and improve the air around us.

“We recognise our role in improving air quality and we are already actively embracing clean technology.  So far this year we have invested £4m in cleaner, greener vehicles with Euro VI engines which are better for the environment than even a single diesel car. “We have also retro-fitted seven of our older vehicles, with ten more to be upgraded in the coming weeks and more new vehicles arriving before the end of the year.

”Just one of our double deckers can take up to 75 cars off the road, so it makes sense to put bus at the heart of Dundee’s LEZ strategy.

“We can provide great value travel right across Dundee on comfortable, modern and clean vehicles – choosing the bus means choosing a better environment for everyone.”

Daniel Jones, British Heart Foundation Scotland’s policy and public affairs officer, said: “BHF Scotland has long supported the introduction of Low Emission Zones in Scotland as a way of tackling air pollution across the country. 

“Our research shows that air pollution - especially particulate matter found in diesel exhausts – can damage the heart and circulatory system. This can lead to devastating effects, such as heart attack and stroke.

“We believe the introduction of LEZs has the potential to bring about real health benefits for local people and it is great to see Dundee considering such a move.”

David Frenz, Operations Director for Stagecoach East Scotland said: "We are very supportive of and will look to play a key role in the improvement of air quality in the towns and cities we operate in. This is highlighted by the £15.4m investment in low emission vehicles over the last seven years, with further investment planned for the future.

“Bus travel is critical to ensure the towns and cities we serve remain accessible, not forgetting the significant economic benefit it provides to the employment, leisure and the retail sectors.

“We are more than willing to engage and work with all parties in improving the air quality throughout Dundee and the surrounding area, but bus use along with other forms of active travel should be encouraged and not restricted."

As well as the introduction of an LEZ Dundee City Council is actively encouraging other ways of improving air quality by investing in active travel options, like electric bikes and improving cycling and walking infrastructure.

The community safety and public protection committee will meet on Monday (September 30) and if approved the consultation will launch thereafter.

Dundee City Council

Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.

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