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10 April 2018

Revving up for Scottish Low Emission Zones

By 2020, business owners based in, or driving through, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee will be affected by new air quality measures called Low Emission Zones (LEZs). LEZs impose a charge on the most polluting vehicles entering cities – and look likely to include large tracts of Scottish city centres.   

Here’s how Scottish small business owners can get prepared:

Step 1Hope Street - LEZ article

Checking the emissions standards of your vehicles is an important first step. This will allow firms to establish if their vehicles will be compliant with upcoming LEZs. Although it remains unknown what emission standards will be in force in Scotland, the smart money is on Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol).

A quick, albeit imperfect, way to check is to use this vehicle checker on Transport for London’s site. 

Step 2

If your vehicle(s) does not comply with Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol) emission standards, purchasing or leasing new vehicles will be the most straight-forward way to comply with LEZs and avoid penalty charges of around £60.

Try to buy as new as possible (September 2015 is a useful date to remember) because they emit significantly less nitrogen oxide. Forget about CO2 emissions, too. The crucial thing to check is the Euro Emission Standard. For cars and vans, make sure it’s Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)

Clearly this option comes with a hefty price tag, especially for firms heavily reliant on their vehicles and those experiencing reduced profit margins, which is why FSB is campaigning for extra financial support from the Scottish Government. However, there are other ways to minimise the costs by:

  • Recalling that tax advantages are available for VAT-registered business and for PCPs (personal contract plans)
  • Using the incentives on offer to buy electric and plug-in cars, courtesy of interest free loans, and charging kits

Barry McCulloch is FSB’s Senior Policy Advisor

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