Low Emission Zones (LEZs)

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are operational in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen. Find out all you need to know about them here. 

a road in Glasgow with low emission zone signage

What are Low Emission Zones? 

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are areas that have been designated as zones where the most polluting vehicles have to pay a fee to enter. This is because air quality in city centres is particularly poor due to high concentrations of road transport. Currently, LEZs are operational in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen.

Air pollution is a significant public health concern, and road transport is one of the primary sources. Air pollution affects every organ in the body. It causes various health problems, including respiratory diseases, heart conditions, and some cancers.

According to Health Protection Scotland, a total of 1,700 deaths occur every year in Scotland due to poor air quality. It's vital to take measures to improve air quality and reduce its negative impact on our health. 

The criteria for entering LEZs is based on Euro emission standards for vehicles. Vehicles that don’t meet required standards are subject to fines when they enter LEZs. Grace periods allow people time to prepare before facing penalties.

Glasgow’s grace period ended in June 2023. Whilst grace periods in the other three cities are still in effect, these will end on 30 May 2024 in Dundee and 1 June 2024 in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.  

What are the minimum standards to enter a Low Emission Zone?

The current minimum criteria for vehicles to access Scotland’s LEZs without fines are listed below.

Euro 4: generally vehicles registered from 2006.

Euro 6: generally vehicles registered from September 2015.

All penalty-free.

You can also use this online vehicle checker to see if your vehicle is LEZ compliant. You’ll need your vehicle registration number to hand.

Low Emission Support Fund for Households 

The Low Emission Support Fund for Households offers grants to help those most impacted by the LEZ restrictions. This funding helps households avoid penalties and move to less polluting transport options.

The fund offers grants of up to £3,000 when you dispose of a vehicle that doesn’t meet the minimum standards. If your application is successful, you will be entitled to claim:  

  • A grant of £2,000 when you safely dispose of your vehicle at an authorised treatment facility.  
  • Up to £1,000 of additional funding available to support up to either:
    • two adults in the household (max. £500 each) moving to shared and active travel, including bicycles, public transport tickets, and car club membership credits; or
    • £1,000 to invest in one cargo or adapted cycle (including electric versions of these).

To be eligible for this funding, you must:  

  • live within 20km of one of Scotland’s LEZs 
  • own a vehicle that doesn’t meet the minimum standards 
  • receive specific means-tested benefits or tax credits. 

Funding for households

Low Emission Zone Support Fund

Find more information on the Low Emission Zone Support Fund for households.

Funding for Businesses

Low Emission Zone Support Fund for Businesses

If you operate a business within 20km of one of the zones, you could be eligible for support through the Low Emission Zone Support Fund for Businesses.

Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund

If you operate a business within 20km of one of the zones, you could be eligible for support through the Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund.

Explore LEZ compliant travel

LEZ compliant travel could bring you multiple financial and health benefits.

Alongside shifting to less polluting vehicles, the LEZs will encourage a shift to sustainable transport. This includes walking, wheeling, and cycling, and shared transport modes such as public transport and car clubs.

Switching car journeys to active and shared modes will reduce your air pollution emissions alongside other benefits such as cost and carbon savings. 

Read more about the benefits of active travel

Electric vehicles are exempt from LEZ penalties. Fully electric models make no tailpipe contributions to air pollution.

Anyone living in Scotland thinking of buying an electric vehicle may be able to register interest in the Used Electric Vehicle Loan.

This funding offered interest-free loans to help spread the cost of a used electric vehicle, including cars, vans, motorcycles, or mopeds.

If you want to know more about the loan, including a link to register your interest in future funding rounds, please visit the Used EV loan webpage.

Find out more