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Glasgow to consider congestion charging

Councillors in Glasgow will consider the potential for a congestion charge to be introduced in the city, as well as plans for a Low Emission Zone that will target polluting buses operating on major routes.

Yesterday (21 March), councillors on the city council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction City Policy Committee approved a report outlining the work being done in the city to establish a LEZ – the first in Scotland – which is due to come into effect at 23:59 on 31 December 2018.

City councillors considered proposals for the implementation of a Low Emission Zone on Tuesday

At the meeting, an amendment was also tabled for the council to begin investigating measures beyond the initial LEZ – which could include a ‘Road User Charging Scheme’.

The amendments, which were passed by eight votes to seven, will now pass to the council’s City Administration Committee for further consideration.

Proposals to implement a LEZ were first approved by the Committee in September 2017, after the Scottish Government outlined its ambition to see four such zones implemented in the country’s biggest cities by the end of the decade.

Low Emission Zone

The proposals in Glasgow include an initial focus on securing cleaner bus services within the city, in an area currently covered by the city’s air quality management area, from the end of 2018.

As part of this, all bus services operating within the low emission zone will be required to meet at least the Euro VI emission standard, although this will be phased in gradually up to 2022.

Critics of the proposal have claimed that the city council has been unambitious with its proposal not to enforce the requirements over a shorter period of time, as well as excluding private cars and taxis in the initial proposals.

However, a second phase, which is likely to cover these vehicles leading up to 2022, is expected to be consulted on over the course of the next 12 months.

Following the meeting, Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said: “We are making real progress on our plans to have Scotland’s first LEZ in place by the end of the year. Glasgow’s LEZ will be the first of its kind in Scotland and has been modelled as being capable of making significant reductions in levels of air pollution in the city centre.

“It’s recognised that the introduction of a LEZ needs to be proportionate and managed in such a way that ambition and practicality can be balanced. What we’ve seen and heard today are strong views expressed on both sides of the debate – some people who think we are going too far and some who feel we should go further and faster.

“Our job is to ensure the low emission zone is introduced at a robust yet realistic pace that will bring about the air quality improvements we need without having a detrimental impact on transport or Glasgow’s economy and businesses.â€?

Investment

Councillor Richardson added that funding is likely to be available to support investment in improving the emissions of buses in the city.

She said: “Glasgow is forging a national path towards cleaner air – air that we will all benefit from. Poor air quality is a significant public health concern and a major social justice issue for Glasgow.

“Cleaner buses going through the city centre LEZ will also be travelling elsewhere and throughout our city’s neighbourhoods and this is a really positive step forward in how we, as a city and as a country, go about creating healthy, liveable streets.â€?

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