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Calls build for postponement of forthcoming Low Emission Zone in Glasgow

Opposition to the expansion of the London ULEZ has been background noise for some time but similar rumblings are now being heard out of Glasgow, ahead of the introduction of the city’s Low Emission Zone on June 1st.

In Scotland, most of the current debate pertains to delaying the scheme rather than abandoning it, with Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy claiming that as it stands, the regulations will have a disproportionate impact on disabled people. 

Glasgow Green signboard close-up photography

While vehicles used by disabled people (including blue badge holders) are exempt, they do need to register the vehicle they use.

Pam, who is a wheelchair user herself, points out that no provision is made for carers employed by disabled people to travel into and around the city, they will only be exempt when traveling with the person they care for.  Pam says: ‘Disabled people constantly face challenges and barriers to their participation in society and the looming introduction of Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone will only add to that.

‘Expecting disabled people to register vehicles creates further additional administrative burden and limits our ability to change plans at short notice.

‘It appears there has been a complete absence of thought around how the new restrictions will work for carers too, risking them being unfairly penalised for travelling through the city to provide care.’

Pointing out that a lot of disable people reply on license taxi cabs to get around, Pam also raises concern that the LEZ will push a large proportion of taxis out of the city: ‘To be just, transition to net zero must protect jobs and equality – between the threat to the black cab industry and the additional bureaucracy disabled people and their carers are set to face, in my view the new rules fall far short of that standard’

The Glasgow Unite Union Cab Section has previous stated that the LEZ as it stands would effectively ‘fire’ more than 1,000 drivers from the city centre.

Conservative Councillor Thomas Kerr is similarly disposed to postponing the implementation of the zone, saying:  ‘If we plough ahead in June with this unworkable plan, we don’t just risk thousands of jobs, but we also risk the safety of our most vulnerable citizens – those who rely on taxis to get home safely.

‘I think of our disabled citizens, many of which can’t take public transport due to lack of seating or overpriced fares. Or young women, like my fiancée, travelling home after a night out with friends where a black cab is the safest way home. Or elderly residents who use taxis to get their weekly shop or attend hospital appointments.’

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