We went to Edinburgh's new LEZ zone to see how many cars were compliant

Edinburgh's new LEZ zone came into force earlier this month, with drivers facing a heft fine for non compliance.

Despite risking being slapped with the £60 bill, some drivers continue to enter the low emission zone - although they were few and far between.

On a weekday at lunchtime, on Lothian Road, we checked over 200 vehicles that entered the LEZ zone. Out of 230, only six were non-compliant. The six who were non-compliant may now receive a penalty charge.

The fine for entering a LEZ zone in a non-compliant vehicle is as follows:

  • drive into the LEZ in a non-compliant vehicle, the initial fine is £60

  • pay the fine within the first 14 days, it is reduced by 50%.

If you re-enter the same LEZ in the same vehicle within 90 days of the last contravention, the penalty charge will double. Fines will continue to double to a maximum of

  • £480 for cars and light goods vehicles

  • £960 for buses and HGVs.

The Edinburgh City Council website states: "You must pay the PCN within 28 days from the date the PCN was served. If you do not pay within 28 days a charge certificate will be issued and increases the PCN penalty charge amount by 50%. If the increased charge is not paid within 14 days, we can recover the charge certificate and PCNs as an enforceable debt."

Edinburgh City Council states on their website that for a vehicle to be compliant, it has to be the following:

  • Euro 4 for petrol cars and vans

  • Euro 6 for diesel cars and vans

  • Euro 6 for petrol and diesel taxis and private hire vehicles, according to standard licence conditions, as set out in the Taxi Emission Standards Policy (2021)

  • Euro VI for buses, coaches and HGVs

All zero-emission vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs), meet the LEZ minimum emission standards.

"We are following the minimum emissions standards for virtually all petrol and diesel vehicle classifications that are set out in the Low Emission Zones (Emission Standards, Exemptions and Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 2021."

"Entry into the LEZ is based on the Euro emission engine classification standards that are used both internationally and nationally. "

There are exemptions such as historic vehicles, emergency service and Military vehicles and Blue Badge holders.

Those that are Blue Badge holders will still have to apply for an exemption if the vehicle they are travelling in does not meet minimum LEZ emissions standards.

Councillor Scott Arthur said: “In Edinburgh, we’ve pledged to achieve net zero, accommodate sustainable growth, cut congestion, and improve air quality, amongst other commitments to create a safer and more people-friendly city. To reduce harmful emissions, we’ve introduced a Low Emission Zone, along with Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow.

The Transport and Environment Convener added: “By limiting the most polluting vehicles from the zone, the LEZ will play a central role in lowering harmful emissions in Edinburgh, which negatively affect our health and wellbeing - this is why it has the support of NHS Lothian."

He says: “We’ve worked with our partners on our information campaign which started over two years ago to give people time to get ready and to make sure they avoid penalties now enforcement has begun. As part of that, we point people to our interactive boundary map so people can plan their route if they need to avoid the LEZ. We’ve also been sharing information about changes to roads to allow drivers with vehicles that don't meet the standards to drive around the zone. This included specific changes in the Tollcross area."

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