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Edinburgh Low Emission Zone (LEZ): Everything you need to know

By Mathilda Bartholomew | May 31, 2024

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Enforcement for the Edinburgh LEZ starts on June 1st, 2024. Here's everything you need to know...

Edinburgh Low Emission Zone (LEZ): Everything you need to know

The Edinburgh Low Emission Zone (LEZ), is about to be in full swing! Are you prepared?

If you're planning to drive in Edinburgh city centre from June 1st, 2024 onwards, this guide will help you through everything you need to know about the LEZ.

Check whether your car is compliant in Edinburgh's LEZ here.

What is the Edinburgh LEZ?

The Edinburgh LEZ is a designated area within the city centre where only vehicles meeting certain exhaust emission standards are allowed to drive. This initiative aims to improve air quality, public health, and encourage more sustainable modes of transportation.

When will the Edinburgh LEZ be enforced?

Enforcement for the Edinburgh LEZ starts on June 1st, 2024. Driving a non-compliant vehicle within the zone after this date will result in a penalty charge notice (PCN).

Where is the Edinburgh LEZ located?

The Edinburgh LEZ covers a central area of approximately 1.2 square miles within the city centre.

The LEZ boundary loops around the city centre, starting from Tollcross in the south, then going west to Palmerston Place, through Queen Street in the New Town, to Picardy Place, then around Abbeyhill and onto Holyrood Road. It continues along the Pleasance in the east before circling back along the Meadows to Tollcross. Remember, the boundary itself isn't part of the LEZ, so all vehicles can drive around it, even if they don't meet the LEZ requirements.  

What are the emission standards for the Edinburgh LEZ?

To enter the Edinburgh LEZ, your vehicle needs to meet certain Euro emission engine standards, which are recognised both internationally and nationally. Here's what you need to know:

- For petrol cars and vans, the minimum requirement is Euro 4, typically vehicles registered from 2006.

- For diesel cars and vans, it's Euro 6, generally vehicles registered from September 2015.

- Taxis and private hire vehicles need to meet Euro 6 standards for both petrol and diesel, as per the standard license conditions outlined in the Taxi Emission Standards Policy (2021).

- Buses, coaches, and HGVs must meet Euro VI standards, usually vehicles registered from January 2013.

- Zero emission vehicles, like electric vehicles (EVs), automatically meet the LEZ minimum emission standards.

How can I check if my vehicle meets the standards? 

Check whether your car is compliant in Edinburgh's LEZ using Regit's free LEZ checker.

What are the penalty charges for non-compliant vehicles?

The penalty charge for driving a non-compliant vehicle within the Edinburgh LEZ varies depending on the number of times you offend within a 90-day period:

  • First offence: £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days)
  • Second offence: £120
  • Third offence (and subsequent): £240

Are there any exemptions for the Edinburgh LEZ?

Some vehicles are exempt from the Edinburgh LEZ charges, including:

  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Blue Badge holders with non-compliant vehicles (must apply for an exemption)
  • Disabled passenger vehicles (must apply for an exemption)

What are some alternatives to driving within the Edinburgh LEZ?

If your vehicle doesn't meet the LEZ standards, there are several alternatives to consider:

  • Park outside the LEZ zone and walk, cycle, or take public transport to your destination.
  • Consider carpooling with others who have compliant vehicles.
  • Explore more sustainable transport options like electric or hybrid vehicles.

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