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Glasgow Low Emission Zone: What is it?

By Ted Welford | August 16, 2023


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Glasgow Low Emission Zone is one of the strictest in operation, and is worth being aware of if you live nearby or are ever visiting the area by car. Here’s what you need to know about.

Glasgow Low Emission Zone: What is it?

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) might have been grabbing the headlines recently, perhaps for the wrong reasons, it’s certainly not the only scheme of this kind that’s gaining controversy. 

That’s because there are various similar schemes being introduced to cities across the UK, with one of the latest being the Glasgow Low Emission Zone. It’s one of the strictest in operation, however, and is worth being aware of if you live nearby or are ever visiting the area by car. Here’s what you need to know about. 

What is the Glasgow Low Emission Zone?

The Glasgow Emission Zone is one of the newest low emission zones, also known as clean air zones, to be introduced in the UK, which aims to crack down on polluting vehicles driving in Scotland’s largest city. 

The Low Emission Zone has been enforced since June 1, 2023, and vehicles must now meet requirements to be able to drive in the zone. 

Why was the Glasgow Low Emission Zone introduced?

Glasgow has introduced a Low Emission Zone to ‘protect public health by tackling unacceptable high levels of harmful air pollution that have stubbornly persisted in areas of the zone’. 

According to the local government, air pollution in Glasgow is 4.5 times above recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) levels. It says that Low Emission Zones are ‘just the start’ as it aims to tackle pollution. 

Where and when is the Glasgow Low Emission Zone in operation?

Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone operates continuously, 24 hours a day and every day of the year. Though considerably smaller than other schemes, London’s ULEZ in particular, it covers approximately one square mile. It is bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east. The M8 motorway is not included. 

What vehicles can enter the Glasgow Emission Zone?

You can check if your car is compliant with the Glasgow Emission Zone and other Clean Air Zones by entering your vehicle’s registration here, but we’ll run down the requirements to be able to drive in the area here. 

  • For petrol cars and vans, they need to be compliant with the Euro 4 emissions regulations, which became mandatory in 2006, meaning any petrol model first registered after this date will be compliant.
  • Diesel cars and vans need to be Euro 6 compliant. This wasn’t mandated since September 2015, so applies to far newer vehicles. 

It’s worth noting that, unlike other schemes, motorbikes are exempt from the requirements. 

 Can I pay to enter the Glasgow Low Emission Zone?

A key difference between Scotland’s Low Emission Zones and other clean air zones or ULEZ is that if your vehicle isn’t compliant, you cannot enter the zone at all, there’s no option to pay a daily rate to get around a fine. 

If you do drive into the zone, there are automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras that can detect your non-compliant vehicle entering the zone and automatically issue a fine to the registered keeper. 

What is the fine for driving in the Glasgow Low Emission Zone?

If you drive into the Low Emission Zone in a non-compliant vehicle, you will receive a £60 fine. This will double for each subsequent breach detected, subject to a cap of £480 for cars and vans, and £960 for buses and HGVs. 

In the first few months of the scheme being in operation, there are various cases of multiple breaches resulting in the maximum fine. 

Will similar schemes be introduced to other cities in Scotland?

Yes, Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone is the first in various similar schemes being introduced into other Scottish areas. 

Though Glasgow’s is the only one currently being enforced, there are schemes already operational in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, though these will not be enforced until June 2024. 

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