Aberdeen Low Emission Zone Options

Closed 25 Oct 2020

Opened 14 Sep 2020

Results expected 1 Dec 2020

Feedback expected 4 Jan 2021


In accordance with the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, Aberdeen City Council is looking to deliver a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Aberdeen.

A LEZ is an area where only certain vehicles will be able to enter, based on their emissions standards. Currently the proposed minimum criteria is:

  • Euro 6 for diesel cars (cars registered from September 2015);
  • Euro 4 for petrol cars (cars registered from January 2006); and
  • Euro VI for heavy diesel vehicles (including older retrofitted engines which have been improved to operate as Euro VI).

Electric and hydrogen vehicles will also be able to enter the zone. Any vehicles not meeting these standards will not be able to enter although certain exemptions and grace periods will be available.

Aberdeen's LEZ will be in the city centre as this is where air quality is currently poorest. A number of monitoring locations in the area show that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air regularly exceed European and national objective limits.

This can be seen in the map of the city centre below where the red dots indicate an exceedance of legal air quality levels and the amber dots levels close to exceedance.

This is a concern because poor air quality is known to worsen a number of health conditions, particularly those affecting the heart and lungs, and to disproportionately impact the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of our society. The main source of NOemissions is road traffic hence the need for a LEZ that addresses the most polluting vehicles.

In 2019, roughly one-third of vehicles passing through Aberdeen city centre were not compliant meaning these would not be able to enter the LEZ. The figure is likely to be much less, however, by the time LEZ enforcement begins, as individuals and businesses buy newer vehicles over time.

Further information on LEZs can be found by clicking on the link for LEZ FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Why your views matter

Over the last 12 months, Aberdeen City Council has been working with partners to identify and appraise options for a LEZ in Aberdeen. The process being followed by all the LEZ cities in Scotland is known as the National Low Emission Framework (NLEF). 

By following the NLEF process, 8 options for a LEZ have been identified which are considered feasible and deliverable and which should significantly reduce emissions and improve air quality in the city centre.

The next stage in the process is engaging with local stakeholders and members of the public to understand the likely impacts of each of the LEZ options on individuals and businesses to help us better identify the pros and cons of each option. This will help us make the best decisions and deliver the option which maximises the positive impacts and minimises the negative impacts for all those living in, working in and visiting the city centre. 

This survey introduces the LEZ options and asks for your views on the pros and cons of each. Depending on how much feedback you would like to give on each of the options, we anticipate this survey will take 10-20 minutes to complete. It may be useful to download and read the Non-Technical Summary Paper (from the link below) in advance of the questionnaire so that you can refer to it and see the LEZ options in more detail as you work your way through the questions.

Alternatively, if you do not have time to answer questions on all of the options, you can review the options in the Non-Technical Summary Paper, skip to Question 35 to rank the options and / or email any comments to transportstrategy@aberdeencity.gov.uk. 

For those with a deeper interest in the option appraisal process, a summary of the Interim NLEF Report can also be downloaded below. 

The outcomes of this engagement exercise will be combined with the findings of detailed traffic and air quality modelling to help determine a preferred option for a LEZ in Aberdeen. This could end up being a hybrid of the different options presented here. This will be reported to Councillors in 2021, thereafter a timeline for delivery and enforcement will be prepared. The Scottish Government has set a target for LEZs to be introduced in 2022, however there will be grace periods before any enforcement begins.

The traffic and air quality modelling will take into account any likely changes in transport and travel habits resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties around how long such changes are likely to last. 


What happens next

The outcomes of this engagement exercise will be combined with the findings of detailed traffic modelling to help determine a preferred option for a LEZ in Aberdeen. This will be reported to Councillors in 2021, thereafter a timeline for delivery and enforcement will be prepared.


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