Aberdeen Low Emission Zone Preferred Option

Closes 22 Aug 2021

Opened 28 Jun 2021


Aberdeen City Council aims to introduce a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in 2022. This is an area of the city where the most polluting vehicles will be unable to enter.

LEZs are being introduced throughout Scotland in response to dangerous levels of air pollution (mainly nitrogen dioxide – NO2) mostly caused by road traffic. Aberdeen's LEZ will be in the city centre as this is where air quality is currently poorest.

Children, the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing heart, lung and respiratory conditions are worst affected by air pollution and the number of additional health complaints linked to poor air quality is growing every day.

As well as public health benefits, LEZs can reduce carbon emissions and help develop safer, more welcoming and pleasant public spaces, bringing economic benefits to city centres. Cities throughout the world have implemented or are implementing clean air schemes of this nature, in recognition of the wide range of benefits they bring. 

In 2020 we consulted on 8 LEZ options to understand the views of members of the public and stakeholders and the pros and cons of each. The options were also subject to detailed modelling so that we could understand the likely impacts on traffic and air quality.

We have now identified a preferred option which we believe best meets the objectives of the LEZ, maximising the positive impacts and minimising negative impacts on city centre users and residents.

A plan of the proposed LEZ boundary can be viewed here.

The LEZ will be clearly signed to allow non-complaint vehicles to divert away from the area. Enforcement will be via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, as are currently used for monitoring bus lanes in Aberdeen.

A 2-year grace period (during which enforcement of the LEZ will not take place) is proposed for all residents and non-residents and all vehicle types to allow people sufficient time to consider how best they can comply with the LEZ. This means that, should the Council declare a LEZ in May 2022 (as per the current programme), enforcement (the issuing of fines) will not take place until May 2024. It is estimated that, by 2024, 86% of cars, 70% of Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs), 93% of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and all taxis in Aberdeen will be compliant with the LEZ. This means that these vehicles can continue travelling within the LEZ without penalty. The Scottish Government is providing support to individuals and businesses to help them prepare for the introduction of LEZs - lowemissionzones.scot 

The traffic modelling suggests that the LEZ could cause traffic increases in streets south and west of the zone which are not suitable for such an increase. Various ways of addressing this have been considered. The most effective solution is an access restriction to and from Millburn Street at its junction with South College Street / Palmerston Place. It is likely therefore that this restriction will be put in place prior to LEZ enforcement commencing.

The modelling also suggests that, even with the LEZ in place, some areas of unacceptable pollution will remain unless further traffic restriction measures are introduced in the city centre. It is likely therefore that the LEZ will be accompanied by changes to certain roads to prioritise people walking, wheeling and cycling, and using public transport. These are not the subject of this consultation, but will be taken forward via the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) process upon which members of the public and stakeholders will also be consulted.

Our ‘Proposal to Make a LEZ Scheme’ can be downloaded from the link below. This contains further information on:

  • Aberdeen’s LEZ objectives and why we think a LEZ is necessary and appropriate for Aberdeen;
  • The proposed introduction date and grace period;
  • The scope of the LEZ in terms of the types of vehicles to which it will apply;
  • Emissions standards for access to the LEZ;
  • Exemptions; and
  • Penalty charges.

It is recommended that you download and read this document before starting the questionnaire as some of the questions or concerns you have about the LEZ might be addressed in this document. You may also find it useful to refer to this as you work your way through the questions.

The LEZ option appraisal report - the Interim National Low Emission Framework (NLEF) Stage 2 Report – and an Executive Summary can be downloaded from the links below. Traffic and Air Quality Modelling Reports have also been made available for viewing. Links are also provided to a report on COVID-19 uncertainties and how these have been factored into LEZ planning, and a summary of the previous consultation outcomes.


Why we are consulting

We are now seeking views on the preferred option boundary, the proposed grace period and any additional exemptions you think should be applied. Depending on how much feedback you would like to give, we anticipate this survey will take 10-20 minutes to complete.

The consultation period will run for 8 weeks and closes on 22nd August 2021. If you would prefer not to respond to the online questionnaire, any responses, comments or feedback can be emailed to: transportstrategy@aberdeencity.gov.uk, or sent to: 

Transport Strategy and Programmes, Aberdeen City Council, Ground Floor North, Marischal College, Broad Street, Aberdeen AB10 1AB.

Following consideration of the consultation outcomes, Aberdeen City Council aim to formally publish the scheme in autumn 2020. This will then trigger a 28-day period within which formal objections can be made and these will then be considered by the Council. Please keep an eye on our website for regular updates on this.

Depending on the volume of feedback received, it is hoped that a final LEZ scheme can be submitted to Scottish Ministers towards the end of 2021 / early 2022 for approval.

Assuming Ministerial approval is granted, ACC aims to introduce its LEZ on 30 May 2022, at which point the grace period comes into effect.

Give us your views


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