A major change to Dundee city centre, in the form of a low emission zone, is on the horizon for car users.
The move will shake-up which diesel and petrol vehicles will be allowed into the city centre.
Low emission zones (LEZ) are being introduced across Scotland’s cities at the behest of the Scottish Government.
A public consultation is currently ongoing to finalise the plans in Dundee.
If given final approval, what will commuters, including those coming in from Fife, Angus and Perthshire, need to know?
Will my car be banned?
If the preferred option picked by councillors goes ahead, older vehicles will not be allowed into the city centre.
Diesel cars and vans registered before 2015, which generally do not meet Euro 6 standards, will be barred.
Petrol vehicles older than 2006 will also be banned.
Scotland's four largest cities are introducing Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to improve air quality.
Funded by @TranScotland, the LEZ Support Fund offers eligible businesses a grant towards the disposal of non-compliant vehicles.
— Energy Saving Trust (@EnergySvgTrust) June 22, 2021
Buses, coaches and HGVs registered from 2013 will be granted access, but older ones will not.
Motorcycles and mopeds will be exempt from the scheme and therefore allowed into the city centre.
And it won’t come as a surprise to learn that electric cars can enter the LEZ as well.
Will it help and how much will it cost me?
It is estimated emissions along “key bus routes” will be reduced by 70%.
Lochee Road is expected to have a 20% reduction as a knock-on effect of fewer vehicles approaching the city centre.
The rules will be in place 24 hours a day and will be monitored by a fleet of automatic number plate recognition cameras.
Drivers caught flouting the rules will be fined £60, or £30 if paid within 14 days.
Will there be other exemptions?
Yes, and the list makes for some interesting reading.
Aside from exemptions for emergency and military vehicles, the list also includes cars older than 30 years old and “showman” vehicles.
A showman vehicle is classed as “highly specialised” used by travelling showmen. The vehicle has to be used during the performance, or for carrying performance equipment.
Buses carrying musical equipment to Caird Hall would be one example.
Classed as “vehicles of historic interest”, cars older than 30 years old which are no longer in production are allowed to drive within the LEZ.
Disabled people will also be able to use their cars to enter the city centre.
Where will the LEZ be?
Dundee city centre’s inner ring road will form the boundary of the LEZ.
The inner ring road is made up of streets including West Marketgait, North Marketgait, Thomson Avenue and Dock Street.
Streets within this area will be bound by the Dundee low emission zone rules.
This includes Dundee Bus Station and Seagate, which is among the country’s most polluted streets.
Three car parks along the periphery of the zone will be exempt — Bell Street, Wellgate Centre and West Marketgait.
Drivers wishing to use the Overgate Centre car park will have to ensure their vehicle is allowed to entre the zone.
Lochee Road, another of Dundee’s most polluted streets, was being considered for inclusion. This was dropped for fear of the impact it would have on traffic in nearby streets.
When will the LEZ be introduced?
The current timetable will see the Dundee low emission zone introduced in spring 2022.
Its introduction has previously been pushed back thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Local authorities have to impose a grace period of between one and four years before enforcement begins. Council officers are recommending a two-year grace period.
This means enforcement is likely to begin in spring 2024.
Dundee City Council also has the power to give city centre residents a further two-year grace period, however officers have not recommended doing so.
Will Dundee low emission zone affect public transport?
One of the goals of LEZ is to have fewer cars on the roads in city centres across Scotland, which would in turn make public transport more attractive.
However, bus operators in Dundee may not be ready for the scheme.
A council report states the city’s “main bus operators” have cast doubts their fleets will be fully compliant ahead of spring 2023.
This is the earliest date enforcement, assuming councillors opt to go ahead with a one-year grace period.
Freeing buses from city centre congestion will improve reliability and journey times.”
Paul White, Confederation of Passenger Transport
Xplore has been making their fleet greener in recent years, including the introduction of fully electric buses later this year.
Xplore managing director Christine McGlasson said they are doing “all they can” to have a fully compliant fleet in time and that more than half already do.
Paul White, director of Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, said bus operators across the country have invested in improving emissions from their fleets.
“Freeing buses from city centre congestion will improve reliability and journey times, and encourage modal shift from car – improving air quality and helping meet the government’s climate change targets,” he said.
What happens next?
Following the ongoing public consultation, a further report will go before the city’s community safety and public protection committee in autumn.
This will contain further details on some of the finer points of the scheme. If this is approved by councillors, public notices will be issued and members of the public can object.
Following this, a final report will go to the Scottish Government for approval.