Fears have been raised over the launch of Dundee’s low emission zone after it was claimed at least 100 of the city’s buses fail to meet basic environmental standards.
Dundee is supposed to be one of four Scottish LEZs in operation by the end of 2020, which is set to impose penalties on drivers bringing dirty vehicles into its boundaries.
Scottish Labour’s Jenny Marra, who raised the issue in Holyrood on Wednesday, was told funding applications to upgrade buses to meet the Euro 6 standard are still being considered by Transport Scotland for 2018-19.
Ms Marra, a North East MSP, said: “Dundee has one bus operator with more than 100 buses that fail to meet the Euro 6 standard.
“Yet Dundee is expected to have a low emission zone (LEZ) in place by 2020.
“Given that some of our most polluted streets are on main bus routes, can the minister tell us how much money was awarded to Dundee bus operators in phase two of the Scottish Bus Emissions Abatement Retro-Fit Programme to bring their fleets up to the Euro 6 standard and whether a third phase is planned?”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she is aware of a Dundee bus company that has applied to the scheme.
“As I understand the 2018-19 applications are still currently being assessed by Transport Scotland, so there really isn’t any further information I can give in terms of detail in respect of that.”
She added: “Obviously we will have to keep these schemes in mind as we move forward because the intention is that all four major local authorities will have LEZs by the end of 2020.”
Under the LEZ regime, motorists with all but the cleanest cars face being charged for driving into the zones – or banned from them altogether.
Dundee’s Seagate and Lochee Road, which serve several bus routes, often feature in a league table showing the 10 worst Scottish streets for pollution levels.
Maurice Golden, the Conservative MSP, asked the environment secretary what the government is doing to reduce the risk of polluting cars moving into areas next to LEZs, which would include Perthshire and Angus.
Ms Cunningham said councils are expected to look into these issues.
At the end of last year, Dundee City Council was awarded £350,000 to investigate the impact of an LEZ on traffic flows, adding the introduction of the anti-pollution system will “go a long way” towards improving air quality in the city.