Scotland to trial vehicle pollution levy

20 Jan 17

The Scottish Government is to pilot raising a levy on exhaust pollution from heavy vehicles, as part of a renewed drive to meet long-term C02 emissions reduction targets.

After figures this week highlighted air pollution blackspots in several high-density urban traffic areas, a climate change policy update suggested a range of positive incentives to reduce vehicle emissions, including investing in more electrical charge points, supporting  out-of-town distribution depots and using procurement conditions to modernise public transport.

The paper also proposes the “stick” of introducing a pilot low emission zone (LEZ) by next year, with others expected to follow.  

It is likely to follow the model of the LEZ introduced in London almost a decade ago, which imposes a daily charge on heavy-emission buses, trucks and SUVs, with hefty penalties for those who fail to pay the levy.  A number of English authorities impose similar rules on bus operators.

While Scotland has pre-empted its 2020 climate change target by achieving a 42% reduction in emissions, doubts have been cast on its likely progress towards longer-term targets. The new draft Climate Change Plan aims to reduce emissions by 6% by 2032.

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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