One MILLION vehicles will be banned from Scottish city centres

A million vehicles will be banned from three more cities in Scotland within weeks as the SNP’s Low Emission Zones are extended.

Business leaders expressed dismay over the LEZs being introduced in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh despite scientific evidence that emissions were well within legal limits in each city last year.

Critics say the zones cause huge inconvenience at massive cost to taxpayers, with concerns today reiterated by business leaders in the new LEZ cities.

The Scottish Mail on Sunday has revealed how the first LEZ, in Glasgow, was introduced last year with zero positive impact on air pollution, and levels of the most serious pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, actually increasing.

The Glasgow LEZ also saw more than £700,000 shelled out by the local authority on hiring vehicles to replace its own non-LEZ compliant ones – despite the council ­telling locals and businesses they have ‘had years’ to get ready.

Figures show 1,078,580 vehicles – about a third of the total registered in Scotland – will be banned from its four biggest cities.

Non-compliant cars, generally diesel-engine ones from before 2015 and petrol ones from before 2006, attract £60 fines each time they enter an LEZ. Fines totalling around £3.5million have been issued in Glasgow since last June.

Dundee’s zone will be enforced from May 30 with Aberdeen and Edinburgh’s following on June 1.

A survey of more than 2,700 people found 90 per cent of them opposed the Aberdeen LEZ, with most saying they would be less likely to visit the city centre. 

A spokesman for Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce said: ‘People in Aberdeen are already taking time to adjust to the new bus gates around Union Street. It would make sense to review the impact of these measures first, before further crackdowns on motorists are enforced.’

Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘We are concerned at the experiences of businesses in Glasgow and would not be in favour of additional costs to a business or their staff and customers, particularly in the current circumstances where hospitality and high street businesses are finding times tough.’

A spokesman for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said: ‘The hospitality industry has been through an extraordinarily ­difficult time and is still suffering and fragile in its recovery, and the LEZ must not create additional difficulties.’

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson warned the SNP ‘cannot arrogantly continue acting like there are no issues with LEZs and must listen to communities and businesses across Scotland before new ones are implemented’.

Scott Arthur, City of Edinburgh Council transport convener, said: ‘Our information campaign started two years ago to give people time to get ready, and to avoid penalties when enforcement begins.’

Scottish Government quango Transport Scotland said: ‘LEZs ­protect public health by improving local air quality.’