Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in Scotland.
What are low emission zones?
Low emission zones are a type of Vehicle Access Regulation Scheme that restricts access to an area by the most polluting vehicles. Low emission zones in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are now live and aim to improve air quality.
Improving air quality is more important than ever. The air we breathe contains emissions from motor vehicles, industry and household fuels. Exposure to polluted air contributes to health conditions, including heart and respiratory diseases, and some cancers.
Low emission zones set criteria based on Euro emission standards for vehicles. After a grace period, vehicles that do not meet the minimum standard will face a penalty if they enter a low emission zone once enforcement is in place. If you live or operate a business in a low emission zone, and your current vehicle is not compliant, you may be entitled to some support. Please see the eligibility criteria below.
Current standards set by low emission zones
Fuel and category
Petrol - all types
Euro 4/IV - generally vehicles registered in or after 2006*
Diesel - all types
Euro 6/VI - generally vehicles registered in or after September 2015*
Euro 3 - generally vehicles registered in or after 2007*
Most plug-in vehicles**
*You can use the Vehicle Checker to see whether your vehicle would be allowed to enter a zone. You can also contact your vehicle manufacturer for this information.
**Plug-in vehicles include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), extended-range electric vehicles (E-REVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Non plug-in or mild hybrids are considered under the petrol or diesel category.
Benefits of low emission zones
The goal of low emission zones is to improve air quality by restricting use of heavily polluting vehicles. This will:
protect public health by improving air quality. The NHS considers air pollution the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, attributing 28,000-36,000 deaths to air pollution each year
encourage the use of shared transport and active travel options. Active travel measures such as walking, wheeling or cycling are the most sustainable travel methods, increasing fitness and overall health while producing zero emissions
accelerate the adoption of lower emission vehicles such as electric vehicles. The Scottish Government has set a commitment to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032
Please see below an overview of available grants administered by Energy Saving Trust to help individuals and organisations prepare for the enforcement of low emission zones. All schemes are funded by Transport Scotland:
Support for households
Households in receipt of specific means-tested benefits within a 20km radius of a low emission zone may be eligible for a £2,000 grant towards the disposal of non-compliant vehicles. Successful households can also apply for up to a further £1,000 Travel Better funding for sustainable travel alternatives. Options include bus passes, train season tickets, new and used bikes, as well as car club membership and credits.
Find out more
Support for businesses
Micro businesses with nine or fewer full-time employees and sole traders with an operating site within a 20km radius of a low emission zone may be eligible for a £2,000 grant towards the disposal of non-compliant vehicles.
Find out more
Low Emission Zone Retrofit Fund
This fund is open to applications from micro businesses operating wheelchair accessible taxis, light commercial, heavy goods and refuse collection vehicles within one of Scotland’s four low emission zones. The fund will provide support to retrofit existing non-compliant vehicles with Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) approved emission reduction solutions.
Find out more
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Low Emission Zone Support Fund or Retrofit Fund, you may be interested in the following options to purchase an ebike or an electric vehicle: