Edinburgh Low Emission Zone Proposals – Clean air for all?

POSTED ON August 27, 2021

Having supported an Edinburgh-wide low emission zone in 2019 we are extremely concerned the new reduced proposal from the Council will cause significant problems for some city neighbourhoods

Reluctantly, the Cockburn Association has found it necessary to object to the proposed Low Emission Zone for Edinburgh.

We support the concept a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Edinburgh, but we believe that all communities, neighbourhoods and residents across the city deserve the right to clean air, something that is not guaranteed by this proposal. The restricted boundary of this new LEZ and the loss of the city-wide zone, that we supported when it was initially proposed in 2019, will create significant and substantial environmental problems for communities on the periphery of the zone.

Known “hotspots” of traffic pollution such as Corstorphine High Street, central Leith and along various major arterial routes entering the city will not benefit by the city centre-only boundary.  Additional pressures on streets such as Queen Street, Earl Grey Street, Melville Drive and The Pleasance will result, and whilst communities within the zone will benefit, those adjacent may well be subjected to increased levels of pollution.

Furthermore, important residential areas such as the northern New Town and Broughton could be subject to increased rat-running as polluting vehicles seek to avoid overly trafficked streets.

The proposed approach taken would create a de facto inner ring route around the city centre, ironic in that Edinburgh resisted the development of an Inner Ring Road proposal in the 1960s with its planned elevated motorway through the Meadows and Stockbridge and massive tunnel under Calton Hill.

Whilst we appreciate the challenges that a city-wide LEZ poses, the City of Edinburgh Council’s current commitment for a net zero Carbon Strategy in the city by 2030 suggests that the LEZ is an opportunity to implement those changes that are needed across the entire city, thereby benefiting all residents and not just those in the centre.

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