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Could your car be banned from Dundee City Centre?

Low Emission Zone plans could see the worst polluting vehicles banned from the area.

The worst polluting vehicles could be banned from the city centre.
The worst polluting vehicles could be banned from the city centre. © STV

Dundee could ban the worst polluting vehicles from the city centre if proposals to create a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) are accepted.

The plans are set to move a step closer if councillors back it next week.

The city's inner ring road would form the boundary of the LEZ, with access only available to certain types of vehicles that meet stringent air quality criteria.

To achieve air quality compliance all older HGVs, LGVs and diesel cars registered on or before August 31, 2015 and all petrol cars registered before 2006 would be banned.

Dundee City Council will now consult the public on five proposed options for the LEZ but environmental campaigners have criticised the plan.

Friends of the Earth Scotland say the options offered to Dundee residents are very limiting, some are self-defeating and will be ineffective at tackling pollution.

For example, a small zone that only restricts the oldest buses, but still allows them to drive to bus stations located in the city centre.

Plus a small zone around the city centre that exempts all car parks, meaning old polluting vehicles could still drive into the city centre if they were heading to a car park.

Friends of the Earth Scotland's air pollution campaigner, Gavin Thomson said: "Some of these options, such as excluding car parks, are laughable.

"We can't cut air pollution whilst allowing the most polluting vehicles to drive to car parks in the city centre.

"Dundee's Low Emission Zone needs to be ambitious to genuinely protect the health of people in the city.

"This means a large zone, which excludes cars, vans, lorries and buses, and does not include enormous exemptions which would critically undermine the whole project."

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1437688-drivers-face-substantial-penalties-over-low-emission-zone/ | default

Dundee's Seagate and Lochee Road are among the most polluted streets in Scotland.

Friends of the Earth Scotland claims air pollution causes 2500 premature deaths every year across the country.

Alan Ross, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, added: "Whatever option we choose to take at the end of the consultation process it is important that it balances air quality with ensuring that the city's commerce and industry is not brought to a standstill.

"In addition we must be sure that LEZ is deliverable and keep it under observation to ensure it meets the objectives and can be scaled up or changed as needed."

The Scottish Government has set a target to introduce such zones in all four major cities by 2020. But business leaders are urging caution that any plan to cut pollution must not impact industry.

Alison Henderson, Chief Executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said: "The introduction of a Low Emission Zone is a key issue, and needs to be handled sensitively.

"It's important that our city achieves the difficult balancing act of protecting public health while ensuring that the business community continues to prosper and thrive.

"The information and engagement exercise must generate an informed conversation where everyone can find out what they need to know and then have their voices heard. I'd encourage as many people as possible to find out more and participate."

Considerable investment in new low emission vehicles has already been made by the three bus companies that serve Dundee.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1434173-scotland-s-first-low-emission-zone-launched-in-glasgow/ | default

David Frenz, Operations Director for Stagecoach East Scotland, said: "We are very supportive of and will look to play a key role in the improvement of air quality in the towns and cities we operate in. This is highlighted by the £15.4m investment in low emission vehicles over the last seven years, with further investment planned for the future.

"Bus travel is critical to ensure the towns and cities we serve remain accessible, not forgetting the significant economic benefit it provides to the employment, leisure and the retail sectors.

"We are more than willing to engage and work with all parties in improving the air quality throughout Dundee and the surrounding area, but bus use along with other forms of active travel should be encouraged and not restricted."

As well as the introduction of an LEZ, Dundee City Council is investing in active travel options, like electric bikes and improving cycling and walking infrastructure.

The community safety and public protection committee will meet on Monday. If approved, the public consultation will be launched shortly thereafter.

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