Glasgow LEZ map, vehicle checker and exemptions as city is first in Scotland to launch full low emissions zone

How residents and visitors can avoid charges as Glasgow prepares to be first Scottish city to issue clean air zone fines for cars and vans

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Drivers of older vehicles in Glasgow now face fines of between £30 and £960 for entering parts of the city after it began fully enforcing its low emissions zone (LEZ).

On 1 June, restrictions aimed at cutting air pollution came into force in the city centre affecting almost all vehicles and bringing the threat of heavy fines for those who don't comply. The city first began enforcing rules on buses but 2018 and has become the first in Scotland to extend its enforcement to other vehicles, including private passenger cars, small vans and taxis.

Glasgow City Council says the introduction of the zone is essential to reduce pollution levels in the city centre - particularly nitrogen dioxide, which it says road traffic is the main source of.

Automatic numberplate recognition cameras will monitor vehicles entering the enforcement zone and identify vehicles which do not meet minimum standards on emissions. A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) fine will then automatically be issued to the registered keeper of any non-compliant vehicle. 

As with existing low-emission zones in other cities such as London and Birmingham, there are different restrictions for different vehicles, as well as some exemptions, all of which we explain below.

Where does Glasgow LEZ cover?

Glasgow's LEZ covers an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east. The M8 motorway is not included within Glasgow's LEZ.

A full list of every street covered by the LEZ can be found here and there is an interactive map here, detailing the area and roads covered. There is also signage at every entry point to the zone and road markings within the zone.

(Image: Glasgow City Council)(Image: Glasgow City Council)
(Image: Glasgow City Council)

Glasgow LEZ charges and operating hours

Glasgow’s LEZ , operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and does not have a daily fee for non-compliant vehicles. Instead, drivers are immediately fined via PCN if they bring a non-compliant car into the zone, with the penalty increasing with each subsequent breach. 

Fines start at £60 for a first offence, which is reduced to £30 if it is paid within 14 days. 

Under a surcharging system, the penalty then doubles with each subsequent offence, reaching a maximum of £480 for cars and light goods vehicles, and £960 for buses and HGVs. Once this cap is reached any more breaches are charged at the maximum fine. 

Signs warning of the new rules have been put up on every entry point to the LEZ (Photo: Glasgow City Council)Signs warning of the new rules have been put up on every entry point to the LEZ (Photo: Glasgow City Council)
Signs warning of the new rules have been put up on every entry point to the LEZ (Photo: Glasgow City Council)

The Scottish Government’s Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan said the PCN system had been “robustly” designed to stop people using non-compliant vehicles in the zones rather than paying to get around the restrictions, as in London and Birmingham.

Similar penalties will apply when Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee begin full enforcement of their LEZs.

Glasgow LEZ exemptions and vehicle checker

As with other clean air zones, some vehicles and road users are exempt from the LEZ charges. These include:

  • Any electric vehicle
  • Petrol cars which meet Euro 4 emissions standards (typically any car registered from January 2006)
  • Diesel cars which meet Euro 6 (typically any car registered from September 2015)
  • Heavy duty petrol vehicles such as buses/coaches and HGVs which meet Euro IV standards
  • Heavy duty diesel vehicles which meet Euro VI standards
  • Motorbikes and mopeds

You can check if your vehicle is compliant using this online tool.

There are also exemptions for:

  • A vehicle registered with a 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicles' tax class
  • A vehicle receiving a reduction in vehicle excise duty because it is being used by a disabled person in receipt of personal independence payment at the standard rate
  • Blue Badge holders

Vehicles registered with a disabled tax class will automatically be classified as exempt. Other Blue Badge holders can apply for exemption via Transport Scotland's LEZ exemption system.

Glasgow residents living within the LEZ are also being given a time-limited exemption until 1 June 2024 after which they will have to replace non-compliant vehicles with one that meets the standards or face severe penalties. 

The Scottish LEZ scheme also allows historical exemptions. Any car first registered more than 30 years ago and no longer in production is excluded from the charges. As with London’s ULEZ, this and the rules on emissions classes leave the door open to a variety of unusual models, from older family cars to V12 supercars.