The Scottish Conservatives support efforts to reduce harmful emissions, however, we also recognise the need to ensure continued vehicle access to towns and cities for households and businesses.
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provides legislation to create and enforce Low Emission Zones (LEZs), and divides responsibilities between the Scottish Government and local authorities. It states that the Scottish Government should develop regulations and guidance relating to several key aspects, including emissions, penalties, certain exemptions and parameters for grace periods. Local authorities on their part have the powers to create, enforce, operate, or revoke a LEZ in their areas and to design the shape, size and vehicle scope of their LEZ based on their specific, local requirements.
The Scottish Conservatives believe that the development of LEZs should be left to local authorities. The recent slashing in council budgets, however, has decreased the capacity of local authorities to reach their net zero goals.
Furthermore, the Scottish Government must do a lot more to ensure that Scotland’s roads have the necessary infrastructure to support low emission vehicles, such as EV re-charging points. The latest figures from Transport Scotland have shown that Scotland has 2558 re-charging points, when the Climate Change Committee has stated that Scotland will need 30,000 points by 2030, the year the Scottish Government aims to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel powered vehicles.
The Scottish Government need to get their act together if they do not want to miss their legal emission targets, like they have done is the past three years.