21 May 2018
Glasgow Chamber members have met Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP in a specially- arranged session to discuss the future introduction of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Scottish cities.
The session was an opportunity for the Minister to discuss details of Scottish Government proposals, which will see Glasgow introduce phase one of its LEZ, the first in the country, by the end of the year.
Glasgow Chamber has welcomed the Scottish Government’s move to introduce LEZs, but warned of unintended consequences,
Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “While we broadly welcome the move to have cleaner air in our city centres, we would encourage consideration of the unintended consequences of policy development, with likely impact to discretionary travel on city centre tourism, retail and leisure sectors.
“Although we agree with the primary objective of the LEZs to meet air quality objectives, this must happen while delivering sustainable economic growth, creating jobs and attracting investment. Differential parking policies between city centres and out of town retail and leisure centres have already displaced business, and the prospect of further displacement is a concern, so we are calling for a level playing field.
“However, we welcome the pragmatic and phased approach to the Glasgow LEZ..”
In its submission late last year to the LEZ consultation, the Chamber highlighted that Glasgow city centre retail and leisure sectors generate an output of over £5.46bn and support more than 33,000 jobs, and that many of these businesses depend on daily deliveries.
The Chamber suggested that the inclusion of vehicles which make these deliveries should only be included in LEZ plans “after an appropriate period of time to allow for compliance arrangements to be put in place” and called for a compensation programme to help businesses with engine retrofitting.
In addition to air quality and environmental measures, the response encouraged “monitoring the impact of LEZs in terms of footfall and other economic and environmental indicators”.
The response continued: “We would therefore seek a positive communications programme promoting peripheral car parks and highlighting alternative ways to access the city centre, including park and ride, with imaginative provision of developments such as underground car parks such are seen in some European cities