Aberdeen’s Low Emission Zone – the ultimate guide

    To help reduce air pollution and protect public health, the Scottish government introduced Low Emissions Zones (LEZs) in its four largest cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow – in 2022. 

    These LEZs restrict vehicles that don’t meet specific emission standards from driving within designated areas. Together, Scotland’s four low emissions zones mark a pivotal step toward the country’s goal of achieving net zero by 2045. 

    Although Aberdeen’s LEZ was unveiled in 2022, the city will officially start enforcing fines for vehicle non-compliance this summer (2024). Starting in June, only compliant cars and vans will be able to cruise through the city centre. Having a noncompliant car or van can therefore have a big impact on your wallet – both while driving and if you’re looking to sell in Scotland

    Don’t let your driving be stalled by these new policies: master Aberdeen’s LEZ policies with this guide, and be sure to read up on other Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and LEZs across the UK.

    What is the Aberdeen Low Emission Zone?

    Enforcement for Aberdeen’s Low Emission Zone begins in June 2024.

    Like Clean Air Zones (CAZ), Low Emission Zones are areas that the UK government and local councils have targeted for improving the air quality. They are often busy, urban areas with heavy road traffic. 

    Yet unlike other CAZs across the UK, which charge high-polluting cars a daily fee to enter, Scotland’s LEZs require that all vehicles comply with emissions standards or face a penalty. 

    Aberdeen’s LEZ is a designated area covering the city centre. The LEZ was introduced by the Aberdeen City Council in 2022. The city has enjoyed a two-year grace period before officials begin enforcing this new policy. Aberdeen’s grace period ends on 31st May 2024 and enforcement for non-compliant vehicles will come into full effect on 1st June 2024. The LEZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

    Where is the Aberdeen LEZ?

    Credit: Aberdeen City

    Cars driving in Aberdeen’s city centre will be subject to LEZ regulations. The LEZ covers a small, central plot around Castlegate to the east, and the Union Street area to the west (between Skene St and Willowbank Road). Aberdeen’s main train station and bus station are outside of the LEZ.

    See above for Aberdeen’s LEZ boundaries and explore an interactive map of Aberdeen’s LEZ.

    What vehicles will be affected?

    Cars and vans must meet specific government emission exhaust standards to enter Aberdeen’s LEZ. Diesel vehicles must meet Euro 6 emissions requirements and petrol vehicles must meet Euro 4 emissions requirements to drive within the zone.

    Aberdeen’s LEZ adheres to the same regulations as other LEZs across Scotland, penalising older, more polluting vehicles. If your vehicle does not meet the following criteria, it will be impacted by the LEZ:

    • Petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro 4 emission standards (typically vehicles registered from 2006).
    • Diesel cars and vans that do not meet Euro 6 emission standards (typically vehicles registered from September 2015).
    • Buses, coaches, and HGVs must meet Euro 6 emission standards (typically vehicles registered from January 2013).

    If unsure, you can check your car’s emissions status using our free ULEZ tracker tool. Results are also valid for LEZs in Scotland.

    LEZ charges and enforcement

    Aberdeen’s LEZ operates all day, every day of the year. Authorities enforce LEZ regulations with monitoring systems such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras located throughout the zone. Vehicles are also subject to emissions inspections within the LEZ. 

    Penalties can cost a pretty penny! Driving a non-compliant vehicle through any part of the LEZ will result in an initial penalty of £60. If paid within 14 days, this fine will be reduced by 50%. 

    Penalties double with subsequent violations. However, there is an upper cap on charges: £480 for cars and light goods vehicles, and £960 for buses, coaches, and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The penalty is reset to the base figure (£60) if no further breaches occur within a 90-day period.

    LEZ exemptions

    Certain vehicle categories are exempt from LEZ restrictions in Aberdeen. These include: 

    • Blue badge holders
    • Emergency vehicles
    • Historic vehicles
    • Military vehicles
    • Showman vehicles
    • Vehicles for disabled people
    • Vehicles used for essential services

    Aberdeen City Council can also grant time-limited exemptions for certain specialist vehicles, if they are not suitable for replacement or retrofit. 

    More information about applying for an exemption can be found on the Council’s website.


    How do I know if I have to pay in a low emission zone?

    To check that your petrol car, van, or minivan is compliant with Euro 4 emissions standards, or that your diesel car, van, or minivan is compliant with Euro 6, simply enter your reg in our ULEZ Checker for free, instant confirmation.

    London’s ULEZ and the Scottish LEZs have the same compliance criteria, making our ULEZ Checker a great one-stop tool for verifying your compliance standards across England and Scotland.

    What happens if I drive through a low emission zone?

    Driving through a low emission zone without meeting emission standards will result in penalties or charges. Automated systems like ANPR cameras monitor vehicles, identifying non-compliant ones for enforcement action.

    Do diesel cars have to pay in low emission zones?

    Yes, diesel cars must pay in a low emission zone if they do not meet the specified emission standards. Typically, diesel vehicles need to adhere to Euro 6 emissions standards to avoid penalties or charges when entering the LEZ.

    Are there grants and assistance available if you can’t afford a new car?

    In Aberdeen, households can apply for a £2000 cash grant to assist in changing over from a non-compliant vehicle. Additionally, you could receiveup to two £500 mobility grants or Travel Better vouchers to purchase a bike, e-bike, or public transport voucher. 

    Find out more about the grants available with Low Emission Zones Scotland.

    How can I sell a non-compliant vehicle?

    If your vehicle is not compliant with Aberdeen’s LEZ, the good news is you can still sell it and invest in a compliant car or van. 

    At Motorway we offer a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling your vehicle, whatever the model. Just enter your reg on our homepage for an instant estimated sales price based on up-to-the-minute market data. We’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through building your vehicle profile. Remember to note that your car’s non-compliant! 

    All of this can be done right from your phone – in just a matter of minutes.

    You can choose to enter your car into our daily sale, where it will be shown to our nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

    In as little as 24 hours you’ll receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

    Selling your car?

    Read about everything you need to know about how to sell your car with more guides here. There’s a lot to learn as Clean Air Zones and emissions standards in the UK change in the run-up to 2035.