Scotland’s Low Emission Zones – the ultimate guide

    All Scotland Low Emissions Zones (LEZ)
    Glasgow’s LEZ will begin enforcement in 2023 – Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh will join in 2024.

    The Scottish government introduced Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in its four biggest cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, to reduce air pollution in highly populated areas and drive the country’s goal to achieve carbon net zero by 2045.

    As of May 2022, all four of these LEZs have been introduced. Three of the four cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh) will start enforcing the fine system for vehicle non-compliance in the summer of 2024, whereas Glasgow’s restrictions start this year (2023).

    For more information about Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emissions Zones (LEZs) across the UK, read our ultimate guide.

    To learn more about the Low Emission Zones implemented by the Scottish government, read on.

    What is a Low Emission Zone (LEZ)?

    Low Emission Zones, like Clean Air Zones, are places that the government and local councils have targeted for improving the air quality. Often they are busy, urban areas, where there is lots of road traffic including Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs), taxis, buses, and private passenger cars. 

    Scotland’s Low Emission Zones differ from the CAZs across the rest of the UK, because rather than having older, more polluting cars pay a daily charge to have the right to enter the zone, they simply require that all vehicles entering the zone be compliant with high emissions standards, or face a penalty. First-time penalties can be up to £120. 

    Clean Air Zones in the UK follow a classified scheme, and the Scottish LEZ align more or less with a Class D CAZ (motorcycles and mopeds are exempt):

    ClassVehicle type
    ABuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
    BBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
    CBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses
    DBuses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, vans, minibuses, cars, the local authority has the option to include motorcycles and mopeds
    UK CAZ classifications and the vehicles they apply to.

    Any town or city running a CAZ in the UK has the same compliance standards in place:

    Vehicle typeCAZ minimum standard
    Motorcycles and mopeds (optional)Euro 3
    Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, carsEuro 4 (petrol engine) and Euro 6 (diesel engine)
    Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehiclesEuro V1
    Ultra-low emission vehiclesAutomatically compliant
    UK CAZ compliance minimum standards by vehicle type.

    These are the same compliance categories as the LEZs in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. All petrol vehicles must comply with Euro 4, all diesel with Euro 6, and when it comes to HGVs, they need to follow Euro VI protocols. 

    Vehicles that comply with these standards will not be fined in the Scottish LEZs. Neither will motorcycles or mopeds be subject to LEZ restrictions.

    Read on for more specifics about what makes the LEZs in Scotland different from the CAZs around the UK.

    Where are the LEZs in Scotland?

    The LEZ in Aberdeen covers a small, central plot around Castlegate to the East, and the Union Street area to the West (between Skene St and Willowbank Road). The main train station and bus station are both outside the bounds of the LEZ.

    The two-year grace period in Aberdeen ends 31st May 2024, with enforcement of fines for all non-compliant vehicles starting on 1st June 2024. Driving a non-compliant vehicle through any part of the LEZ will result in an initial penalty of £60, with penalties doubling for repeat offenders.

    Aberdeen’s LEZ Map.


    Dundee’s LEZ covers the very centre of the city on the north side of the Tay. It’s held within the A991 ring road and does not include the car parks at Bell Street, Wellgate Centre, or West Marketgait NCP. 

    Dundee will start enforcing LEZ fines from 30th May 2024, having allowed a two-year grace period.

    Dundee LEZ map
    Dundee LEZ Map.


    Edinburgh’s LEZ covers the very centre of the city, from New Town down to Melville Drive and St Leonard’s Street. 

    Enforcement of the fines for non-compliance starts on the 1st June 2024, and until then the capital has plenty of schemes to promote walking, cycling, and public transport as alternatives to driving in the city centre. 

    Edinburgh LEZ map
    Edinburgh LEZ Map.


    The zone in Glasgow is a square shape created by the M8 with the River Clyde and the High Street and Saltmarket. 

    Glasgow has operated a bus-only LEZ since 2018, in efforts to reduce air pollution. Scotland’s largest city started enforcing the LEZ penalties from 1st June 2023 for non-compliant vehicles, except from local residents in the zone. People living in Glasgow will still have a grace period until 1st June 2024 to change their vehicle to a compliant model. Read our guide to learn about penalties, boundaries, and exemptions in Glasgow’s LEZ.

    Glasgow’s LEZ Map.

    How much do you have to pay for the LEZs in Scotland?

    If your vehicle is non-compliant, and non-exempt, you will be issued with a penalty charge of £60 (reduced to £30 when paid within two weeks) for entering the Low Emission Zone once the grace periods are lifted. 

    Unlike London’s ULEZ and other CAZ across the UK, the LEZ across Scotland do not offer a charge that non-exempt vehicles can pay to drive within the zone; instead, they are striving to have as few highly-polluting vehicles as possible in and around cities. Since 2018, they have been notifying the public that vehicles will have to be upgraded to avoid these penalties.

    If you are charged with a penalty in a Scottish LEZ, you’ll be relieved to know that the policy is ‘decriminalised’, meaning you will not get any sort of criminal record. However, the penalty is expected to compound with multiple infractions – more information on this will be available as we get closer to grace periods lifting across Scotland.

    Are there grants for getting a compliant vehicle for the LEZs in Scotland?

    Yes, Scotland launched a Low Emission Zone Support Fund in 2021 and so far over £8 million in funding has been allocated to grants. These are issued to residents and small businesses who are within 20km of a LEZ and can’t otherwise afford to upgrade or retrofit their vehicles. 

    Households can make use of a £3,000 scrappage grant (allocated as £2,000 for scrapping a non-compliant vehicle at an authorised facility, and up to £1,000 towards travel options e.g. bikes or public transport tickets). This grant is available for one vehicle per adult/household receiving means-tested benefits from the government, and can’t be used to scrap SORN registered vehicles. 

    As for micro businesses, they are eligible for £2,000 in funding, for scrappage of a non-compliant, non-SORN vehicle, purchased before 17th September 2020, and used for business operation. Sole traders and micro businesses (fewer than nine full-time employees) within 20km of the LEZs can apply. They can also get a grant of up to £1,000 from the Travel Better Fund for a cargo bike or ecargo bike. 

    It’s important to remember that, though the LEZs have all been implemented, enforcement (i.e. the issuing of penalties) will not begin until at least June 2023 (in Glasgow only, for non-residents). 

    There is an automatic grace period until June 2024 in all of these zones, for residents. 

    There are currently grants available for residents and small businesses within 20km of a Scotland LEZ.

    Do the LEZs in Scotland have exemptions or exceptions?

    The categories of vehicle exempt from Scotland’s Low Emission Zones are as follows:

    Vehicles exempt from the LEZ in Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow)
    Motorcycles and mopeds
    Disabled tax class or disabled passenger tax class
    Police vehicles
    Ambulance and emergency service vehicles
    Scottish Fire and Rescue
    His Majesty’s Coastguard
    Military vehicles
    Registered historic vehicles
    Registered Showman’s vehicles
    Vehicles that are exempt from the Scottish LEZ penalty 

    How to check if my vehicle is compliant with Scotland’s LEZs?

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

    London’s ULEZ and the Scottish LEZs have the same compliance criteria, so you can use our ULEZ Checker to make sure you can drive through cities in Scotland without being subject to penalties. 

    How to sell a non-compliant vehicle?

    If your vehicle is not compliant with the Low Emissions Zones in Scotland, the good news is – you can still sell it, in order to invest instead in a compliant vehicle. To sell your non-compliant van quickly and easily, at Motorway we offer a simple – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling, whatever the model.

    Selling your car with Motorway is quick, easy, and 100% free.

    Sell with Motorway and our network of 5,000+ verified car dealers compete to give you their best price.

    Just enter your reg on the homepage and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale 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 the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

    If you choose to enter your car into a daily sale, it will be shown to our nationwide network of more than 5,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

    In as little as 24 hours you will 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.