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Major city rakes in money just months after major change to driving rules: ‘An essential measure to protect public health’

“We’re getting cleaner air in the city [center], and a healthier city for everyone.”

“We're getting cleaner air in the city [center], and a healthier city for everyone."

Photo Credit: iStock

After implementing new driving rules a few months ago, the city council in Glasgow, Scotland, has enjoyed an eye-popping influx of cash.

According to the BBC, recently released figures revealed that the Glasgow City Council made £478,560 (around $600,000) from June through September following the establishment of a low emission zone (LEZ). 

BBC explained that under LEZ rules, “drivers whose cars do not meet clean air standards are fined £60 (about $75), but this doubles each time the vehicle enters the restricted city [center] zone.” At one point, the total reached as high as £1 million (close to $1.3 million), but fines paid within the first 14 days of being issued are cut by 50%.

In addition to the revenue increase, the LEZ also helped improve the air quality in the city of Glasgow. Similarly, the introduction of “ultra-low emission zones” had the same effect in London, as the city’s government reported an almost 50% reduction in nitrogen dioxide pollution after they were put in place.

“We’re getting cleaner air in the city [center], and a healthier city for everyone. The Royal College of Paediatricians said nearly 2,000 deaths per year in Scotland are attributable to air pollution,” said Scottish Greens councilor Blair Anderson, who called the LEZ a “success,” as the BBC reported.

A council spokeswoman added: “Glasgow’s LEZ is an essential measure to protect public health by reducing stubbornly high levels of harmful air pollution in our city [center].”

The new rules have been such a success that there are plans to introduce LEZs in the Scottish cities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee by the summer of 2024.

The BBC noted that the Glasgow City Council said the LEZ rules “generally affected the owners of diesel vehicles over eight years old and petrol vehicles dating from before 2006.” The LEZ Scotland website allows drivers to check whether or not their vehicles are in compliance with the new rules.

While the Glasgow City Council continues to rake in money, not everyone is happy about the implementation of the LEZ. Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said he believes there needs to be more transparency as to how the LEZ revenue will be spent, per the BBC.

“Glasgow’s low emission zone has clobbered hard-pressed motorists for huge sums of money, only a few months since it was imposed,” he said. “Ordinary Glaswegians, and in particular motorists and city [center] businesses, are paying a huge price for this ill-thought-out policy.”

Business owners have also been affected, as the LEZ rules have caused a decrease in desire from the general public to travel into the city.

“The streets of Glasgow have been emptied, not of cars but of people,” said Donald MacLeod, who owns nightclubs in Glasgow’s city center. “Midweek the town is a ghost town.”

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