As Glasgow makes plans to be the first pollution reducing Low Emission Zone in Scotland, what will this mean for visitors to the city?
Put very simply, regulations will be put in place that will mean if you have an old car, you cannot drive it into the centre of Glasgow or you will be fined.
Subject to agreement by the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, these new regulations would be phased in from December 2018.
By 2022, all vehicles entering the zone, including private cars, will have to be fitted with engines that comply with European standards for petrol and diesel or be fined. Automatic numberplate recognition will ensure all cars are checked for compliance.
To comply with European standards a petrol car must have a Euro 4 engine (introduced in January 2005) and a diesel car must have a Euro 6 engine (introduced in September 2014).
For many driving older cars this could result in a surprise fine after a day out in Glasgow.
The Glasgow Connectivity Commission has recommended that Glasgow needs to focus more on pedestrians, cyclists and an integrated public transport system to keep pace with other leading European cities
Whilst an admirable effort to improve air quality in the city, it does beg the question, what about the weather.
This year Scotland issued its first ever red weather warning. Temperatures dropped well below zero and the Scottish Government advised people not to travel. In general winters in Scotland are much colder than those in London, where the other major Low Emission Zone is proposed.
Will there be a public transport system that doesn’t have people out in freezing temperatures waiting for a bus or train? How many pedestrians or cyclists does the Commission expect to see out and about in a Scottish winter?
Many people travel to Glasgow from outwith the city on a daily basis for work or to shop. Glasgow City Council needs to put alternatives in place before the deadlines to allow businesses in the city to survive.
Hopefully Glasgow will be able to make all the mistakes and rectify them before other cities decide to jump on the bandwagon. I for one don’t fancy waiting on a bus in the freezing rain just to be able to go shopping. There is a real danger this Low Emission Zone could result in even less people visiting our city centres.