Older cars will have to pay to get into Edinburgh city centre under plans aimed at cleaning up the capital’s air.

Edinburgh City Council has detailed proposals to introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZ), with older cars being charged a levy to enter the city.

The introduction of Low Emission Zones would see the city becoming the second in Scotland to implement such a scheme, with Glasgow launching a similar scheme less than year ago.

While the implementation of Edinburgh’s LEZ scheme is proposed to start by the end of 2020, grace periods have been factored in to allow the owners of vehicles time to prepare, with an extended grace period for residents living in LEZ areas.

READ MORE: Edinburgh's low emission zone could ban 50% of vehicles

Within the city centre boundary, the grace period for buses, coaches and commercial vehicles would be until the end of 2021 and to the end of 2024 for cars.

Buses, coaches and commercial vehicles will have until 2023 to comply with the city-wide boundary. Cars will not be affected by the city-wide boundary, which is said to help improve air quality around some of the most congested areas such as around the Gogar roundabout and Glasgow Road/Maybury Road areas.

After those dates petrol cars made before 2006 and diesels built before September 2014 will be charged to enter the city zone.

Automatic number plate recognition cameras would be used to detect when the vehicles entering the zones, with penalties for drivers who are caught.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Tackling air pollution benefits everyone – residents, commuters and visitors - particularly the most vulnerable members of society.

“Like cities across the UK and globally, we are committed to improving air quality and realising the health benefits this will bring.

“Edinburgh is one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK and it’s clear that we need to take action to build resilience while ensuring a high quality of life for everyone who comes here.

“Our plans for an LEZ, as part of a broader package of measures to improve sustainability and connectivity across the city, will be central to achieving this.”

READ MORE: Poor to be punished as Scotland's low emission zones ban older cars, warns motorists group

Edinburgh City Council developed the LEZ project in association with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (EPS) and Transport Scotland.

EPS said Edinburgh’s ambitious LEZ plans ‘raised the bar’ in city-wide efforts to improve air quality and reduce congestion across Scotland.

John Bynorth, Policy and Communications Officer at EPS said: “Edinburgh has raised the bar for Low Emission Zones in Scotland backed by a big mandate from people living and working in the city who wanted to see change to improve the city’s health and encourage people out of their cars.

“Around 75% of the 5,000 respondents to the city’s consultation document last year said they agreed with restrictions on vehicles to control and improve air quality.

“Edinburgh has cemented its reputation as a world leader for getting people out of their motor cars and into cycling, walking and using public transport more often.

“Edinburgh’s LEZ plans have been announced five months after the start of Glasgow’s LEZ in December last year. A road-map for a future for Scotland’s cities without worst polluting petrol and diesel vehicles is taking shape with Aberdeen and Dundee due to announce their LEZ schemes later this year.

“Edinburgh’s decision to introduce a city-centre LEZ boundary that will affect diesel cars below a certain standard, and backed up by fines for offenders, will drive changes in attitudes among motorists and fleet operators.

“The outer city-wide boundary, which will adopt a longer lead in time for the LEZ, will give business owners and residents who live or own businesses further out of the city a chance to decide what they need to do to comply.

“The ‘grace periods’ for Edinburgh residents and businesses gives them extra time to decide whether to give up their older cars, trade them in for less polluting or electric models or consider other options such as car-sharing, cycling, walking or using public transport.”

Environmental campaigners warned the draft plans would displace air pollution and “fails to protect the health of our most vulnerable citizens.”