The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has responded to the proposals to introduce a low emission zone in Edinburgh

Paul White, Head of Scotland at CPT said that that the proposals from the Edinburgh City Council may cause unintended congestion in the Capital and disruption for the bus network. 

READ MORE: Issue of the week: Low Emission Zones 

Welcoming the proposals, he urged the Edinburgh City Council to further consult the public and use the latest data to ensure plans were rolled out smoothly. He said: "The CPT shares CEC’s ambition to improve air quality and welcomes the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation Strategy proposals that prioritise sustainable and active travel (bus, bike and walking).  However, the Council’s LEZ proposals may result in unintended consequences for the bus network and for the millions of passengers reliant on bus across the Lothian region.

Edinburgh’s proposals are based on 2016 traffic modelling and fail to reflect the significant investment and changing travel patterns that have taken place over the past 2 years. There has been minimal consultation with public transport operators and the views expressed by consultation respondents on issues such as lead-in times have largely been ignored.

"Edinburgh intends to targets the bus sector first despite acknowledging that cars and LGVs are the largest NOx polluters. CPT would urge Edinburgh Council to remember that bus is an enabler of better air quality. One bus can replace 75 cars on the road and measures to reduce car trips into the city will only be successful if there is a viable public transport alternative.

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"The suggested 1 year lead-in time for full bus fleet Euro VI compliance could result in operators being forced to reduce or remove services, or revise fares levels to mitigate for the cost of this hugely accelerated fleet investment.  This could have consequences for bus users across Lothian, many of whom rely on bus for access to work, health and education, or for accessible travel and social inclusion.

"We would urge CEC to work with CPT and the Scottish Government to resolve current practical barriers to retrofitting buses and to create an evidence-led LEZ that recognises that growing bus use is vital to its air quality objectives.”