Low Emission Zone fears for Midlothian

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An influx of cheap cars and job losses are among issues Midlothian expects in the wake of a clampdown in Edinburgh on fuel emissions.

The Capital is considering introducing a Low Emission Zone, which would mean only vehicles which produce low levels of pollution would be allowed in. But, in a response to the proposals from Midlothian Council, officials warn of the knock-on effect it would have here, predicting air quality would be negatively affected by the move.

And they call on City of Edinburgh Council to provide funding to allow them to mitigate the impact of the new zone on the neighbouring authority. They said that additional park and ride facilities would need to be funded to cope with additional parking around the edges of the zone, which would fall within Midlothian’s boundaries.

And they predicted that vehicles which could not meet the criteria required to enter the new zone would flood the market outwith the city.

They said: “Non-compliant vehicles will become very cheap and may be purchased by people who would otherwise not be buying a vehicle to be used in outer lying areas.

“This may increase car ownership but will almost certainly increase air pollution in Midlothian, even if used by existing car owners.”

Officials called for a scrappage scheme to be introduced for people in Midlothian to stop polluting vehicles banned from Edinburgh being used in Midlothian.

They also warned that buses, taxis, trades and delivery vehicle routes might be changed to make sure that vehicles which did not meet the Low Emission Zone criteria were used outwith the zone, adding more air pollution to the county.

And they said that poorer Midlothian residents might lose jobs as a result of the zone.

They warned: “People who are in poverty/deprivation could miss out on employment opportunities, have to change jobs or be excluded from working, attending appointments or going into Edinburgh city centre for leisure due to not being able to afford to upgrade to a complaint vehicle.”

The council’s warnings and demand for funding to respond to the impact are in their response to a consultation on the Edinburgh proposals.

They set out a range of funded actions which could help soften the impact from park and ride schemes to incentive programmes and public transport improvements.

They said: “Midlothian Council accepts that City of Edinburgh Council may not be able to access funding for all of the mitigation but would expect that the local authority consultation responses are highlighted to Scottish Government supporting funding and mitigation schemes are implemented outwith Low Emission Zones areas.”