Political Correspondent

GLASGOW will be home to the fist low emission zone in Scotland to tackle pollution and city centre congestion Nicola Sturgeon will reveal today.

The city council revealed its plans for a LEZ last month initially focussing on buses forcing operators to switch to lower emission vehicles.

The First Minister will today announce the city’s bid to create a Low Emission Zone has been successful.

She will use her Leader’s speech to the SNP Conference in Glasgow to say Glasgow will be the first city to put in place a Low Emission Zone.

Last Month the Evening Times revealed the city’s plan for the zone which will ban buses from the city centre by the end of next year unless they meet the strictest European standards on emissions.

Ms Sturgeon will tell the conference the city council will work with the Scottish Government to prepare the design of the LEZ and the proposals to improve air quality in the city.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf welcomed the announcement.

He said: “I’m delighted that Glasgow is working to have their LEZ in place by the end of 2018.

“We have pledged to work with local authorities to introduce low emission zones in Scotland’s four biggest cities by 2020 and this is a positive step towards that vision. This is a decision based on the scientific evidence which demonstrates the link between air pollution and ill health.

“Our position is that local authorities should be ambitious, and that all vehicles including private cars should be included in a LEZ in a phased manner.”

Anna Richardson Glasgow City Council said at a meeting during the conference organised by Greener Journeys that the measures would be phased in.

She said she did not want the unintended consequence that there ends up being fewer buses on the road.

Ms Richardson said: “The last thing we want is there aren’t enough buses. We need to be sure the speed we implement this is achievable.”

Ms Sturgeon will also state that she is working to improve Scotland for the next decade and beyond.

She will point to policies on improving availability of free childcare.

She will say: ““Right now, we deliver around 16 hours of early education and childcare a week - generally, that’s either a morning or an afternoon session each day.

“It means some parents still face a struggle to find and fund the childcare they need to allow them to work.

“We are going to change that. By 2020, we will deliver around 30 hours for every three and four year old and eligible two year old.

“It will give children the best start in life. And working parents will save around £350 a month on the costs of childcare.”

The First Minister will say that the policy is fully costed and funded with £420 million a year currently invested in early years education and childcare.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say that will rise to £840 million a year.

she will say:“This is a commitment unmatched anywhere else in the UK. And it’s the best investment we can make in Scotland’s future.”