GLASGOW’S fully enforced Low Emission Zone may not be in place until spring 2023 – more than a full year behind schedule.

The city’s Green councillors have criticised the SNP administration who informed members at a virtual full council meeting they will their target on cleaning up toxic air.

In response to a question from councillor Martha Wardrop, the SNP said the very earliest the city will have a fully enforced Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) will be spring 2023.

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Following the revelation Ms Wardrop said: “It’s deeply disappointing that the SNP today admitted they will miss their flagship manifesto commitment to a LEZ for Glasgow. It’s widely agreed that air pollution exacerbates the symptoms of respiratory viruses like Covid-19 and already leads to hundreds of premature deaths each year.

“If the SNP had backed Green calls for an ambitious LEZ from the outset, rather than the go-slow version they pushed through with Conservative support, the city would already be much further down the road with cleaning up its toxic air.

“While pollution levels dropped in lockdown they are creeping back up and we need to keep up the focus on this environmental and public health emergency.”

On May 7, the LEZ leadership committee announced a temporary pause on plans to implement low emission zones in Scotland in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The plans were formally resumed on August 6 and a new indicative timescale was proposed for the LEZs in Scotland with an aim to see them introduced between February and May 2022.

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The original target of LEZs being introduced in Glasgow in December 2022 cannot be met because a compulsory grace period of at least one year is required after its introduction.

Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “Local authority committees or ministers may choose at the scrutiny or approval stage to refer a LEZ scheme for a formal examination. Should this occur the process could add six additional months to the time scale for the LEZ scheme introduction.

“It will no longer be possible for Phase 2 of Glasgow’s LEZ to apply to all vehicles by 31 December 2022 as originally planned.

Glasgow Times: Councillor Anna RichardsonCouncillor Anna Richardson

“Phase 1, the bus phase, has also been affected by Covid-19. The pandemic has shown what impact less traffic can have on air pollution. You have my commitment we will take any action we can to make progress over the coming months and years.”