05 Feb 2018
Glasgow Chamber has met with Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to discuss Scottish Government plans to introduce Low Emissions Zones (LEZs) in four Scottish cities.
The intention is for Glasgow to be the first of these, and the Scottish Government sought the Chamber’s views on this plan.
The Chamber welcomed the Scottish Government’s move to introduce LEZs, but warned of unintended consequences,
Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “We welcome this move to have cleaner air in our city centres, but would encourage consideration of the unintended consequences of policy development.
“In this case our concern is the likely impact to discretionary travel on city centre tourism, retail and leisure sectors.
“In addition, regulations on delivery vehicles and buses should only be enforced after an appropriate period of time to allow for compliance arrangements to be put in place. We would support any compensation programme to help businesses with engine retrofitting, especially given the short lead-in time.
The Chamber called for a “pragmatic and phased” approach to the introduction of Low Emission Zones. While it agrees with the primary objective of the LEZs to meet air quality objectives, this must happen while delivering “sustainable economic growth, creating jobs and attracting investment”.
Other UK cities have staggered the introduction of LEZs, and the Chamber welcomes the staged approach proposed by Glasgow City Council - but highlights that some European cities have had a four-year lead-in time, while Glasgow City Council aspires to introduce its LEZ next year.
Stuart Patrick continued: “We would encourage consideration of the unintended consequences of policy development, and in this particular case the likely impact to discretionary travel on city centre tourism, retail and leisure sectors”.
“Differential parking policies between city centres and out of town retail and leisure centres have already displaced business”.
The Chamber’s key priority is to ensure Glasgow continues to thrive and focuses on Glasgow city centre as the city’s proposed LEZ.
The Glasgow city centre retail and leisure sectors generate an output of over £5.46bn and support more than 33,000 jobs, and that many of these businesses depend on daily deliveries.
The Chamber suggests that the inclusion of vehicles which make these deliveries should only be included in LEZ plans “after an appropriate period of time to allow for compliance arrangements to be put in place”.
Further, the Chamber says that it would support any compensation programme to help businesses with engine retrofitting, especially given the short lead-in time.
In addition to air quality and environmental measures, the Chamber would encourage “monitoring the impact of LEZs in terms of footfall and other economic indicators”.
Stuart Patrick said: “We would therefore seek a positive communications programme promoting peripheral car parks and highlighting alternative ways to access the city centre, including park and ride.
“It’s important that the business community’s views are heard, and that it is given the opportunity to buy in to, and contribute to, these plans.
“We would also encourage imaginative solutions to city centre parking, including the provision of underground car parks, as exist in major European cities like Barcelona and Berlin.”