Scottish hauliers headed to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh last week to learn how the rollout of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) across four of its major cities will affect them.

The Scottish Government has mandated that Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow introduce rules requiring HGVs to be Euro-6 compliant to enter an LEZ, which is typically a small area in the centre of the city.

All zones are now in place, explained Vincent McInally, Air Quality and Environment Manager for Transport Scotland, however grace periods of up to two years were granted before penalty charging would commence.

Glasgow will introduce penalty charging from 1 June 2023, McInally added, while Dundee has opted to start enforcement on 20 May 2023 and both Aberdeen and Edinburgh from 1 June 2024.

Except for a small number of exemptions, non-compliant vehicles will be issued with a penalty charge notice if entering an LEZ. This will be £60 for a first offence, increasing up to £960 for repeat offenders.

“This is not a revenue raising exercise by the local authorities or the Scottish Government," said McInally. "We do not want non-compliant vehicles entering the low emission zones, which is why there is no ‘pay to enter’, it’s a fine to act as a deterrent.”

Edinburgh City Council also provided the finer detail about its own LEZ plans to delegates at the event.

Councillor Scott Arthur said: “While  we want to reduce car usage in the city, we absolutely get that we still have to move goods and services around the city.

"There is also the move towards zero-emission vehicles, which is quite an interesting area for us. We're already talking to one company about how we could use ANPR cameras to reduce vehicles coming onto a specific street to only zero-emission vehicles.”

Karen Geekie, project lead at the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Truck Taskforce, spoke to delegates about the work taking place to support the drive towards fleet decarbonisation.

Established last year as a collaborative forum for industry, the taskforce includes major industry associations, such as the BVRLA, Logistics UK, RHA and SMMT, alongside vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and well-known logistics companies, such as WH Malcolm and Menzies Distribution.

The project aims to identify the hurdles and opportunities presented by the transition to zero-emission trucks. It will set out the steps required to enable a swift switch to new technologies and identify where further development is required.

Geekie told delegates how the taskforce aimed to support the SME sector, which may find the transition to zero-emission technology more of a challenge.

She said: “In Scotland, 90% of HGV operators run 10 or fewer vehicles. So a lot of small operators who might not be able to have the resources, the capacity, or the time to research and understand this. But we need to support them to move along with the rest of the market.

"Part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Truck Taskforce’s remit is to make sure no business is left behind.”

John Comer, head of product management at Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, gave delegates a detailed overview of the sustainable fuels available for HGVs today and those being developed for future use.

The RHA and Energy Saving Trust were also on hand to run an informative workshop for hauliers on ways to prepare their fleets for Scotland’s LEZ plans, as well as future decarbonisation goals.

Speaker presentations from the event, which took place on 18 October at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, are available to download for free.