A picture of a LEZ road sign

What is LEZ?

What are Low Emissions Zones (LEZ)? We discuss what they are, how they work and where you’ll find them.

28 March 2024

LEZ is the acronym for Low Emission Zone. It refers to a defined area of a town or city in which certain vehicles will have restricted access as part of a moving traffic contravention scheme. LEZs (Low Emission Zones) are created in a direct attempt to reduce air pollution levels in particular areas of the UK and Europe. They are separate from London’s Ultra-Low-Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

What is LEZ zone and what does LEZ stand for?

LEZ road sign with trees and blue sky in the background

A Low Emission Zone is the geographical area to which the low emissions restrictions apply. The original LEZ was introduced in Central London and primarily targeted heavy diesel vehicles. Between 2008 and 2014, the LEZ had expanded to cover most of Greater London. These zones were created as a way of achieving the UK Government’s Net Zero strategy by 2050. In June of 2023, the LEZ came into force in Scotland.

Where is the low emission zone?

In the UK, emissions are being targeted in a few different cities. These are also referred to as ‘Clean Air Zones’ (CAZs) and can be found in England in the following cities:

Low Emission Zones in Scotland are in:

What is the LEZ charge zone?

Closeup of the lEZ sign

The LEZ charge zone refers to the area in which non-compliant vehicles will be fined for driving in. Fines are only incurred if your vehicle does not meet the emissions standards.

The charge zone is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. It operates using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

In Scotland, the fine is called a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Use this Vehicle Checker to see if your car meets the emission standards in Scotland.

The LEZ in London is different, as it targets heavy goods and commercial diesel vehicles. Cars are not included in the LEZ, as the ULEZ covers them. The target vehicles of London’s LEZ include HGVs, coaches and buses. The CAZs in other UK cities have different charge zones and often different charges.

How much is the LEZ charge?

LEZ charges vary depending on which part of the UK you are in. Check your local council website for specific information on your area. In Scotland, the initial PCN for non-compliant LEZ vehicles is set at £60. If you pay the fine within 14 days, the amount drops by 50% to £30.

The penalty charge will double each separate day between midnight and midnight that you travel in the zone thereafter. The charges are capped at a maximum amount which differs depending on which type of vehicle you are driving. For example:

Vehicle type Initial penalty charge notice amount Subsequent penalty charge notice amounts
Cars £60.00 £120.00 £240.00 £480.00 £480.00
Minibuses £60.00 £120.00 £240.00 £480.00 £960.00
Buses and Coaches £60.00 £120.00 £240.00 £480.00 £960.00

LEZ charges in London are different but do vary depending on which type of vehicle you are driving. The heavier the vehicle, the higher the charge for driving within the LEZ. The penalty charge notices in London will be reduced by 50% if paid within the first 14 days.

How to pay LEZ charge

Depending on which LEZ you enter will determine how you pay the Low Emission Zone charge. In London, you can pay the LEZ charge online. You can also register for their AutoPay service. This service charges you automatically once you sign up for it. You must always pay before midnight on the third day after driving in the zone or you will face a PCN. London’s LEZ also runs from midnight to midnight, 365 days a year.

In Scotland, you pay the LEZ charge to the city council of which the LEZ is in. You can make this payment via the phone or online. The main difference between the Scottish LEZs and London’s LEZ is that there is no pre-payment or auto-payment system. You must remember to pay the relevant city council. Make sure you pay within the first 14 days of receiving the fine or you will have to pay the full amount.

What is LEZ compliant?

LEZ compliant refers to vehicles which are compliant with emission standards within LEZs. Vehicles which are LEZ compliant can drive into the zone without receiving a charge. The emission standards for LEZs in Scotland and CAZs in England are:

In London, the LEZ only targets heavy and commercial diesel vehicles, as the ULEZ covers cars. The Transport for London website provides specific information on heavy and commercial diesel vehicle LEZ emission standards.

If you are looking for LEZ-compliant cars, you can browse our stock of used cars.

What cars are LEZ compliant?

LEZ compliant petrol cars

LEZ compliant diesel cars

LEZ compliant hybrid cars

LEZ compliant electric cars

Your questions answered

What cars are allowed in Glasgow Low Emission Zone?

Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone exemptions include electric vehicles, Euro 4 petrol cars, Euro 6 diesel cars and Euro 4 or 6 hybrid cars. HGVs, buses and coaches which meet Euro VI standards are also able to drive in Glasgow’s LEZ without charge.

Vehicles which do not meet these standards are also able to drive in the LEZ but will incur a fine for doing so. It’s important to note that there are some exemptions. Check the Glasgow City Council website for more information.

Where is the LEZ in Glasgow?

The LEZ in Glasgow covers around one square mile in the city centre. The borders of the zone are:

The LEZ covers all areas within these boundaries. Although it acts as a borderline, the M8 motorway is not covered by the LEZ.

Within this area covered by the LEZ, there are Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. These cameras match number plates against the national vehicle database. This allows them to identify non-compliant vehicles.

When does Glasgow Low Emission Zone start?

The Glasgow Low Emission Zone came into effect as of 1st June 2023. After this date, non-compliant vehicles will incur a fine for entering the zone.

How to pay Glasgow’s LEZ charge

You can pay Glasgow’s LEZ charge by using the online payment service on the Glasgow City Council website. You can also call the LEZ Enquiry and Payment line directly on 01412871072.

What cars are allowed in the Aberdeen Low Emission Zone?

Cars which meet the minimum emission standards are allowed in Aberdeen’s LEZ. These are set out by the UK Government. These are the same emission standards that apply to vehicles driving in any of the CAZs across England. If you have specific enquiries about Aberdeen’s LEZ, you can email transportstrategy@aberdeencity.gov.uk.

When does the Edinburgh LEZ start?

The LEZ in Edinburgh was launched on 31st May 2022, and enforcement of the LEZ will begin on 1st June. The boundaries of the LEZ in Edinburgh include:

Everywhere within these boundary lines is covered by Edinburgh’s LEZ.

If you are interested in any of the cars available on the Arnold Clark website but are unsure of their LEZ compliance, you can speak to one of our product geniuses who will be happy to answer any of your questions. Otherwise, you can contact the Edinburgh LEZ email address at LEZ@edinburgh.gov.uk.

When does the Dundee LEZ start?

Launched on May 30th 2022 the Dundee LEZ provided a 2-year grace period before enforcement. As such, enforcement of the LEZ will begin on 30th of May 2024.

The boundary of Dundee’s LEZ is marked by the A991 Inner Ring Road.

There are currently some exclusions from Dundee’s LEZ. These include Bell Street, Wellgate and West Marketgair NCP car parks. You can find a full breakdown of every street covered by Dundee’s LEZ on their website. Contact Dundee.lez@dundeecity.gov.uk if you have specific LEZ enquiries.

Looking for your perfect car?

We've got over 20,000 in stock across the UK.

Start your search
Yellow Kia XCeed