How will the introduction of Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone affect the price of used cars in the Scottish capital?

Last year, Edinburgh Council announced plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the city. This will mean that vehicles that fail to meet the strict emission standards outlined in the plans will be banned from a 1.2 square mile area of Edinburgh city centre.

To be introduced in May 2022, the ban will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, as the council’s plans currently stand, this will include a proposed two-year grace period – with enforcement of the rules not scheduled to begin until June 2024.


Who will be affected by the LEZ?

The Edinburgh LEZ will stretch from Queen Street to Melville Drive on one side and from Palmerston Place to Abbeyhill on the other – though it will not include these streets.

It will rely on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and mobile enforcement vehicles to administer the ban in the Scottish capital – and it is expected to affect around 20,000 vehicles.

This will include diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars registered before January 2006. Plus, all HGVs and buses entering the city centre that do not meet Euro VI emission requirements.

Under current plans, motorcycles, mopeds, emergency vehicles, vehicles with blue badges, and historic vehicles will be exempt.


How will Edinburgh’s LEZ be enforced?

Those drivers entering the LEZ after June 2024 – whose vehicles do not meet the emissions standards – will be fined a set penalty of £60, though this will be halved if paid within 30 days.

However, there will be an extra penalty for reoffenders. If drivers of high-polluting vehicles enter the LEZ more than once within a 90-day period, the penalty is set to double each time – up to a maximum of £480 for cars and vans and £960 for lorries and heavy goods vehicles.


What happens if drivers cannot afford the fines?

Edinburgh Council have stressed that the new measures are not designed to be a money-making scheme. It is simply an initiative to clear up the air in a city long known as ‘Auld Reekie’.

As such, the council is making financial support available for drivers in the city whose vehicles do not comply with the emission standards. This support will be subject to specific means-testing and only available to drivers that live within a 20km radius of the LEZ. This financial support will include a £2,000 grant towards disposal of high-polluting vehicles – with a view to trading up to greener ones.


What will the LEZ mean for the price of second-hand cars locally?

Second-hand cars that are compliant will be in greater demand and will do well from the introduction of Edinburgh’s Low Emissions Zone.

Whereas it is likely that most cars on the second-hand market – older, high-polluting vehicles – will see a corresponding sharp decline in demand in and around the Edinburgh area as the introduction of the LEZ draws closer.

Not only will owners of older, non-compliant vehicles face the daily cost of entering the LEZ, but also the rising cost of road tax and fuel – and an increased difficulty in sourcing replacement parts in the local area.

Even outside the LEZ, the value of diesel cars has dropped and there is the very real risk that the same could soon happen to petrol vehicles in the coming years. 

If you’re looking to sell an older, internal combustion engine (ICE) car or van, in or around the Edinburgh area, it makes sense to do some internet-based research using automotive websites that operate at a national level – and are, consequently, less likely to be affected by the local drop in demand of non-compliant vehicles.


Selling your car with Motorway

With a UK-wide ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel ICE cars and vans scheduled for 2030 – the government’s proposed ‘Electric Vehicle switchover’ – it means there will be a huge push in motorists upgrading to electric and hybrid vehicles as the ban draws nearer.

If you’re thinking of upgrading your ICE vehicle ahead of the switchover, beating the rush will probably help you get a better price.

Motorway offers sellers an easy – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling your vehicle – whether it’s LEZ compliant or not.

Simply enter your car’s reg on Motorway’s website and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. They’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can usually be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

If you choose to enter your car into their daily sale, it will be shown to Motorway’s nationwide network of more than 4,000 verified dealers. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

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