How business in Glasgow could become much more expensive for some HGV operators later this year! 


If you operate older HGVs in Glasgow city centre, the new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) could see your profits go up in smoke from the beginning of June!

The Scottish government has a long-term strategy to reduce carbon and nitrogen dioxide levels in travel and improve air quality across the country - specifically in targeted hotspots in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. 

One of its weapons in this battle is to discourage and penalise the use of older, more polluting commercial vehicles. The Transport Scotland Act 2019 provides the legislation to enable the creation and enforcement of Low Emission Zones: 

  • Glasgow - enforcement to start on 1 June 2023 

  • Dundee - enforcement to start on 30 May 2024 

  • Aberdeen and Edinburgh - enforcement to start on 1 June 2024 

The Glasgow zone will: 

  • Impact on the city’s population of around 640,000 people and its thousands of businesses, and will affect commercial vehicles - including buses, lorries and vans. 

  • Cover an area where air quality is at its poorest - an area of the city centre bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, the River Clyde to the south and Saltmarket/High Street to the east. 

  • Operate 24/7, all year round, and will be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (APNR) cameras, which will record all vehicle movements in and out of the area. 

The minimum compliance requirement for diesel HGV engines will be Euro 6 (vehicles registered roughly after September 2015). If a non-compliant vehicle is detected in the zone, a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued to the registered keeper of that vehicle.

  • Set at national level by the Scottish Government for consistency across cities, the initial penalty charge for all non-compliant vehicles entering a LEZ in Scotland will be £60 - reduced by 50% if it is paid within 14 days.
  • A scheme surcharge means that the penalty amount will double with each subsequent breach of the rules detected in the same LEZ.
  • Penalty charges are capped at £960 for buses and HGVs.  Where there are no further breaches of the rules detected within the 90 days following a previous violation, the surcharge rate is reset to the base tier of charge which is £60.

If you don’t prepare for the change and mitigate against the daily charge, the financial impact on your business could be significant, especially if you’re operating older trucks into Glasgow’s LEZ regularly.

The simple fact is that LEZs are not far away. Operators will be keeping a close eye on how the industry adapts to the changes. Those who do business in various areas will have multiple LEZs to deal with and their financial impact could be significant, and could be too much for some operators. Some might go to the wall. Will you be one of them? 

However, you need to do more than just keep an eye on developments. Crucially, you need to make sure you don’t sleepwalk into the new charges and allow your profits to go up in smoke! 

As with any inevitable change, the best business strategy is to embrace it and use it to build yourself a strong, competitive and sustainable future. 

Here at Dawsongroup truck and trailer, we refresh and upgrade our fleet on an ongoing basis and have a continual flow of new vehicles on order and available for contract hire. We have more coming on stream in the next few months. 

With 100% of our fleet of around 4,000 tractor units, rigids and dropsides already meeting the latest LEZ requirements, we have availability and can offer affordable options to keep you clear of costly charges. 

The underlying requirement for any operator is for maximum flexibility in both fleet operations and financial management – the kind of benefits we provide through our rental, leasing and contract hire services. 

Both offer economical and flexible options that provide certainty and include many of your ongoing vehicle-related costs. Most importantly, they provide vehicles that allow you to carry on your normal business in LEZ areas, without any impact on your capital investment. 

What’s more, acquiring vehicles in this way allows you to dispose of your old vehicles and invest any capital returns this generates into developing and growing other areas of your business. 

The Scottish Government has introduced practical, targeted assistance to help businesses prepare for the introduction of LEZs, including a retrofit fund. Further information about the funding currently available can be found on the Energy Saving Trust website

However, if replacing is your preferred option, why not sell your old vehicles and buy more up-to-date, compliant ones through our used sales business, Dawsondirect? 

Dawsondirect can also help you dispose of your non-compliant assets. With values currently high, now is a good time to do that, but, again, time is of the essence as the market will inevitably change sometime in the future. 

LEZs are just one part of a bigger environmental landscape, which will take at least a few years to settle down. 

With the move to zero-emission HGVs firmly on the agenda and the transport sector’s road to zero picking up pace year on year, our contract hire services can also ease any concerns you might have about alternative-fuelled vehicles. 

For the foreseeable future, regulations will continue to change and tighten, and technologies will continue to develop and improve. So, it’s difficult to make a compelling business case for greener vehicles right now, and you risk making big and costly mistakes. 

Do you stick with diesel for the time being or do you venture into gas or electric vehicles? What will become the dominant fuel? How will residual values hold up? Will alternative-fuelled vehicles have second or third lives after their first lease or period of ownership? 

With HGVs having relatively long lifespans and the 2035 and 2040 zero-emissions deadlines looming, how do you actually transition to a new kind of fleet? 

The likelihood is that, whatever decision you make today, you’ll most probably have obsolete assets on your hands a few years down the line. These are all real-world issues facing today’s commercial vehicle operator. 

We’re in the early stages in the journey towards lower emissions, and there’s a significant risk for operators at the lowest level of compliance - even after a very expensive retrofit, for example. The danger is that that they’ll be left behind when standards tighten further. 

However, backed by our expertise and support, you can trial ‘greener’ vehicles risk-free in your own business environment, comparing key factors such as costs, operational performance and ease of refuelling, before committing to what’s right for your company. 

So, we’re already doing a lot of the hard work – investing in new technology, trialling new kit and taking the associated risks – all so that you don’t have to. 

With rising costs and increasing pressure due to inflation, finances are also under greater scrutiny, but, through Dawsongroup finance, we can provide options that free up much-needed cash for your business. 

Everyone’s busy in these exceptional times, but you ought to make time to plan ahead and start a conversation with your supplier as soon as possible to discuss your options. 

We can help support and insulate your business through changes in legislation, and prevent literally thousands of pounds going up in smoke while, at the same time, play a part in bringing cleaner air to the city of Glasgow. 

Whichever way forward makes best sense for your operation, why not take a few minutes to contact either me ( 07407 878268) or my colleague Andrew Bensley (  07392 285880) to discuss how we can make our award-winning services, partnership approach and excellent customer service work for you? 

It costs nothing. Do it now before the Glasgow LEZ kicks in later this year. You have nothing to lose except the endlessly rising costs of maintaining and adapting older vehicles and the real risk of racking up LEZ charges year after year. 

Wendy Nicolson, Contract Hire Manager – Scotland, Dawsongroup truck and trailer 

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Dawsongroup Truck and Trailer Limited.

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Milton Keynes MK15 8JH

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