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Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I will comment on three amendments, the first of which is amendment 135, in the name of Jamie Greene. The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee discussed the issue and felt that it is important to make the purpose of a low-emission zone explicit.

“The purpose ... is to reduce transport-related emissions within and in the vicinity of the zone.”

That is quite clear, and I do not see what objection anybody could have to it. I must admit that were it not to be set out in the bill, that would make no difference to a zone’s operation, but having the purpose set out in the bill would be helpful. Why members might consider not voting for that, I really do not know.

Liberal Democrats will not support amendments 49 and 55, which are in the name of Colin Smyth. Section 4(3) as proposed in amendment 49 is almost contradictory. It says that where such pollutants happen

“a local authority must—

... make a low emission zone scheme”,

but subsection (4) says that

“The Scottish Ministers may ... exempt a local authority” from doing so. To me, that is not at all logical and would add to confusion.

Talking of confusion, if Colin Smyth’s amendment 55 were to be agreed to, there would be real confusion across the country. I support the cabinet secretary’s comments in that regard. We want to see LEZs being successful; we do not want to see people driving from one city, in which their vehicle’s emissions level might be perfectly fine, into another LEZ in which it is not and in which they would be breaking the law. Amendment 55 might be well intentioned, but its drafting is completely wrong.

Scottish Liberal Democrats will not support amendments 49 and 55.