Plans to tackle pollution in Aberdeen could cost cash-strapped council chiefs up to £20million – despite the numbers of vehicles on the streets tumbling.
A new report reveals that creating a Low Emission Zone – which could potentially ban or charge high-polluting cars for driving in certain parts of the city, like in London – could cost millions in infrastructure improvements.
But last night critics questioned the spend while the city council looks to slash £150million from its budget over the next five years.
A number of traffic-busting schemes like the AWPR, Berryden Corridor and Haudagain bypass will also be completed in coming years.
But council roads spokesman Ross Grant said the scheme was needed to protect the health of residents living in some of Scotland’s most polluted streets.
Setting up a green Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Aberdeen could cost up to £20million.
Councillors will be asked tomorrow to approve the next stage of a feasibility study into implementing the scheme in the Granite City, with a report indicating the potential cost of the scheme.
But last night critics questioned the spend at a time when council budgets are being slashed.
The Scottish Government has already pledged the first London-style LEZ will be established in Glasgow by the end of 2018.
Motorists would be penalised for driving into Scotland’s cities unless their vehicles have the cleanest engines, while other vehicles would be banned – with penalty levels expected to be more than £20 a day.
In January, a Friends of the Earth report revealed Aberdeen’s Union Street, Wellington Road and King Street all rank among the most polluted in Scotland.
However, the city council and Transport Scotland have already completed, or are finishing, major projects to remove the bottlenecks which cause the pollution – including the £25million Third Don Crossing, the £750million AWPR, the Haudagain bypass and Berryden Corridor.
The document says: “Estimated costs to develop a Low Emission Zone and provide the necessary infrastructure are £10million-£20million – based on studies elsewhere in the UK.”
Council transport spokesman Ross Grant said: “Aberdeen City Council is committed to investigating how best to implement a Low Emission Zone that works for Aberdeen in the ongoing battle to significantly and practically tackle air pollution that continues to plague a number of key hotspots in the city.
“Discussions with the Scottish Government are ongoing and we are in contact with the other major Scottish cities which are also considering how they intend to implement a scheme, including Glasgow.”