Agency funding

PR firm gets £508k for 38 days to promote LEZs

Low emission zone
The low emission zone in Glasgow came into force last year

Transport Scotland awarded a public relations agency more than half a million pounds for 38 days of work to promote the SNP Government’s new Low Emission Zones.

The £508,000 contract from 22 February to 31 March was handed to Manchester-based Republic of Media, despite having its own in-house team of PR and marketing staff.

LEZs came into force in Aberdeen and Edinburgh at the weekend, and Dundee on Thursday last week. Glasgow’s LEZ has been operating since last June.

The contract was worth £13,400 a day and, as Mailonline reported, was in addition to sums in excess of £1.5 million which have already been paid to other PR firms to promote the LEZs.

Millions of pounds of fines have been issued to motorists caught in breach of the rules on emissions.

Older cars are excluded from big cities, despite Scottish Government data showing the key pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), being within legal limits in all the areas affected for years.

Councils are spending money on hired cars and vans to replace their own vehicles which don’t meet the rules.

Campaigners against the LEZs have also pointed out that since the LEZ was introduced in Glasgow pollution has increased at the key monitoring station. This, they says, was because the main polluters are buses, not cars.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland told Mailonline: ‘Through our communications work more than nine out of ten people are now aware of LEZs.’

Footnote: The contract for Republic of Media is worth £508,886.08 and includes a brief to ‘uncover insight to inform effective media planning and strategies’. This agency made no contact with Daily Business.

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