Graham McQueen: walk the talk to help tackle climate change

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) aim to improve air quality and help protect public health. Graham McQueen, Manager of the our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme shares how changing how we travel can address the climate emergency and why LEZs are an important step in achieving this.

A group of individuals talk as they walk down a street.

We are in the middle of a climate crisis. If we don’t act now and change the way we live it will be too late and future generations will suffer because of our inability to act on the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the way we live is killing our planet.  Among other things, we need to change the way we travel.

Paths for All manages the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme on behalf of Transport Scotland and we are very successful in encouraging people and organisations to make changes in their day to day lives which lead to less car travel and more sustainable or active travel. 

Our Open Fund currently has grants available of between £5000 and £50,000 for projects that encourage this positive behaviour change.

However, encouragement and support only goes so far.

Estimates suggest that cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 Emissions with transport being one of the biggest two contributors.

Our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Manager, Graham McQueen.

The climate emergency makes it clear that we need to go further than just encouraging and supporting change and we need legislation and regulation that enforces the changes we want within the biggest polluting areas. Low Emission Zones (LEZ)* in cities are an important step in the right direction as we work to net zero.

I think Low Emission Zones make people think about how they travel around our cities. I think that when we enforce Low Emission Zones people need to consider how they travel rather than just automatically jumping in the car: we can reduce the number of cars on our roads which reduces the CO2 emissions. Further to this fewer cars on our roads also improves our communities, our connectedness, our opportunities around public space and our health so for me, Low Emission Zones are incredibly important.

Changing the way we travel really is one of the easiest and most effective ways in which most people can contribute positively to the solution around the climate emergency and Low Emission Zones make people consider whether changing their travel habits is possible. 

Walking specifically is the easiest and most effective travel choice we have. Walk to the shops, walk to the school, walk to work. Wherever you are going consider, is walking a possibility and if so leave the car and hit the street.

This simple change will improve your health, it will improve your state of mind and it will contribute to improving your surroundings both locally and on a global scale.

At Paths for All we want to get as many people out of their cars as possible by encouraging and promoting Scotland as a walking nation. Walking is for everyone, everywhere, everyday so join us by getting out there on the streets and saving the planet by walking.


*LEZs set an environmental limit in the city centres and will prevent those vehicles with harmful carbon emissions from entering the zone. Local grace periods now apply until enforcement begins.

  • In Glasgow, the LEZ already applies to buses. For other vehicle types, enforcement will start on 1 June 2023 (1 June 2024 for residents within the zone)
  • Dundee will start enforcement on 30 May 2024
  • Aberdeen will start enforcement on 1 June 2024
  • Edinburgh will start enforcement on 1 June 2024

If you have an idea or are interested in discussing possibilities about our Open Fund with our team, please do get in touch with us at

Find out more about Low Emission Zones and register for updates at