AN environmental campaign group is calling for the Transport Minister to clarify how low-emission zones will be funded.

Humza Yousaf is due to make a statement on improving Scotland’s air quality at Holyrood today and Friends of the Earth Scotland are urging him to use the opportunity to set out how he intends to deliver the ambitious timetable.

The Government has said it will collaborate with local authorities to introduce the zones in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen by 2020. They have committed to introducing one low-emission zone in Glasgow by 2018, and in all other pollution zones — areas where safety standards for air quality are regularly broken — by 2023.

The group believe that if the details are not forthcoming, the Government’s target will risk becoming “pie in the sky”.

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner, Emilia Hanna, welcomes such a move, though is worried local councils will be burdened with the cost.

“Low-emission zones have been proven to be the single most effective way to tackle dangerous and toxic air,” she said.

“The Scottish Government is to be congratulated on making low-emission zones a priority for Scotland’s cities and setting an ambitious timetable for their delivery, but promises will be pie in the sky without the necessary funding to set up and deliver them. The Scottish Government needs to set out details of how it will fund Low-emission zones.

“The Scottish Government must provide the bulk of funding for low emission zones and not simply pass the bill on to cash-strapped councils.”

“The zones should restrict the most polluting buses, vans, and lorries from polluted areas, including cars and taxis at a later date.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We welcome the constructive policy proposals put forward by the Federation of Small Businesses in their response to the now closed consultation on low emissions zones. We will work with them, and with other stakeholders, Scottish local authorities, and regional transport partnerships to deliver Low Emission Zones that support our ambitions.”