Edinburgh is to bid to have Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone to tackle air pollution.
Councillors have agreed to approach the Scottish government, which has said it will fund one pilot by 2018.
Lorries, vans and buses which did not meet emission standards could be fined for driving within the designated area.
Glasgow has already declared an interest in the idea. Friends of the Earth said it was the frontrunner to host the first one.
A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said: “We are committed to addressing air pollution as a priority through a range of integrated projects, including reducing congestion and investment in improved public transport, cycling infrastructure and active travel, in addition to exploring the potential for a low emission zone.
“We now intend to write to the Scottish government expressing our interest in establishing the country’s first low emission zone, as part of our work with the Scottish government, Transport Scotland, Health Boards and Scottish Environment Protection Agency to assist with the development of the Scottish National Low Emission Framework.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It’s great to see Edinburgh keen to create a low emission zone to protect people’s health from deadly traffic pollution.
“With its bigger death toll, Glasgow is the front runner but this is a very serious offer from the capital.
“With air pollution coming rapidly up the agenda, the Scottish government need to spell out how and when they will help councils create the second, third and subsequent low emission zones.
“Low emission zones are a really important tool in reduce emissions from traffic, by keeping the dirtiest vehicle out of the most polluted areas.
“They are likely to apply to buses, lorries and vans initially. The council have wisely pointed out that they need the Scottish government to commit finances to making Low Emission Zones happen.”