- Glasgow’s LEZ has been in place since June and drivers face £60 fines for breaching the rules.
- More zones to be introduced in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh
- A Court of Session hearing could declare the zones illegal
Banning vintage cars from a city was “illegal” and “draconian”, a court was told yesterday.
Lawyer Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, Kansas, told Judge Lady Poole that Glasgow City Council acted unlawfully by allowing the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) to come into force.
The LEZ has been in place in Glasgow since June, with fines of £60 in the city centre, while similar schemes will be introduced in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh next year.
A judicial review, which could declare the zones illegal, is pending at the Court of Session, backed by a six-figure sum promised by a business-led “anti-ELZ fund”.
Lord Davidson told the court that Glasgow City Council had failed to follow established legal tests before introducing the LEZ.
Glasgow’s LEZ covers much of the city center and drivers of non-compliant vehicles face fines for entering it.
The second phase of the plan aims to improve air quality in Glasgow city center by limiting the vehicles that can enter the area.
Cars, trucks and other means of transport that do not meet emissions standards are not permitted and drivers who break the rules can be fined.
Lord Davidson said available data showed air quality in the city center had improved in recent years and this trend would continue.
He said the information showed there was no need to introduce an LEZ and the plan was therefore illegal.
Lord Davidson also mentioned that drivers could be fined hundreds of pounds if they repeatedly breached the LEZ.
He added: “This is draconian.”
The judicial review has been taken to court by Glasgow-based Patons Accident Repair Centre.
Its director, William Paton, has previously spoken of how he commissioned a report from the Hilson Moran Institute to study the impact of the first phase of the LEZ for buses which came into force in 2018.
The report found that air quality goals were achieved in phase one, and that the second phase, which impacts other vehicles, would not lead to any further improvements. Other critics of the plan say the LEZ will have a detrimental impact on Glasgow’s economy.
Garage owner William Paton, who claims the LEZ has affected his business, is behind the legal challenge.
Paul McManus, the drummer of Scottish rock band Gun, has contributed £100,000 to a campaign that wants to stop the plan.
McManus said he wanted to get involved because he believes it will affect poorer people the most.
Ruth Crawford, KC, representing the council, told Lady Poole that the local authority had acquired evidence on nitrogen dioxide emissions which gave it a legal justification for establishing an LEZ.
The hearing continues today, with Ms Crawford continuing her submissions and Scottish Government lawyer Gerry Moynihan, KC, also expected to address the court.
End of the road for SUVs in the city?
SUVs may be restricted in some parts of Edinburgh
Gas guzzling SUVs could be banned in parts of Edinburgh as the city looks to crack down on polluting vehicles.
Green councilor Chas Booth said SUVs endanger pedestrians, create potholes and are bad for the environment.
The Leith councilor said the vehicles “may be appropriate for a Fife farmer” but not “for a Bruntsfield banker”.
Councilors backed his motion to “explore measures to discourage or restrict larger and heavier vehicles”, which could be enforced through permits and environmental orders.