A Glasgow restauranteur is backing an auto firm's fight against phase two of the city's Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

Michael Bergson, the managing director of Buck's Bar Group, has said he is "100% behind" garage boss William Paton in his battle against Glasgow City Council.

We reported on Wednesday that Mr Paton had been given the green light by judge Lady Poole in his bid to have the second phase of the LEZ deemed unlawful.

Now, a procedural hearing is set for September 8 and will be followed by the judicial review on October 17.

Glasgow Times:

A spokesperson for the council said the case will be "vigorously contested".

Mr Bergson says the scheme is disastrous, not only for Mr Paton’s auto repair shop, but for the city's hospitality and taxi industries, and overall late-night economy which has already suffered amid the cost of living crisis.

He told the Glasgow Times: "What got me against it in the early stages is I know a lot of taxi drivers.

"I've seen the decline in the number of taxi drivers and how hard it is to get them in the city centre some nights now.

"And that's bad for my industry, for the hospitality industry, and for the late-night economy.

"When I read William's story, it reminded me of what these taxi drivers were facing.

"I was talking to drivers who were stressed, depressed, and in a severe state of financial hardship.

"I know one who was so worried because his career working the taxis was the only thing that allowed him to care for his wife full time. And he did not have the funds to upgrade his car.

"And I feel that with this one, the council have acted with a remarkable, disgusting lack of compassion and empathy for these people."

Glasgow Times:

He added: "It's quite an extreme bar to set, to take someone's career away from them and I feel that with the air quality targets having been met, to be robbing people of their living, their livelihood, and their business has been absolutely deplorable from the council and I think it's a disgrace."

The Glasgow Times reported on Thursday that a private hire driver who couldn't afford to upgrade his car so it was LEZ compliant had his license suspended.

Cllr Alex Wilson, SNP, the licensing committee chairman, said he had “total sympathy” with the driver however compliance was mandatory.

Glasgow Times:

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “Public hire taxi operators can apply for a temporary LEZ exemption if they can show they either do not have access to a funded retrofit solution or that they have applied for or submitted an expression of interest in securing retrofit funding, but are waiting for the necessary upgrades to be undertaken."

Mr Bergson said: "I'm massively supportive of the LEZ fight back, I think they are doing the right thing."

He added: "First and foremost, they need to stop this LEZ. I think if you're going to take people's living from them, you should look at that.

"If you want to implement something like this, then you better make sure that there's improved public transport infrastructure in place, additional park and ride facilities in place.

"You can look at all these things, but they have not done any of that. I don't think it's the right way to do it when it affects the poorest people in the community.

"There's a big line that I keep hearing, that the polluter pays.

"But actually, the flip side of that is, if you can pay, you can pollute."

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: "Poor air quality presents a serious risk to public health and so the LEZ is an essential measure if Glasgow is to tackle the harmful air pollution that has dogged parts of the city centre for decades.

“Glasgow’s plan to phase in a city centre LEZ was announced in 2018 and since then there has been an extensive programme of communications and engagement to raise awareness of the scheme, its timescale for introduction and the availability of funding to ease compliance.

“Practical, targeted assistance from the Scottish Government to help prepare those most affected by the introduction of LEZs in Scotland, has since 2019 included funding for households and micro-businesses, and a separate retrofit fund including support for taxi drivers."