A new study has shown that two thirds of residents are in favour of a city centre pay zone. But council leader Steven Purcell said he remained “unequivocally opposed” to such measures.

Plans for congestion charges as well as the re-introduction of trams were among a raft of proposals under discussion yesterday as the council set out its vision to become one of Europe’s greenest cities.

The plans were put forward by Sustainable Glasgow, a new council-backed initiative that aims to cut carbon emissions by 30% over the next 10 years.

According to the group, two-thirds of Glasgow residents support congestion charges, with almost half strongly in favour.

By contrast, only one in 20 were strongly opposed, with just a quarter registering any sort of opposition.

Despite the survey findings, both Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government indicated that they would be against any such scheme.

Mr Purcell said it would be unfair to make Glasgow more expensive for visiting drivers than other cities, although he suggested that congestion charging would work if it was introduced across Scotland.

The new report, which is chiefly concerned with reducing carbon emissions in line with national targets, warns: “Rapidly increasing car ownership and economic expansion in Glasgow could undermine efforts to reduce transport-related carbon emissions.

“The council has previously considered the possibility of congestion charging – and the initiative recommends the council look again.”

Glasgow’s imminent

failure to meet air quality targets in some areas and the boom in car ownership – which nearly doubled between 1984 and 2004 – are cited as reasons for a charge.

The report cites London’s experience in 2003 when charging immediatley cut cars and lorry traffic by a third.

A pay-to-enter zone in Stockholm is also credited with traffic reduction of one fifth, further bolstering the case for such a measure in Glasgow.

But though the survey of 600 people showed two-thirds support “charging car owners for driving in the city centre”, the report goes on to note that early enthusiasm for charge zones elsewhere tended to evaporate once the idea became a an established scheme.

Similar surveys in Edinburgh recorded that residents were keen and willing to pay, but a referendum in 2005 saw them reject congestion charge plans by three to one.

Glasgow City Council is unlikely to re-examine the case for congestion charging despite the report’s findings.

A spokeswoman said it “will not be looking to support further action on this suggestion”, while council leader Steven Purcell said: “I think it would only work if it’s a national policy.”

Among options that the council will now consider are a tram link between the city’s main train stations and a network of “park-and-ride” trams easing traffic around city centre.