GLASGOW could be home to the country’s first Low Emission Zone should the SNP take control of the city in May, the Evening Times can reveal.

The party plan to create the special area in the city centre in an attempt to reduce the level of pollution blighting streets if they win the upcoming council elections.

Campaigners from environmental group Friends Of The Earth (FotE) have welcomed the “life saving scheme”, having previously said there have been hundreds of deaths in Glasgow directly linked to pollution.

A recent study found Hope Street to be the most polluted street in Scotland.

LEZs in other parts of Europe have been shown to reduce pollution and usually involve a ban for vehicles with high emissions, or tariffs for vehicles to enter the area. They can also include targets for emissions from public transport.

Glasgow SNP group leader Susan Aitken said the city is an “ideal candidate” for creating the first LEZ in Scotland.

Speaking to the Evening Times, she said: “Glasgow has some of the most heavily polluted streets in the country.

“We are genuinely determined to make our city streets cleaner, greener places for everyone and to learn from mistakes in previous years.

“There are thousands of deaths in Scotland, with an estimated 300 annually in Glasgow, with people living in the most deprived postcode areas disproportionately affected.

“Many of them will have been affected by the polluted streets of Glasgow, such as Hope Street in the city centre.”

Councillor Aitken said the party has met with FotE to discuss the plans, but she is also keen to talk with transport bosses about emission-reducing measures.

She said: “We will work with all of those with an interest in ensuring our city air is clean and clear, as having a clean atmosphere is crucial to a vibrant and healthy city.

“We have ideas to change the way people access the city centre, building considerably on proposals in the Council’s City Centre strategies for transport and the economy.

“Thanks to the work of Friends of the Earth Scotland, we have a clear understanding of the challenges ahead.

“But we are ready to work with transport and other providers on ways to reduce pollution and improve air quality. This is a mission we must all address, for the sake of everyone’s long-term health.”

FotE Air Pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna has welcomed the proposals.

She said: “We congratulate the SNP in Glasgow on their promise to protect our health and clean up our air with a Low Emission Zone, should they win the election.

“We call on all the parties to make a similar commitment to delivering clean air in Glasgow.”