GLASGOW City Council is to consider introducing a congestion charge for the city centre within the next three years.

A Labour amendment was voted through to alter the Low Emission Zone plan to introduce fines for buses that don’t meet the standards, include all vehicles in a second phase and a bring in a road user charging scheme.

The plans will now go forward for the council’s City Administration Committee to consider.

The SNP councillors tried to block the amendment but were outvoted eight to seven by the Labour, Green and Tory members.

The SNP council administration doesn’t think public transport is good enough yet in the city to cope with the shift from cars it wants to see.

While the city’s leading business organisation said it would push customers away from city centre firms.

The council leadership has set up a connectivity commission under leading transport expert, Professor David Begg, to recommend proposals to reduce congestion, improve public transport and air quality.

However, it is understood to want time to make improvements to ensure the alternatives are viable before a measure like congestion charging is introduced.

Matt Kerr, Cardonald Labour Councillor, raised the proposal which could see a congestion charge in place in the city centre by the end of 2020.

He said it was not instead of the Low Emission Zone but was to strengthen it.

He said there needs to be a shift from cars to public transport to free up road space for buses. and any income generated would be used to improve roads for walking and cycling and make public transport cheaper.

Mr Kerr said: “By reducing the number of cars, we will make our city centre a more attractive place to visit, to spend time in and to do business.

“We can use the money raised to invest in public transport and make sure that all of our communities benefit. This is a proposal designed to bring our city together.”

The SNP councillors said they were not against the idea of congestion charging but wanted a paper to be brought separate to the Low Emission Zone.

Cllr Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said: “This LEZ is also far from the only work going on to address congestion, transport and environmental issues in the city.

“The Glasgow Connectivity Commission, headed by Professor David Begg, has been given a remit to think radically about how transport in our city can be made to work for everyone – socially, economically and environmentally. That’s the bigger picture.”

Business leaders in the city want to ensure their concerns are heard before any decisions are made.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, chief executive, Stuart Patrick said:“We’re unconvinced that there is a place for a congestion charge.

“It would undermine the role of the city centre, have a negative impact on discretionary car travel and on the retail and leisure sector, and most likely result in an exodus to out of town provision.

“It’s important that the business community’s views are heard, and that it is given the opportunity to contribute to any discussions on the subject.”