Last week marked Scotland’s Climate Week, in which we are asked to focus on tackling climate change and our country’s role in tackling its impact on our lives.

We are also mindful of the impact it has on public health. With that in mind, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to focus on Glasgow City Council’s (GGC) Low Emission Zone, four months on from it being implemented and assess current opinion on it.

Now I know it remains early days in the lifespan of the LEZ, but arguably there has been relatively little difference in the city centre’s air quality.

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All kerbside monitors show Glasgow City Centre to be markedly below the World Health Organisation (WHO) figure of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air – except in Hope Street where in June air quality actually rose above legal standards and at the time of writing is sitting at 42.

The reality is that with or without LEZ, Glasgow has or had the lowest air pollution figures in ­Europe.

Since the introduction of the LEZ, many believe that all GCC has done is move any perceived problems with air pollution into residential areas on the outskirts of the city as people commute to out-of-town shopping centres, restaurants and leisure facilities to avoid paying any LEZ-related charges in the city centre.

All this has done has created a “doughnut” of pollution around those out-of-town areas. Despite the SNP-Green insistence that their measure would improve public health, an unintended consequence could be that we are polluting the very areas where the city’s children play and go to school.

Eyebrows were rightly raised at the recent news that the charge has already raised £600,000 for the city’s beleaguered coffers.

That offers a clue that the real measure of this policy’s success by those in the City Chambers is how much it improves their finances, despite ordinary Glaswegians being punished during a cost-of-living crisis.

Are the claims about public health being masked by another opportunity to hit city residents with another stealth tax?

The LEZ has created a real threat to the already beleaguered black cab business. The industry warned of this for some time prior to implementation; a warning that the SNP/Greens chose to ignore.

So, since LEZ introduction there has already been in the region of 40 taxi licences handed back to Glasgow City Council (GCC) – this figure is set only to rise as the exemption deadline, granted grudgingly, to drivers, looms large in June 2024.

There are approximately 600 black taxis struggling to make the changes placed them on by SNP-run GCC. Not because of an unwillingness to comply but because the infrastructure is simply not in place to meet the time-constrained demands of the SNP/Greens. Remember that this is an administration that was caught on the hop to the tune of thousands of our council tax pounds when some of its own fleet of ­motors were deemed not to ­comply with the new regulations.

In short, there are currently 1383 taxi licences with only 708 currently meeting the strict LEZ requirements. The potential impact on Glasgow’s city centre economy of the loss of these cabs in whole or in part is stark. Anyone trying to plan a journey home after a night out already knows the difficulty now; we can only imagine the consequences if further cab loses are experienced.

But say supporters, the LEZ is a significant contributor to better air quality and therefore worth the upheaval. No pain no gain.

Recent figures tracking nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels across Scotland (2022/2023), show a general significant drop in levels in and around Glasgow, except the Glasgow(kerbside) reading, which falls within the LEZ and remains almost the same. Are we therefore punishing our already embattled city centre for nothing?

As I have said, there is already low public confidence in getting home after a night out because of existing cab shortages and the on/off limited night bus service. In addition, disabled people wishing to enjoy a night in the town and dependent on accessible vehicles to plan a journey home, find a dearth of availability and cancel their plans.

A recent survey by The Scottish Hospitality Group states that 67% of City Centre businesses report a drop in footfall (after 7pm) and 63% of businesses directly blame LEZ and poor transport for this situation.

The LEZ will be challenged in the courts later this month with GCC saying it will “vigorously defend” it. When it has raised £600,000 in four months from already cash-strapped Glaswegians reeling from council tax increases, brown bin charges and perhaps congestion charges to come- is it any wonder?

We all want to improve the environment in our city, making the air as clean as it possibly can be.

Glaswegians, however, know a council money-making scheme when they see it.