Glasgow city centre will be turned into a “ghost town” it has been claimed by opponents of the Low Emission Zone after it lost its bid to stop the scheme.

Patons Accident Repair Centre had pursued a Judicial Review arguing that the LEZ was unnecessary as air quality targets had been met and the council had acted unlawfully in enforcing phase two, affecting cars, in June this year.

But in a judgement at the Court of Session, Lady Poole ruled it was legal and the council had the right to put the zone in place.

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The case, brought by William Paton, director of the firm whose workshop in Townhead sits inside the zone, was backed by other motor trade companies in the area and had attracted financial support through a LEZ fightback campaign.

Lady Poole issued her decision where she said the council was entitled to introduce the LEZ phase two.

She said the council acted in line with information provided to them by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

She added the LEZ was in line with legal requirements to improve air quality and public health.

Jack Irvine, adviser for the LEZ Fightback campaign, said: “The LEZ Fightback team are clearly very disappointed and somewhat surprised the judgment was arrived at so speedily.

“William Paton and the team will consider their position.

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“The war on motorists is relentless and apart from the fact that the pollution levels are well within acceptable levels, we all feel that Glasgow City Council and the SNP/Green alliance seem determined to turn the city into a ghost town.”

The council welcomed the judgement and said it can now carry on working to improve air quality in the city.

Angus Millar, transport and climate convenor, said: “Air pollution creates and exacerbates people’s health conditions and contributes to hundreds of deaths in Glasgow every year, worsening health inequalities and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.

“Both short and long-term exposure can lead to a wide range of diseases, including asthma and respiratory infections, with evidence also now emerging of links to other conditions including type two diabetes and dementia.”

He added: “The ruling means we can continue in our commitment to improving air quality to create a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone who lives or spends time in Glasgow city centre."

Health charities who backed the LEZ were also satisfied with the judgement.

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, said: Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to public health.

“It costs Scotland £1.1 billion per year, draining our resources, straining our health care system and cutting short roughly 2,700 lives.

“LEZs do require us to make changes to the way we work and live and this is why it's essential that proper support is in place to help people transition to cleaner and greener forms of transport.

“We are looking forward to further rollouts of the scheme in Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen next year helping more people in Scotland breathe cleaner air.”

The Conservatives on the council opposed the LEZ roll-out.


Thomas Kerr, Conservative councillor for Shettleston said: “This is a disappointing result for those being hammered by the SNP's Low Emission Zone.

“It is crippling our city centre and hurting people's livelihoods.

“It didn't have to be like this - they should have been pragmatic instead of rushing ahead.”

The Greens, however, said the LEZ would save lives by reducing pollution.

Councillor Blair Anderson, said: “The news that our Low Emission Zone is lawful is extremely welcome.

“The people of Glasgow will be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the most polluting vehicles will continue to be discouraged from entering Glasgow city centre.”