There are no plans to introduce a low emission zone (LEZ) in Renfrewshire but “arbitrarily ruling out” any single measure during a climate emergency has been branded “counter-productive”.

Councillor Jim Paterson, the SNP’s planning and climate changer convener, took issue with Conservative calls to eliminate the possibility of a scheme – similar to that adopted in Glasgow – being implemented locally before 2027.

A motion was brought forward at the recent full council meeting by Councillor Neill Graham, Tory group leader, urging the administration to rule out establishing any form of LEZ in Paisley and wider Renfrewshire for the duration of this council term.

But Councillor Paterson responded with an amendment, which stated: “The council administration can confirm that it is not considering the introduction of a low emissions zone (LEZ/ULEZ) in Paisley or any other parts of Renfrewshire, however given the unanimous decision by Renfrewshire Council to declare a climate emergency in June 2019, agrees that arbitrarily ruling out any particular single measure would be counter-productive and undermine this council’s net zero ambitions.”

Councillor Graham, who represents Paisley Northeast and Ralston, said this was “disappointing”, before adding: “We want Paisley, Renfrew, Johnstone and all town centres in Renfrewshire to thrive.

“Town centres have already lost customers to retail parks, shopping centres and most notably online shopping.

“Low emission zones will place an additional burden on shops and businesses with premises in town centres, while out-of-town and online businesses operating outwith any zones will benefit.”

He described the policy, which came into force in Glasgow in June, as “nothing more than a cash cow” for local authorities.

Councillor Paterson, who represents Renfrew South and Gallowhill, described Councillor Graham’s speech as a Conservative “party political broadcast”.

He brought up Renfrewshire’s Plan for Net Zero and its five key themes of clean energy, sustainable transport, circular economy, connected communities and resilient place.

“Nowhere in that plan has it been suggested we introduce a low emission zone,” Councillor Paterson said.

“Until we make further progress on the five key themes I’ve just outlined, particularly sustainable transport and connected communities, it is not something that I think would be a suitable avenue for Renfrewshire to go down.

“I can advise that is certainly the view of the council administration.”

He then said Councillor Graham’s motion had “clearly come down from Conservative HQ”.

Councillor Paterson accepted a Labour amendment in addition to his, which focused on the effects of air pollutants and said options to protect public health should be considered when appropriate.

Six councillors voted for the Conservative motion, with 36 opting for the SNP-Labour amendment.