Glasgow's controversial low emission zone curbing drivers using ageing cars in the city centre was necessary to achieve a "long overdue objective" to reduce air pollution, a court heard today.

Gerry Moynihan KC said the scheme was "lawful" and deemed to be necessary to get to thresholds on air pollution that ought to have been achieved 18 years ago.

He told the Court of Session in Edinburgh: "These are thresholds set for the protection of human life and health. They have to be met."

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Glasgow Times:

Mr Moynihan, who was acting for the Scottish government in a legal challenge brought against the LEZ, said there has been a domestic obligation over the issue since 2005.

"The overarching approach to this is to look at where we are today in 2023 relative to not just an international obligation, but an EU obligation that was part of national law," he told the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Mr Moynihan said England and Scotland had taken different measures to tackle the issue with road charging being brought in in London and other cities south of the border.

"In Scotland we have gone down a different route. We have said you can have a low emission zone for a defined area but there is a prohibition on use of the (polluting) vehicle in that area."

"You cannot use these roads with a polluting car because that is what is necessary to achieve this long overdue objective."

"If there is a prohibition on use then the penalty must be commensurate with enforcement on that prohibition," he said.

Glasgow Times: LEZ

Mr Moynihan was making submissions to judge Lady Poole on the second day of a judicial review hearing brought by a firm based in the Townhead area of Glasgow, Patons Accident Repair Centre.

It is challenging the legality of the scheme and a schedule which sets out financial penalties.

Cars which do not meet emission guidelines are not allowed in the zone and drivers who break the regulations can be fined.

Ruth Crawford KC, for the local authority, said the scheme was "entirely lawful" and based on clear scientific evidence.

She said there was proper consultation carried out before the council took the decision to proceed with the zone.

The senior counsel said the public was consulted and responses were received, including from businesses.

She said all the views, both positive and negative, were before the local authority when it made its decision.

Ms Crawford told the court: "When looking at proportionality overall, this court ought to give due weight to the decision of a democratic and publicly accountable local authority when considering whether or not a fair balance has been struck as between the public interest with a legitimate aim on one side and the impact on the person whose rights are said to have been infringed."

The judge will receive further written submissions before giving a decision at a later date.