Scottish Daily Mail

Glasgow acted illegally with ‘draconian’ ban on old cars, court told

- By James Mulholland

BANNING older cars from a city was ‘unlawful’ and ‘draconian’, a court was told yesterday.

Advocate Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, KC, told judge Lady Poole that Glasgow City Council acted illegally in allowing the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) to come into force.

The LEZ has been in Glasgow since June, with £60 fines enforced in the city centre, while similar schemes will be introduced in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh next year.

A judicial review, which could rule the zones unlawful, is being heard at the Court of Session, backed by a six-figure sum pledged by a business-led ‘LEZ fightback fund’. Lord Davidson told the court Glasgow City Council had failed to follow establishe­d legal tests before introducin­g the LEZ.

The second phase of the scheme aims to improve air quality in Glasgow city centre by limiting which vehicles can enter the area.

Cars, lorries and other forms of transporta­tion which do not meet emission guidelines are not allowed and drivers who break the regulation­s can be fined.

Lord Davidson said available data showed that air quality in the city centre had been improving in recent years and that this trend was set to continue.

He said the informatio­n showed there was no need for an LEZ to be introduced and that the scheme was therefore unlawful.

Lord Davidson also mentioned that drivers could be fined hundreds of pounds if they repeatedly breached the LEZ. He added: ‘This is draconian.’

The judicial review has been brought to court by Glasgowbas­ed Patons Accident Repair Centre. Its director William Paton has previously spoken of how he commission­ed a report by the Hilson Moran Institute to study the impact of the first phase of the LEZ for buses which came into force in 2018.

The report found that air quality aims were achieved in phase one, and the second phase impacting other vehicles would not lead to any further improvemen­t. Other critics of the scheme say the LEZ will have a detrimenta­l impact on Glasgow’s economy.

Paul McManus, the drummer with Scots rock band Gun, has contribute­d £100,000 to a campaign which wants the scheme halted. Mr McManus said he wanted to get involved as he feels it will hit poorer people hardest.

Ruth Crawford, KC, representi­ng the council, told Lady Poole the local authority had acquired evidence about nitrogen dioxide emissions which gave it a lawful justificat­ion to set up a LEZ.

The hearing continues today, when Ms Crawford continues her submission­s and the Scottish Government’s lawyer Gerry Moynihan, KC, is also expected to address the court.

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