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by Kirsteen Paterson
31 October 2023
Court dismisses challenge to Glasgow Low Emission Zone

A vehicle travels into the LEZ near Glasgow city centre. Image: Findlay/Alamy

Court dismisses challenge to Glasgow Low Emission Zone

A court challenge to a Scottish council's pollution-busting Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has been rejected after a two-day hearing.

A vehicle repair service said a ban on high-polluting vehicles in Glasgow city centre – the first to be enforced in Scotland – would harm its business.

Paton's Accident Repair Centre took the matter to the country's highest civil court.

But the Court of Session has now dismissed its bid for a judicial review of the council scheme.

Councillor Angus Millar, city convenor for transport and climate, said: "Today's ruling by the court 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."

The Court of Session said the attempt to challenge the scheme was "not well-founded".

Paton's Accident Repair Centre sought to challenge the legality of the LEZ and the national regulations which set out financial penalties for breaches.

The court found the Glasgow scheme is proportionate and represents a fair balance of interest. It said it was reasonable for the council to have concluded that the initiative would help to meet statutory air quality standards.

Millar said: "Today's decision reflects that Glasgow's Low Emission Zone is an important public health measure, aimed at bringing down harmful levels of air pollution within the city centre after decades of unacceptable non-compliance with legal standards.

"A strong and substantial body of work underpinned our decision to roll out the LEZ and we've always had the utmost confidence in the lawfulness and proportionality of the scheme given its clear, scientific evidence base."

Glasgow City Council introduced restrictions on buses in 2018 and the LEZ has been in place since June this year. Unless exempt, all vehicles entering the LEZ must meet the less-polluting emission standards or face a penalty charge. Car drivers found in breach of the rule must pay £60, with the charge doubling for every subsequent rule-break.

Similar schemes are expected to come into force in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh from next year.

The repair centre has a premises inside the LEZ boundary and sought a change in the boundary, but this was rejected by the council.

Judge Lady Poole found that the move could cost the business losses of "thousands, not millions of pounds" but its imposition was justified "given the strength of the interests concerned".

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