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by Louise Wilson
01 June 2023
Glasgow low emission zone will harm economy, Douglas Ross warns

Douglas Ross raised the issue at First Minister's Questions

Glasgow low emission zone will harm economy, Douglas Ross warns

Douglas Ross has attacked the introduction of Scotland’s first low emission zone in Glasgow, claiming it will “create a low economy zone”.

The Scottish Conservative leader raised the matter during First Minister’s Questions, arguing the SNP-run council had not listened to the concerns of locals.

But First Minister Humza Yousaf insisted the scheme was necessary for tackling climate change, and the proposal had been subject to “extensive engagement”.

Glasgow's LEZ came into force today, banning high emission vehicles from the city centre.

Ross raised the case of Homeless Project Scotland, who warned last week it may have to cease operations unless is got an exemption to the LEZ due to its non-compliant refrigeration van.

Glasgow City Council yesterday provided a time-limited exemption to the charity to allow it to continue bringing its vehicle into the city centre until an alternative is secured. That exemption will last until 31 July.

Homeless Project Scotland has now fundraised more than £15,000 for a van which will be compliant with the new rules.

Ross said: “The LEZ is hurting charities’ ability to function, it is risking jobs and business leaders think it’s going to create a low economy zone.

“The SNP should have delayed this scheme for a year and properly listened to the concerns of charities, businesses and workers.”

Yousaf replied: "There has of course been a considerable lead in time for the Glasgow LEZ coming into place and there has been extensive engagement."

He also pointed to an LEZ support fund which awarded cash to help with the disposal or retrofitting of non-LEZ compliant vehicles.

The FM accused the Scottish Conservatives of opposing green schemes "time and time again" simply because they are SNP policy.

Elsewhere at FMQs, Anas Sarwar raised lengthy waiting lists for NHS services.

He revealed 18,390 people had died while on a waiting list and asked: "When will his government meet the legal treatment time guarantee so that fewer Scots are losing their lives?"

Yousaf said the government is "making progress" on bringing down the numbers but added that NHS recovery "will not take weeks or months, it will take years."

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