A recent legal challenge to Glasgow’s low emission zone (LEZ) has alleged that the measure was both illegal and unnecessary. The lawyer representing a local garage owner argued during a judicial review that the data indicated that most air quality targets in the city center had already been achieved. This led the garage owner to believe that the implementation of an LEZ in Glasgow was unnecessary.
Lawyers representing both Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government are opposing the legal action. Despite the challenge, the council had previously stated that it would vigorously defend any legal challenge to its low emission zone.
The second phase of the low emission zone, which began in June, aims to improve air quality by restricting entry to certain vehicles that do not meet emission guidelines. Violating the regulations can result in fines.
The director of Paton’s Accident Repair Centre, William Paton, has been given the green light to continue his fight against the low emission zone, citing the potential negative impact on his business. He commissioned a report by the Hilson Moran Institute that suggested the first phase of the LEZ for buses in the city center, which started in 2018, had already achieved its air quality goals, casting doubt on the necessity of the second phase.
During the Court of Session hearing, Advocate Lord Davidson KC argued that the council failed to follow established legal protocols before implementing the LEZ. He pointed out that the majority of the monitoring stations in the city center had recorded downward trends in nitrogen dioxide levels, the primary gas the council aims to reduce with the LEZ. He emphasized that the council’s decision to impose the LEZ across the entire area was unjustified based on the data available, particularly considering the two stations that had not recorded downward trends.