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SLTA ‘bitterly disappointed’ over Glasgow LEZ legal challenge

Published:  06 November, 2023

The (SLTA) Scottish Licensed Trade Association has said it is “bitterly disappointed” that a long-established Glasgow family business has lost its court battle against the city’s low emission zone (LEZ).

The second phase of the low emission zone came into operation in June to improve air quality in Glasgow city centre by limiting the type of vehicles that can enter the area, much like the polarising ULEZ scheme in London. 

Car repair firm John Paton and Son had taken Glasgow City Council to the Court of Session, claiming the scheme was illegal.

Lady Poole deemed that the low emission zone was lawful and proportionate after business owner William Paton lodged a petition for a judicial review of the scheme.

Paul Waterson, SLTA media spokesman, said: “The hospitality industry is vitally important to the Glasgow economy and depends on people being able to access the city with ease, whether that’s by public transport, private vehicles or taxis.

“Preventing older vehicles from entering the city centre – and fining owners if they do – presents another barrier to businesses that are still recovering from the pandemic and now dealing with a wave of economic challenges including continued increases in utility charges and rising supplier costs.

“With many pubs, restaurants and late-night venues also facing challenges presented by the cost-of-living crisis which is leading to a slowdown in trade and some already having been forced to reduce their trading hours to cut costs, the LEZ in Glasgow is certainly not helping.

“Scotland’s pubs and bars face a continued barrage of economic challenges and we renew our call on the UK and Scottish governments to assist us in dealing with these.”

Billy Gold, former owner of the Hielan Jessie in the city’s Gallowgate and president of Strathclyde LTA, said that despite the ruling he hoped Glasgow City Council would take a “common sense” approach by trying to “reach some sort of common ground”.

He said: “This would allow, for example, suppliers like small, independent food companies, artisan brewers, DJs and so on to perhaps receive a ‘city centre pass’ to allow one or two trips into the LEZ per week.

“The council could also consider providing a pass for businesses to purchase at a reasonable cost to allow a transitional phase until such times that those with older vehicles can replace them.

“Replacing and upgrading vehicles is not an option for many businesses just now because of current financial pressures.”