Glasgow City Council has been accused of profiteering as it is set to bring in £600,000 in fines in two months of imposing fines on drivers entering Glasgow's Low Emission Zone.

The number of sanctions imposed after enforcement started in June has doubled in a month.

Some 5,933 penalty charge notices were issued to cars being driven into the LEZ in July - after just 2922 in June.

It means that almost 150 drivers a day are being sanctioned financially for entering the LEZ zone.

Glasgow City Council said that to allow a period of familiarisation during its first month of operation, non-compliant vehicles detected in Glasgow's LEZ received a maximum of one Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) in June 2023.

The LEZ Fightback campaign which is pursuing court action to block the LEZ enforcement accused the council of profiteering saying that pollution data use to proceed with the plan was over half a decade out of date.

The campaign, launched off the back of garage boss William Paton's battle with the council over the lawfulness of the LEZ enforcement says the data which drove the council’s decision to proceed with phase two of LEZ was based on statistics taken pre-Covid, pre-hybrid working and  before phase one of the LEZ established to address the largest and only significant polluters – the buses –  which are now compliant.

A scheme surcharge which started in July means that the penalty charge amount will double with each subsequent breach of the rules by the same vehicle.

So far some 8078 drivers have received a £60 fine for breaching the zone.

Of the total number of fines issued for July, some 777 were issued for repeat LEZ contraventions, meaning that the penalty charge rate was subject to a surcharge.

Of those, 689 were for a second breach, meaning a penalty rate of £120 and  87 had a £240 fine for a third contravention.

One received a £480 penalty for a fourth breach.

Fines are being capped at £480 for cars and light goods vehicles and £960 for buses and HGVs.

The square mile zone - banning many older cars from entering the city centre - is aimed at improving Glasgow’s air quality.

When the LEZ zone was launched campaigners hailed the move as a “big moment” for the city that will save lives by giving residents “more breathable air”.

The Herald: The new LEZ in Glasgow

But it has also been heavily criticised by representatives from the hospitality and taxi trades who warn it could hammer the city’s beleaguered night-time economy - still reeling from Covid and the cost of living crisis.

The LEZ slaps drivers with escalating fines starting at £60 if their vehicles enter the area and do not meet emission standards - with petrol cars older than 2006 and diesel cars registered after September 2015 generally compliant.

The council says it is only aimed at a minority of older vehicles which are the most polluting - with up to 90% of cars thought to already meet the requirements.

The council says that all revenue incurred in running Glasgow's LEZ scheme itself, will only be used for activities that help reduce air pollution or contribute toward achieving our climate change targets.

Jack Irvine, the communications and political director of the LEZ fightback campaign,  said: “Let’s nail a few huge misconceptions on the head.

“This has nothing to do with pollution. Pollution levels are now at an accepted level and have been for some time.  It’s all about revenue raising for a beleaguered council. It’s exactly the same as the ULEZ insanity sweeping London and also perpetrated by a megalomanic council leader.

“Since I was approached in early August by the campaign’s leaders, Glasgow garage owner William Paton and Nightclub entrepreneur Donald MacLeod OBE, I have spoken to business and religious leaders in the Townhead area and all report incredible hardship by the imposition of the zone. Worshippers are being penalised from visiting the Townhead mosque. That is intolerable."

A council spokeswoman said: “Glasgow’s plan to phase in a Low Emission Zone was announced in 2018 to address decades of harmful air pollution in the city centre.

“Whilst up to 90% of vehicles entering the zone area are unaffected, the LEZ standards address the most polluting vehicles which disproportionately create harmful concentrations of air pollution in the city centre.

“To discourage entry into Glasgow’s LEZ by vehicles which do not meet the emission standards, the penalty rate doubles with each subsequent breach. The rate is capped at £480 for cars and light goods vehicles, and £960 for buses and HGVs. Surcharging only takes effect however after the first or most recent penalty charge notice could be expected to have been received by the vehicle’s registered keeper."