Local authorities opposed to congestion charging in Edinburgh have been granted a legal hearing in their bid to prevent a referendum planned for next month.
Edinburgh plans to follow London in introducing the measures
The Court of Session has accepted a petition from Fife, Midlothian and West Lothian councils and their case could be heard next week.
Residents in the capital are due to be polled on the road toll plans in four weeks' time.
Edinburgh City Council said it would robustly defend its position in court.
Andrew Bowen, counsel for Fife, West Lothian and Midlothian councils, said
they were seeking a declaration that a decision taken by the Edinburgh
authority to approve the scheme was outside its legal powers.
The legal action claims it is unfair some Edinburgh residents are exempt from
the tolls despite living outside the charging boundary, while motorists in
neighbouring councils - living just as close to the capital - will have to pay.
Edinburgh City Council wants to introduce a £2 charge to traffic passing
through two designated zones.
It is estimated the charge would raise £760m over a 20-year period and
that money would be used to fund transport improvements throughout the area.
But the three councils also challenge the ability of the scheme to allow funds
to be shared with surrounding authorities.
The petition contends that Edinburgh has flouted the recommendations of a
public inquiry report released last October that stated the council should
abandon plans to not charge Edinburgh residents living outside the outer
Deputy leader of West Lothian Council Willie Dunn said: "All the councils together feel Edinburgh Council has taken a decision which is unjust and illegal because it is contrary to legislation regarding congestion charging and also contrary to the inquiry reporters' advice."
Edinburgh is due to hold a referendum on the proposals next month. No date
was set for a full hearing of the legal challenge against the plan at Friday's hearing.