CONCERNS on the impact on business as well as motorists being unable to enter the city were among the mixed reception within a day of Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone being introduced.

Glasgow became the first Scottish city to introduce a Low Emission Zone in a bid to improve pollution levels and ultimately the air quality and health of its citizens but within 24 hours it was met with a mixed reaction from the public.

The view on the new low emission zone was summed up by Sarah, a non-driver enjoying the sun in George Square: “It’s not black and white.” She’s not alone as many people feel split by the new zone.

Read more: Pollution falls on Hope Street following day one of LEZ

The Herald spoke to people out and about in Glasgow on the second day of the city’s low emission zone being implemented. As of Thursday 1 June, vehicles falling short of emission standards are no longer permitted to enter certain areas of the city centre. They will face a £60 fine if they do – which will double each time they re-enter until reaching a maximum fine of £480.

People enjoying Glasgow’s heatwave on Friday lunchtime were broadly supportive of the new restrictions, citing the need to improve air quality. But not without concern for how strict new measures could impact businesses and people on a lower income.

READ MORE: Glasgow's Low Emission Zone: What happened on day one of LEZ?

21-year-old Ciaran from Coatbridge is in the process of taking driving lessons right now and will be looking to buy his first car soon. However, he is not so concerned on how the measures could affect him, but rather those on a lower income: “With the cost-of-living crisis right now, people might not have the money to replace cars. You don’t want people to feel excluded. It feels a bit as if they are saying ‘You don’t have the money for that? Too bad.’ There are people who just can’t afford it.”

For some, having an older car is not financial question but rather one of taste. David, 69 from Rutherglen, is the owner of two cars, both of which will no longer be allowed into the city centre. “They are old cars, but I quite like old cars. Anyway, I’ll have to look for a new one”. He does admit he believes it’s the right thing to do for the environment, despite the inconvenience. This inconvenience means no longer being able to take the car to meet his friends for a coffee near George Square. “We used to go for beers, now we go for coffees. But I’m not going to come in for a coffee if I have to pay a £60 fine. I suppose I could get the bus, but then I’d be spending four or five hours of the day just getting a coffee.”

It becomes a more serious question when the livelihoods of owners of non-compliant vehicles are involved. Brian works for a construction and renovation company which has many vans below the requirements that are now having to be used elsewhere. Despite this, he sees it as short-term inconvenience for longer term gain. Pointing to the blue sky over Buchanan Street he says “Look at a day like this. Who would want big trucks coming in and polluting the area?”

READ MORE: Glasgow's Low Emissions Zone opposition need to get a grip

One of the main concerns regarding the scheme has been the impact on the city’s taxis and a possible shortage. “Ask every taxi driver and they will be against it,” said one cab driver waiting in the rank next to George Square. “It’s all down to those in the Kremlin over there,” he said, pointing to Glasgow City Chambers.

While there was a sympathy for taxi drivers, some of whom have been granted extra time to find a compliant vehicle, standing on the most polluted street in Scotland perhaps hammered home the need to tackle air pollution.

Marcus, originally from Australia, was on Hope Street on Friday afternoon: “I feel for the cab drivers, some of whom are still driving around in stinking old diesel taxis. But they are running a business and a vehicle is a piece of business equipment that they have. Who would run a business with a fifteen-year-old computer these days? It’s the same thing, they need to move on with the times, and if they are not willing to do that then someone else might use their license who is prepared to run a hybrid or electric vehicle.”

Although he accepts the pressures the new low emissions zone may put on the taxi industry, he is vehemently in favour of the initiative, and would like to see it implemented across Scotland. “Whenever a decision like this is made it’s never the right time for everybody. But I’m sure the dark forces of the fossil fuel industry would love us to endlessly debate it for the next thirty years.”

Not everyone was so supportive, or reflective on the nuance of the scheme. For Elizabeth Corbett from Stepps, the low emission zone is “one of these policies brought out without enough thought having gone in to it.”

She added: “There are other ways they could have been reducing emissions years ago. They are never going to achieve net zero anywhere in the world anytime soon, so is it all worth it? In my opinion, no.”