SCOTLAND’S first ever Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be in force from today in Glasgow.

For now, it only involves buses and means that 20 per cent of them passing thorough the city centre must meet European emission standards.

This will then increase year on year until all buses, and all other vehicles entering the zone, meet the low emission levels in 2022.

Glasgow City Council say the plan is a “manageable, yet robust” approach to reducing pollution, but environmental campaigners claim the zone’s first year “won’t achieve any significant change for air quality”.

The zone has prompted mixed reactions from the Glasgow public.

Retired teacher Mary Queen, 70, who lives on the Southside of the city, agreed, describing the council plans as “reasonable”.

She added: “It affects public health and our quality of life so it’s good that the council is trying to improve things.”

However, Glasgow resident Craig Cameron, 54, argued that all vehicles should be included in the scheme now.

The NHS administrator said: “I think if we’re going to have this then it should include cars and lorries too to encourage people to buy greener vehicles.”

David Norris, 39, from Larbert, who works in the city, said he was concerned about the impact of pollution on his health each day and was pleased that officials are taking action.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “I’m glad they’re doing something to tackle it.”

Asked if he was happy with the timescale proposed, he added: “I think you need to find a balance, you can’t just come in with a really high target that’s unachievable and unrealistic and, to me, 20 per cent is a good starting point that we can then build on.”

The council decided to introduce the zone due to the harmful levels of toxic fumes in Glasgow which are being recorded at levels above statutory expectations.

This impacts negatively on public health, with the young and the elderly the worst hit.

Air pollution campaigner for FoE Scotland, Gavin Thomson said: “Unfortunately, the weak terms of this Low Emission Zone - only applying to 1 in 5 buses - won’t achieve any significant change for air quality.”

A council spokeswoman said: “This pragmatic and phased approach will ensure a manageable, yet robust timetable for implementation that looks at the city’s overall needs to ensure it won’t have a detrimental impact on people’s lives, businesses and the vitality of the city centre.

“Other cities across Europe adopted similar lead in times for their low-emission zones, so it’s seen as a reasonable amount of time to get the message out to businesses and residents so they are informed and can prepare.”