Scotland's most polluted streets revealed

Friends of the Earth Scotland has published a list of Scotland’s most polluted streets in 2016, with streets in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, Dundee, Falkirk and Rutherglen failing to meet Scottish air quality standards.

Traffic-derived air pollution is reported to cause 2,500 early deaths in Scotland each year, and is second only to smoking in terms of its mortality impacts. The figures show that there are now a total of 38 Pollution Zones in Scotland where air quality safety standards are regularly broken, an increase from the 33 Pollution Zones last year.

Emilia Hanna, Friends of the Earth Scotland Air Pollution Campaigner, said: “Air pollution from traffic is a public health crisis, claiming thousands of lives each year and particularly harmful for small children, pregnant women and people living in poverty. For people living in an official Pollution Zone or near traffic-choked streets, breathing in toxic air is an inescapable fact of life. It should not be this way, we have the right to breathe clean air just as we have the right to drink clean water.

“The Scottish government and local authorities are not tackling this public health crisis with the seriousness and urgency required. We now have a staggering 38 official pollution zones across Scotland, up from 33 last year. This means that many more people are living with illegal levels of air pollution than previously recognised.

The Scottish government has promised a ‘plan’ for Low Emission Zones by 2018 but needs to make a public commitment that it will provide significant funding, so that local councils can get on with making serious plans to clean up the air in their area. Councils will be reluctant to introduce a Low Emission Zone unless they know there will be funding to help set them up.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener at Edinburgh City Council, penned an article in the Scotsman on the work Edinburgh City Council is doing to improve air quality in Scotland’s capital -

Look out for Councillor Hinds article in the upcoming issue of Government Business.