City breaching legal limits on air quality
THE Capital has breached legal air quality limits yet again, Friends of the Earth said as they released the latest league table of Scotland’s most polluted streets.
Although top place went to Glasgow’s Hope Street, two Edinburgh streets were among the six worst hotspots for nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Nicolson Street, which was in second slot, recorded 48.82 micrograms per cubic metre and St John’s Road, Corstorphine, was at 41.94 - both breaking the legal limit of 40.
And Salamander Street in Leith breached the legal limit when it came to particulate matter with 19.44 micrograms per cubic meter compared with the 18 permitted.
Friends of the Earth also published figures showing areas which had seen a significant increase in pollution since last year. In Currie, NO2 levels rose from 8.05 to 14.65. And Glasgow Road the readings for particulate matter went up from 14.68 to 16.99.
FoE said the figures showed the Scottish Government and city council were being too slow in introducing measures to reduce car traffic, pointing out the City Centre Transformation Plan and Low Emission Zone are both scheduled to begin in several years’ time.
FoE air pollution campaigner Gavin Thomson said: “These figures are shameful. Air pollution is failing to improve across Scotland, which means millions of us are at risk of serious health conditions like asthma, heart attacks and strokes.
“In many areas, pollution problems appear to be getting worse and in Edinburgh progress is only happening at a snail’s pace.
“The City Centre Transformation is exactly what we need and shows there are some voices within the council who understand the seriousness of the problem and are pushing in the right direction. But it is much too slow.
“We need action now to prevent young children across Edinburgh breathing in fumes which permanently limit their lung growth.
“The city’s tiny Low Emission Zone will not be introduced until the mid 2020s. People in Edinburgh can’t and should not have to wait that long for clean air.”
Corstorphine resident Claire Connachan, 35, said air pollution was a real concern for her.
“It’s an issue that also concerns residents and is regularly raised at community council meetings in tandem with complaints about traffic.
“Until there is action taken to reduce car journeys and enable more people to walk, cycle and take public transport for short trips, tackling air pollution is a lost cause. The Scottish Government needs to take brave decisions to reduce car use and seriously invest in active travel and public transport, instead of pumping cash into road building and promoting car-centric planning and housing decisions.”