Friends of the Earth Scotland urges Scottish Government to introduce low emission zones

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 13 May 2016 in News

WHO report finds air pollution responsible for three million premature deaths globally each year

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to introduce low emission zones in Scotland’s cities in an effort to tackle dangerous levels of air pollution.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report found air pollution is responsible for three million premature deaths globally each year. The report identified 11 urban areas in the UK and Ireland which failed to meet air pollution measures, including Glasgow.

Air pollution increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory problems.


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The calls follow the news that Sadiq Khan plans to double the size of London’s low emission zone.

FoE Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “Scotland’s air pollution has a huge impact on our national health and urgent action is needed to roll out Low Emission Zones in our cities as soon as possible.

“The SNP has promised in their manifesto to deliver at least one Low Emission Zone by 2018, but we need to see plans about this fleshed out, and fast, if it is to deliver this Zone on time.”

The WHO report found between 2008-2013 global urban air pollution levels increased by eight per cent despite improvements in some regions.

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general, family, women and children’s health said: “Air pollution is a major cause of disease and death. It is good news that more cities are stepping up to monitor air quality, so when they take actions to improve it they have a benchmark”.

She added: “When dirty air blankets our cities the most vulnerable urban populations—the youngest, oldest and poorest—are the most impacted.”

Low Emission Zones restrict the most polluting vehicles from certain areas.

Hanna said: “Low Emission Zones are one of several measures that are urgently needed to tackle Scotland’s toxic air. The Government must also shift its transport spending priorities and invest 10 per cent of its transport budget in walking and cycling projects.

“They should explore ways to cut congestion such as implementing congestion charging and parking levies in urban centres. These will speed up the much-needed transition away from our over-reliance on the car towards more sustainable modes of travel.

“As well as tackling air pollution, transforming our transport system will help significantly in our efforts to cut climate emissions.”

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