Warning over high levels of air pollution
Seven local authority areas in Scotland have recorded toxic levels of particulate matter
Traffic - credit: PA
Friends of the Earth Scotland has issued a warning over high levels of air pollution, with seven local authority areas in Scotland having recorded toxic levels of particulate matter.
Scottish Government air monitors in Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, Falkirk, South Lanarkshire, Glasgow, and Renfrewshire have recorded levels of particulate matter which breach World Health Organisation and Scottish regulatory safety standards.
The campaign group said calm weather in England had produced a build-up of traffic-derived air pollution which was then blown into Scotland, with the central belt and the east particularly badly affected.
Air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna warned the levels breach safety standards which should have been met over a decade ago.
She said: “The official health advice that accompanies the levels currently being experienced across the Central Belt is that adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, who experience symptoms, should consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors.”
The episode is forecasted to head north over the weekend, with Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Eilean Siar, Highland Council, Moray, Perth & Kinross, the Shetlands, and Stirling expected to have unsafe levels tomorrow and over the weekend.
The Scottish Government’s draft climate change plan calls for at least 40 per cent of cars and vans to be ultra-low emission by 2032.
Aiming to reduce transport emissions by around a third over the same period, the plan also sets out proposals to trial a low emission zone.
Hanna said: “We have a right to breathe clean air, and the toxic levels of pollution are seriously damaging our health, despite a legal obligation on the Scottish Government to tackle this problem. Toxic air pollution is a public health crisis, and motorised transport is the key culprit. The Scottish Government needs to stop pouring millions into new motorways and trunk roads, and start getting serious about funding walking and cycling, and improving public transport.
“The Scottish Government has promised us a Low Emission Zone by 2018, and local politicians are beginning to show willing for a zone, but the Government needs to make a public commitment that it will provide funding for these zones.”
Under the plans, the LEZ will only cover 20 per cent of buses and will not include cameras to catch offenders
Climate Challenge Fund’s grants for 2018-20 are worth £15.3m, with £14.3m from the Scottish Government and £1m from the European Regional Development Fund
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