Figures show air quality in Scotland's biggest cities is not going to improve any time soon
Clean air has become an even more distant prospect for Edinburgh and Glasgow, according to new figures.
Government projections show that the expected date for the cities to reach standards set by Europe has been pushed back.
The figures were revealed by the UK Department of Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Edinburgh was due to meet the target in 2020 – this has slipped to 2025, while Glasgow was pegged for 2015 and is now not projected to hit this till 2020.
The air quality targets were initially supposed to have been met almost ten years ago.
We know that hundreds of people are killed off by air pollution every year in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It was bad enough when Defra said in 2011 that Glasgow and Edinburgh would not meet clean air targets until after 2020 and 2015 respectively.
The new projections from Defra push this out to 2025 and 2020, for targets which were supposed to have been met by the end of 2005.
We know that hundreds of people are killed off by air pollution every year in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The UK and Scottish governments and the two councils have let the citizens of Scotland’s cities down badly through their lack of action. We need urgent action on traffic levels and polluting vehicles to make our air fit to breathe.
“At this rate Glasgow will have clean air by the Commonwealth Games in 2026.”
The new information was revealed during a case against the UK in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Lawyers for the UK tried to suppress the information using rules on legal privilege, seemingly unaware that it had been revealed on Defra’s own website.
Last year, the UK Supreme Court declared the UK Government is breaching its legal duty to achieve limits for nitrogen dioxide.
It then asked the European Court of Justice to rule on what remedial action it can compel the UK government to take. The court’s judgment is expected before the end of 2014.