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Games organisers slammed for reneging on green pledge

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Organisers renege on promise to introduce emissions zones across Glasgow during Commonwealth Games

Organisers of the Commonwealth Games have reneged on a key environmental promise, it has emerged.

The games, with Glasgow City Council backing, were to introduce wide-ranging low emission zones across the city – areas where the most polluting vehicles would be restricted from access and low emissions vehicles introduced.

However the council said problems sourcing vehicles meant they won’t be able to implement the plan.

Environmental campaigners roundly condemned the U-turn.

Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “All we are getting is the existing security cordon immediately around the sites.

“Part of the legacy of the games could have been to demonstrate for the first time in Scotland the difference that low emission zones could make to pollution

Part of the legacy of the games could have been to demonstrate for the first time in Scotland the difference that low emission zones could make to pollution

“Any restrictions on vehicles covering such a limited area is effectively pointless.”

Glasgow City Council has discussed introducing low emission zones since 2009 as a way to tackle Glasgow’s air pollution problem but has struggled to introduce them despite air pollution said to be responsible for over 300 deaths each year in the city.

It comes as new research shows a link between air pollution and impaired lung development in children, suggesting Scotland’s next generation of athletes are in danger of not achieving their full potential.

Hanna added: “It is scandalous that the public is being made to think that big steps are being taken to clean up Glasgow's air as a result of the games because air pollution is literally killing people in Glasgow.

"For future aspiring athletes growing up in Glasgow to have the best chance of competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the council and the government need to make tackling Glasgow's air pollution a top priority. They need to introduce genuine Low Emission Zones and take measures to reduce traffic volumes in the city centre."

A Glasgow 2014 spokesperson said: “Glasgow 2014, the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Commonwealth Games Scotland are committed to delivering a sustainable Commonwealth Games.

"As preparations progressed, procuring the vehicles necessary to reach the standards required for low emission zones has been challenging and we were unable to meet this target commitment.

“Sustainability remains at the core of our decisions and we continue to work collaboratively through the Glasgow 2014 Environment Forum, which comprises representatives from Scottish Government, the OC, Glasgow City Council, and a wide range of environmental regulatory groups and NGOs.

"The forum has been satisfied that our approach across a range of key areas, including the reduction of emissions, is appropriate.”

The XX games start on 23 July and continue until 3 August.