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More funding needed to make cities pollution free

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Scottish Government's pollution strategy needs serious funding campaigners warn

Campaigners have cautioned that aspects of Scotland’s draft low emission strategy will be undeliverable without full funding.

It comes ahead of the draft strategy being published by the Scottish Government.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) said the strategy could be the blueprint that delivers clean air to Scotland’s cities but will be toothless unless it commits to a date for air quality to meet defined standards alongside funding to achieve this.

As well as this, when the strategy is finally published FoES want it to include a framework to roll out ultra-low emission zones in cities across Scotland and targets to increase the number of journeys taken by public transport, walking, and cycling.

Low emission zones are where the most polluting vehicles are banned from key areas of cities and have proven to be successful in several major European countries including London.

FOES air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “The government’s budget plan for the coming year is to spend £3.15 million to tackle air quality, but this is the same as this year so there is no extra cash to deliver the new strategy.

“Meanwhile, air pollution costs the Scottish economy £1.6 billion and causes 2000 early deaths annually. A little more could go a long way.

“A key part of the low emission strategy is to produce a framework for low emission zones in Scotland.

"Cash-strapped councils will not be able to make serious plans for low emission zones without additional resources.”

Figures published by FoES last week revealed that Scottish streets are still breaking Scottish and European clean air standards.

Traffic fumes are understood to be the main source of air pollution.