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Scotland’s most polluted streets revealed


Figures show air quality is getting worse in many areas.

Scotland’s most polluted streets have been revealed, with the results showing the country’s air quality is continuing to get worse.

Research by Friends of the Earth Scotland found many areas across the country are suffering from higher pollution levels than previous years, with multiple locations identified as breaching legal air quality requirements which should have been met ten years ago.

Illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were recorded at Hope Street in Glasgow, Nicolson Street and St John’s Road in Edinburgh, and Seagate and Lochee Road in Dundee.

Increasing levels of pollution were also found in Inverness, meaning that city has now also breached the legal standards.

There were also significant increases in pollution in Falkirk, Perth, Bearsden, Broughty Ferry, and Byers Road in Glasgow, while Salamander Street in Edinburgh has breached the legal limit for particulate matter.

Gavin Thomson, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution Campaigner, branded the 2019 figures “shameful” and called for a “transport transformation” to be at the heart of the Scottish Government’s new climate change plan.

He said: “Air pollution is failing to improve across Scotland, which means millions of us are at risk of serious health conditions, like asthma, heart attacks, and strokes. In many areas, pollution problems appear to be getting worse. This is dangerous for our health, and is a failure of government to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

“The UN climate negotiations coming to Glasgow in 2020 should be a wake-up call. Our transport system is unsustainable. It is harming our lungs, and worsening climate change. Transport is the largest source of climate emissions in Scotland, with levels remaining pretty much the same for the last 30 years.”

Mr Thomson said ministers must now commit to halting any new roadbuilding and investing instead in public transport, walking and cycling.

“Travelling on foot or by bike should be the natural choice in our city centres for those who are able,” he said. “We need an affordable, accountable public transport network to take cars off the road. The forthcoming new air quality strategy needs to contain strong actions that will make a rapid difference.

“The four big cities in Scotland will eventually have Low Emission Zones, but other cities and larger towns are lacking momentum. These figures should be a clear signal to all councils and the Scottish Government that measures to reduce polluting traffic and to pedestrianise built up areas shouldn’t be solely reserved for our biggest cities.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We are working hard to improve air quality across Scotland and we have seen significant reductions in pollution emissions in recent decades through tighter industrial regulation, improved fuel quality, cleaner vehicles and an increased focus on sustainable transport.”



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