Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland today released a list of the nation’s most polluted streets, showing Seagate and Lochee Road being among the worst.
FoE says the results confirm that many streets are still failing to meet Scottish safety standards, showing high levels of harmful pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and coarse particles (PM10) which are known to be linked with serious health problems including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory illness and early death.
The results have been published in light of news that the Scottish government may face court action if it fails to tackle the illegal levels of air pollution in Scotland’s major cities quickly enough.
Air Pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “Streets are breaking legal limits in each major city in Scotland, demonstrating just how serious and widespread Scotland’s air pollution health crisis is. Air pollution causes over 2,000 early deaths in Scotland each year at a cost of over £1.1 billion to the economy.
Air pollution increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks and the main culprit is traffic.
“The Scottish Government’s Clean Air Strategy has good aspirations but needs resources and energy behind it to tackle the scourge of dirty air in our towns and cities. The government must support local authorities with funding to implement low emission zones in all major cities.
“It must also increase its investment in walking and cycling paths so that it becomes safer and more convenient for people to leave their cars at home. It is unacceptable that the Government is throwing £3bn at dualling the A9 while funding for walking, cycling and public transport, and measures to improveair quality remains very low.
“That is why we are calling on the Scottish Government to reallocate a portion of its motorways budget to active travel in the next budget.”
The results for 2015: Nitrogen Dioxide
1. Edinburgh St John’s Road
2. Glasgow Hope Street
3. Dundee Seagate
4. Perth Atholl Street
5. Dundee Lochee Road
6. Aberdeen Union Street
7. Edinburgh Queensferry Road
8. Aberdeen Wellington Road
Hanna continued: “Four years after we first started publishing the list of the most polluted streets, we still find illegal levels, often in the same locations year after year. These are streets where people live, work and relax. The repeat offenders show us that local councils and the Scottish Government are not treating this public health crisis seriously enough.
“Overall there have been some improvements in the figures for 2015, which will be welcome news for those who are especially susceptible to air pollution. The exceptionally wet weather in 2015 will have reduced local air pollution levels, masking some of the underlying problem. The Scottish Government and local councils need to deliver long-term compliance with the safety standards.”