Dundee’s proposed low emission zone (LEZ) does not include one of the most polluted streets in Scotland – because it is used by too many cars.
The proposed zone within the Marketgait ring road would ban older buses which do not meet the latest emissions standards.
Pre-2005 petrol cars and diesel cars sold before September 2015 may also be excluded.
But campaigners have criticised Dundee City Council for not going far enough and leaving out Lochee Road.
Researchers commissioned by the council to draw up Dundee’s plans left the road out – perhaps ironically due to the sheer volume of traffic that uses the road each day.
The authority aims to become carbon neutral by 2040, and has declared a “climate emergency”.
Dr Jackie Hyland, associate public health director for NHS Tayside, says LEZs should encourage people to walk and cycle.
And Elaine Zwirlein, neighbourhood services chief, has admitted that Lochee Road, West Marketgait and Dock Street “will still exceed” annual emission targets if the LEZ goes ahead in its current form.
Gavin Thomson, air pollution campaigner with Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES), has branded the proposals “laughable”. He said: “This narrow range of options from Dundee City Council is very disappointing. Dundee’s LEZ needs to be ambitious to genuinely protect the health of people in the city.
“This means a large zone which . . . does not include enormous exemptions which would critically undermine the whole project.”
Research by FoES suggests 75 Dundonians die early each year as a result of air pollution.
And a study carried out by the Dundee University and the British Lung Foundation (BLF) last year found a direct link between poor air quality and a higher number of hospital admissions for respiratory problems.
Joseph Carter, head of the BLF in Scotland, described the exclusion of Lochee Road as a “slap in the face” for those who live there.
He said: “It is shocking that the council has readily admitted that the proposals for Dundee’s LEZ would not tackle poor air quality at known air pollution hotspots.
“As they currently stand, Dundee City Council’s proposals are too limited in their scope.
“It needs to go back to the drawing board and extend the proposed boundary to ensure that everyone in the city can have the opportunity to breath clean air.”
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Kevin Cordell, community safety committee convener, says a “considerable amount of time and effort has been put in by a team of experts to establish . . . the most effective options”.
City development convener Alan Ross has also not ruled out changing the LEZ in the future – but campaigners say the authority should strive to get it right first time.