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29th August 2019
Responding to the Cleaner Air for Scotland independent review into air pollution, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland Dr Richard Dixon, who sat on the review, commented,
“Air pollution is a massive problem but implementing this strong review could accelerate vital action on transport, industry, homes and agriculture.
“We were part of the Steering Group running this review and a good deal of robust discussion has led to a report with many useful conclusions. We urge the Scottish Government to take forward the bolder ideas in this review into their revised air quality strategy and wider policy. It is disappointing that the review does not recommend targets for when we can expect clean air in Scotland.
“In particular we welcome the recognition of the need for strong action to reduce pollution and the call for more research on the health impacts of even low levels of air pollution. The review points the finger of blame for most air pollution problems squarely at road traffic and calls for Low Emission Zones to be up and running faster, for new developments to be refused if they would cause new air pollution problems and for a steep phase out of building new trunk roads.
“Several strong recommendations try to fix the lack of join up between planners, transport and health in the Scottish Government and local councils in tackling air pollution problems. There is also a welcome new focus on air pollution emissions from farming and domestic heating, both areas not covered in the original strategy.”
Scottish Environment LINK representatives had previously resigned from the Cleaner Air for Scotland Governance Group citing their disappointment in and frustration around the Group’s lack of progress in tackling unsafe levels of air pollution.
Friends of the Earth Scotland ranked the country’s most polluted streets for 2018, with the results showing there are 7 sites across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee were pollution is still at illegal levels – years after legal deadlines were due to be met.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Independent review on air quality published. https://www.gov.scot/news/cleaner-air-for-scotland-1/
Scottish Environment LINK Resigns from Government Clean Air Group https://foe.scot/press-release/link-resigns-from-cafsgg/
Scotland’s most polluted streets (January 2019) https://foe.scot/press-release/scotlands-most-polluted-streets-2018/
Friends of the Earth Scotland estimate that 2500 people die early each year from air pollution in Scotland alone: https://foe.scot/press-release/new-research-means-2500-deaths-a-year-in-scotland-are-from-air-pollution/
‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution.’ A report by Royal College of Physicians showed how 40,000 UK deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. (Feb 2016) https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution
There are to be 4 Low Emission Zones initially, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen. The Glasgow Zone has been heavily criticised for lacking ambition as it only applies restrictions to 20% of buses in its first year. Similarly, the Edinburgh Zone will only apply restrictions to cars in a tiny area of the city centre.
Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.