Environmental campaigners have criticised the Low Emission Zone plans from Dundee City Council, as the Council prepares to launch a public consultation. Friends of the Earth Scotland say the options offered to Dundee residents are very limiting, and some of the options will be ineffective at tackling pollution and self-defeating.

Dundee City Council have published 5 options for a forthcoming Low Emission Zone, each of which covers the city centre, with variations on what vehicles are restricted, including:

  • A small zone that only restricts the oldest buses, but still allows them to drive to bus stations located in the city centre.
  • A small zone around the city centre that exempts all car parks, meaning old polluting vehicles could still drive into the city centre if they were heading to a car park.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Air Pollution Campaigner, Gavin Thomson said:

“This narrow range of options from Dundee City Council are very disappointing. Given the concern about air quality locally, residents should be given a genuine say in what they want to happen in their city. Lochee Road, which has persistent air quality problems affecting people who live there, has been ignored. Some of these options, such as excluding car parks, are laughable. We can’t cut air pollution whilst allowing the most polluting vehicles to drive to car parks in the city centre.

“Dundee’s Low Emission Zone needs to be ambitious to genuinely protect the health of people in the city. This means a large zone, which excludes cars, vans, lorries and buses, and does not include enormous exemptions which would critically undermine the whole project”

“Air pollution has long been a concern for people in Dundee, with Seagate and Lochee Road among the most polluted streets in the entire country for many years. Air pollution causes 2,500 premature deaths every year across Scotland, and a range of health problems. We urgently need to improve air quality in Dundee. Strong Low Emission Zones that restrict the most polluting vehicles are a key element of how Councils can ensure that we’re all breathing clean, safe air.”

“The Scottish Government’s Climate Emergency Programme for Government said that they will consult on making our city centres free of fossil fuelled vehicles by 2030. The Council risks developing plans which will become quickly out of date with the growing need for climate action. The public want city centres that are walkable, liveable pleasant places to be, and these options don’t help us achieve this.”


Notes to Editors

1. The report for Dundee City Council’s Community Safety and Public Protection Committee is available here: https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/reports/agendas/cspp300919ag.pdf
The Council press release is here: https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/news/article?article_ref=3482

2. 69 premature deaths from fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution in Dundee: see Public Health England, “Estimating local mortality burdens associated with particulate air pollution” (2014), Table 3, page 20. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/estimating-local-mortality-burdens-associated-with-particulate-air-pollution
‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution.’ A report by Royal College of Physicians showed how 40,000 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

3. Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed that Dundee’s Lochee Road and Seagate are two of the most polluted streets in Scotland with illegally high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. https://foe.scot/press-release/scotlands-most-polluted-streets-2018/

4. Polling from British Lung Foundation showed that 60% of people in Dundee support the introduction of a Low Emission Zone. https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/dundee-residents-support-tough-action-over-city-centre-pollution-levels/

5. The city of Dundee is designated an Air Quality Management Area, “ in relation to breaches and likely breaches of the Nitrogen dioxide annual mean air quality objective, the Nitrogen dioxide hourly mean air quality objective and the PM10 annual mean air quality objective”.

6. 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 some 5,000 local activist groups.