Environmental campaigners have today welcomed a public consultation which would transform Edinburgh’s transport systems and address the capital’s deadly and illegal levels of air pollution.

The plans ask the public for their views on the city centre transformation, the city mobility plan, and low emission zones.

Commenting on the plans, launched today, Friends of the Earth Scotland Air Pollution Campaigner Emilia Hanna said,

“Edinburgh Council has put game-changing, modern plans on the table, which, if all implemented, could make the air on our streets safe to breathe again and transform the city into one of the best in the world. They could make our streets safer, enable easier movement and provide a boost to business.”

“Shocking new research shows air pollution can lodge into mothers’ placentas, adding to the urgency of tackling this public health risk. Although you can’t see or smell it, Edinburgh has a serious air pollution problem. Traffic fumes are poisoning the air we breathe, with six pollution zones across the city that have remained in force for years. The pollution levels are so bad they are breaking Scottish and European safety standards. Air pollution can worsen asthma, and increases the risk of cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and children’s lungs not growing properly.

“Edinburgh needs a wide-reaching Low Emission Zone which would ban the most polluting vehicles from parts of the city, and want to see a Low Emission Zone introduced as soon as possible.

“These proposals won’t just help clean our air quality, but they’ll make Edinburgh an even more wonderful place to spend time in. We urge everyone who wants to make Edinburgh cleaner, safer and easier to travel around to make their voice heard on these plans.’”

You can show your support for Edinburgh Council’s plans by quickly taking action online.


1. Edinburgh City Centre Transformation Consultation was launched today at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/connecting-our-city-transforming-our-places/

2. Edinburgh has 6 Pollution Zones where health standards on air pollution are regularly broken years after a deadline. http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20268/pollution/314/local_air_quality_management

3. In January, four Edinburgh streets were named among the most polluted in Scotland. St John’s Road and Queensferry Rd broke legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide pollution.
Salamander St, Glasgow Road and Queensferry Road surpassed Scottish safety standards for Particulate Matter. https://foe.scot/press-release/polluted-streets-list-2017/

4. For health links between air pollution and heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and stunted development in children and unborn babies: see Royal College of Physicians, “Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution” (2016) https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

5. The 2017 Programme for Government committed to introduce Low Emission Zones the four major cities by 2020. Glasgow’s proposed LEZ plans were heavily criticised for lacking ambition and urgency.

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.