On the day of the launch (Tuesday 24 June) of the first Cycle Hire Scheme in Glasgow, environmental campaigners have welcomed the scheme.
 
Friends of the Earth Glasgow Coordinator Sara Barry said,
 
“We are delighted to see that Glasgow City Council is taking the need for better cycling facilities in the city seriously. Together with the newly proposed cycle routes across the city, we are hopeful that the cycle hire scheme will lead to a reduction in air pollution and to better health.”
 
Friends of the Earth Scotland Air Pollution Campaigner Emilia Hanna said,
 
“The new cycle hire scheme is great news for Glasgow. This scheme will improve people’s health, reduce carbon emissions, and help tackle Glasgow’s air pollution problem.
 
“Cycling keeps you fit, your heart healthy and can increase your life expectancy. It is the green, modern way to travel. London’s cycle hire scheme has transformed attitudes to cycling and walking and hopefully the same will happen in Glasgow.
 
“The scheme needs to be combined with more cycle routes across the city to increase opportunities for cycling and to ensure those on bikes feel safe on the roads.
 
“This is a positive step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done to tackle Glasgow’s air pollution crisis. Air pollution is a silent killer, causing over 300 deaths in Glasgow each year alone.

“Air pollution causes asthma, strokes, heart attacks and is the leading cause of lung cancer globally. Groups such as children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health problems are the most vulnerable to the negative effects of air pollution.

“Glasgow City Council needs to tackle traffic congestion through a traffic reduction target for the city centre, and needs to tackle toxic pollution from cars, buses and freight vehicles through a low emissions zone.”
 
ENDS
 
For media enquiries, please contact:
 
Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2714
e: ehanna@foe-scotland.org.uk
 
Notes to editors:
 
(1) The Cycle Hire Scheme is a Mass Automated Cycle Hire (M.A.C.H.) Scheme costing £586,000 over a 3 year period. For more details, see the executive report of the Glasgow City Council Sustainability and Transport Committee, of 10 October 2013 at http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/viewDoc.asp?c=e%97%9D…  
 
(2) The World Health Organisation estimates that worldwide 7 million people each year die prematurely due to exposure to air pollution, and they have named air pollution as the leading global cause of cancer deaths: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
 
(3) Glasgow City Council has declared 4 Air Quality Management Areas (“AQMAs”) which are zones where levels of air pollution are in breach of Scottish air quality standards. An air quality management area spans the city centre area, another at Byres Road/Dumbarton Road, one at Parkhead Cross, and in 2012 an AQMA spanning the entirety of the city was declared for Small Particles. For further details and maps of the see the City Council’s Air Quality Progress Report of 2013 at http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/localairqualitymanagement
 
(4) In January, Friends of the Earth Scotland identified Glasgow’s Hope Street as Scotland’s most polluted street from Nitrogen Dioxide: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1744
 
(5) In February 2014 the European Commission started legal action against the United Kingdom for failing to bring levels of Nitrogen Dioxide to within legal limits by the deadline under EU Law in several cities across the UK, including in Glasgow (air pollution levels were due to be brought to within the legal limit by 1 January 2010). (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-154_en.htm)
 
(6) Air pollution from one type of pollutant (PM2.5s, also known as fine particles) kills an equivalent of 308 people in Glasgow each year and is responsible for 1 in 20 deaths in Glasgow according to statistics produced by Public Health England in March 2014: http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607,http://www….
 
(7) Friends of the Earth Glasgow campaigns on local and national environmental issues that affect the Glasgow area. The group is made up of volunteers of all ages and from a range of backgrounds. https://sites.google.com/site/foeglasgow/home
 
(8) 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, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups. www.foe-scotland.org.uk