Friends of the Earth Scotland called on the new Scottish Parliament to do more to tackle air pollution after it was revealed that Glasgow has failed to meet World Health Organisation guidelines for air quality.

The WHO report detailed the huge public health impact of air pollution, which was responsible for 3 million premature deaths globally each year. The report identified 40 areas in the UK and Ireland which failed to meet air pollution measures.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,
“The global death toll from air pollution is staggering and this research shows that no nation is completely immune from its impacts. Transport systems around the world are having a hugely damaging effect on our health and our climate. The WHO report specifically highlights the problems for health in Glasgow.

“Poor air quality impacts are felt most by the elderly, young people whose lungs are still developing and those who already ill. By taking action to cut air pollution we’ll improve public health, reduce its cost to the NHS and protect some of our most vulnerable citizens. Making transport greener will also reduce climate change emissions.

“Air pollution claims over 2,500 lives each year in Scotland so the new Parliament must act urgently to clean up our air. The SNP manifesto commitment to deliver at least one city Low Emission Zone by 2018 is welcome but this process must be accelerated.

“MSPs must also work to shift transport spending priorities. If we continue to see billion-pound budgets for road expansion and motorway building, Scotland will not see the transport transformation that it desperately needs. The Government’s aspiration to have 10% of journeys made by bike by 2020 is out of reach without immediate increases in funding and support for walking and cycling.”

Glasgow Uni Climate Action & Hillhead Community Council campaign for cleaner air on Byres Rd. Photo: Tessy Troes

 

Notes to Editors

 

World Health Organisation press release and database http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/air-pollution-rising/en/

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.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk