More than 350 people have objected to plans for a supermarket with a huge car park on St John’s Road in Edinburgh. Local residents and campaign group Friends of the Earth Scotland warn that the proposal will clog up traffic and increase air pollution levels in a location where toxic air levels are already well above legal limits. The proposal runs counter to Edinburgh Council's Local Transport Strategy's Environmental Objective to “reduce pollutant emissions in order that the city meets statutory Scottish air quality standards”

The plans would see a 140-capacity, two-storey car park built on top of the store and the developer Realis Estates have submitted documents indicating over 3000 vehicle visits would be made to and from the store each weekday. The proposed store would have a floor area of over 3000 square metres and would be located at the corner of St John’s & Manse Road in Corstorphine.

Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland said,

“The developer has grossly underestimated how bad traffic congestion already is in the area. The reality is that St John’s Road is backed up with traffic during rush hour and could not cope with such a large supermarket centred around encouraging more car usage. This proposal would see hundreds more cars on St John’s Road every day, more idling at junctions and an increase in local air pollution.

“The air pollution levels here are already the worst in Edinburgh. It’s bad enough that children walking from St John’s Rd to school are already forced to breathe in toxic fumes every day. For the sake of their health, air pollution should not be permitted to get any worse and these plans must be turned down.”

Key objections raised:
– Location of the store is in a designated Pollution Zone with hazardous levels of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution breaching safety standards. Nitrogen Dioxide is a toxic irritant which can trigger respiratory illness and cause early death.
– Proximity of the store to Corstorphine Primary School. Children coming from St John’s Rd will be forced to cross over a potentially dangerous delivery and customer entrance on Manse Road.
– Manse Road to be made two-way in part. There are predicted to be queues of up to 24 cars down Manse Road during rush hour and the junction will have to be altered, which will mean traffic is forced to queue for longer on St John’s Road.
– Increasing the height of the supermarket will increase the ‘canyon effect’ of the area, trapping air pollution on St John’s Road. [5]
– Removal of well loved old oak trees, protected by the area’s conservation status.

Hanna continued

“The documents associated with this planning application are riddled with flaws and confusion. When the developer’s consultants have mixed up the Council’s air quality data and have incorrectly labelled charts, it begs serious questions over whether we can believe the claims they make about air pollution.

“The Council must reject this proposal, because it is under a statutory obligation to work towards the achievement of air quality safety standards. This planning application will make air pollution in the area worse and therefore should be rejected when it goes to the Planning Committee.”

Local resident Becky Lloyd, who heads up the Corstorphine Residents Action & Information Group and is a mother of two, said,

“The Birmingham-based developers want to build a massive supermarket and multi-storey carpark which is out of scale with its surroundings and which can only be accessed from a street so narrow it is currently one-way. We trust the Council will come to the same conclusion as residents and rule this development entirely inappropriate for the site. Corstorphine is saturated with supermarkets and there is no demand or need for another one.

“This development would cause more congestion and pollution on a street already ranked the second most polluted in Scotland. Buried in the developer’s own figures is the true picture: an estimated 22,000 car trips in and out of the supermarket every week, with up to 70% of this new, rather than passing traffic.”

**You can object to this proposal until 5pm on Friday August 7th 2015. Click here to Take Action Now**


Notes to Editors

[1] The Planning Reference is 15/02898/FUL and documents are available to view on Edinburgh City Council’s website. Developer Realis’ application was previously backed by Waitrose, but Waitrose removed its support of the plans in March 2015. Realis is continuing its plans without a supermarket on board.

[2] Local campaign group, Corstorphine Residents Action & Information Group: http://corstorphinewaitrose.wordpress.com

[3] The legal limit for Nitrogen Dioxide is an annual concentration of no more than 40 microgrammes per cubic metre. Levels at St John’s Road monitoring station averaged 60 microgrammes per cubic metre last year. For more information: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/air-pollution-streets-2014

[4] Edinburgh City Council’s Local Transport Strategy has the environmental objective to reduce pollutant emissions in order that the city meets statutory Scottish air quality standards”: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20245/services_for_communities/341/tran…

[5] ‘Canyon effect’ is when air pollution is trapped on a narrow street with tall buildings on either side that are close to the road.

[6] Read more about our Air Pollution campaign http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/air-pollution 

[7]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.