Reacting to news that City of Edinburgh Council have approved a motion to back a Low Emission Zone in the city, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“It’s great to see Edinburgh keen to create a Low Emission Zone to protect people’s health from deadly traffic pollution. A majority of Councillors in Glasgow also support a Low Emission Zone, so the Scottish Government now has two solid proposals to work with to create the first of these zones in Scotland.

“With its bigger death toll Glasgow is the front runner but this is a very serious offer from the Capital. With air pollution coming rapidly up the agenda, the Scottish Government need to spell out how and when they will help Councils create the second, third and subsequent Low Emission Zones.

“Low emission zones are a really important tool in reducing emissions from traffic, by keeping the dirtiest vehicle out of the most polluted areas. They are likely to apply to buses, lorries and vans initially. The Council have wisely pointed out that they need the Scottish Government to commit finances to making Low Emission Zones happen.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1- The motion from Green party Councillor Chas Booth agreed by the Council reads:

“Motion by Councillor Booth – Air Quality

Council:
1) Notes that in the last air quality update, presented to Transport and Environment Committee on 17 January 2017, that the annual mean
nitrogen dioxide objective was exceeded at 26 monitoring locations across the city in 2015;
2) Notes that Scottish air quality objectives for PM10 were exceeded at Salamander Street, and Scottish air quality objectives for PM2.5 were
estimated to have been exceeded at four sites across the city;
3) Notes and welcomes the downward trend in most pollutants but believes that faster progress could and should be made in delivering
cleaner air for Edinburgh;
4) Notes that four out of five parties represented on the council have made public commitments to introduce a low emission zone (LEZ) in the city
in order to tackle poor air quality;
5) Notes that the Scottish Government aims to have a single Low Emission Zone in place in Scotland by 2018, is currently seeking a local
authority to take the lead on this, and that some Scottish Government funding may be available from the Scottish Government for the first
Scottish LEZ only, therefore notes that this is a matter of urgency;
6) Therefore agrees that the Council should be prepared to take the lead in progressing a Low Emission Zone for Edinburgh, and calls for additional funding for the Zone to be identified from partners such as the Scottish Government;
7) Agrees that the Council Chief Executive will urgently write to the Scottish Government offering to work towards establishing Scotland’s
first Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh, with the expectation that the Scottish Government can make a significant contribution towards the
cost of establishing the Zone, and offering early talks to discuss the practical details of bringing this about.”

It was passed with the support of Green, SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors.

2- There are 200 Low Emission Zones in Europe where the most polluting vehicles get fined if they come into the protected area. The Scottish Government is committed to having the first Scottish Low Emission Zone in place by the end of 2018.

3- Health impacts of air pollution:
– Friends of the Earth Scotland estimate that 2500 people die early each year from air pollution in Scotland alone: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/RCP-Report

Air pollution, at levels seen on Scottish streets, has been linked with :
– Respiratory illness including asthma and COPD
– Heart attacks and strokes
– Low birthweight and delayed development in babies whose mothers have been exposed
– Poor lung development in children
– Dementia
– Children, the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, and sick are disproportionately affected by air pollution.
– (for more, see the Royal College of Physicians’ 2016 report, “Every Breath we Take: The lifelong impact of air pollution”: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution)

4- 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