Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have written a letter to the Scottish Government asking how it will tackle air pollution across the country as soon as possible. ClientEarth have twice successfully legally challenged the UK Government’s response to illegal air pollution levels.

In response, Air Pollution Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, Emilia Hanna said:

“ClientEarth are absolutely right to ask the Scottish Government why they are proposing only one Low Emission Zone, when dangerous, illegal levels of pollution continue to plague many towns and cities in Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth.

“The Scottish Government needs to finalise the details of its first Low Emission Zone straight away, and needs to commit to introducing Low Emission Zones in all Scottish cities with illegal air pollution.

“Air pollution is mainly caused by traffic, and disproportionately harms the most vulnerable in our society, with children, the elderly, and people living in poverty worst affected. The Scottish Government must do much more to make transport cleaner and fairer. As well as Low Emission Zones we urge the Scottish Government to invest more in walking and cycling, to phase out fossil fuelled vehicles and to re-regulate the buses so that Councils have more say over local bus routes and fares.”

ENDS


Notes to editors:

ClientEarth’s letter to the Scottish Government is available upon request from their press office. Contact Jon Bennet www.clientearth.org/contact-us/

Client Earth work to protect the environment through advocacy, litigation and science. www.clientearth.org/what-we-do/

Health effects of air pollution:

– Nitrogen Dioxide is a poisonous and toxic gas responsible for respiratory problems, and is emitted mainly by motor vehicles, so its presence indicates other harmful vehicle emissions such as Particulate
Matter, which has been linked with heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.
– Long term exposure to air pollution, even at levels lower than the legal limits, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes: http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.f7412
– Long term exposure to air pollution at levels lower than the legal limits, in pregnant mothers, can cause babies to be born with low birthweights: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(13)70192-9/abstract
– Exposure to high levels of air pollution can reduce children’s lung function: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/laura-donnelly/11953613/Air-pollu…
– Air pollution from fine particles (PM2.5) causes over 2000 deaths every year in Scotland: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil…

Free to use air pollution protest images are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHskiVKDf1

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.