Polluting vehicles must be banned from city centres

Pollution glasgow web

Environmental and health groups have called for low emission zones to be introduced as quickly as possible across Scotland

28th November 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Polluting buses, vans and lorries should be restricted from Scottish city centres as quickly as possible, clean air campaigners say.

A Scottish Government consultation on low emission zones closed this week, as it looks to tackle high rates of pollution in urban areas.

The new zones – which will see traffic limited – are set to be introduced next year in Glasgow, and in 2020 in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said the plan could save lives.

She said: “Low emission zones can be a life-saving intervention in the fight against deadly air pollution, which kills over 2,500 people in Scotland every year.

“The Scottish Government must fund low emission zones and not pass the bill onto cash strapped councils. The zones should restrict the most polluting buses, vans and lorries from polluted areas, followed by cars and taxis at a later date.”

Cycle campaigners Spokes are also backing the plans. The group’s Dave du Feu said: "It is not enough for the government just to promote shift from fossil vehicles to electric vehicles – people and businesses in urban areas must be shown the option of a complete shift to e-bike or cargo-bike, topped up with car club when a larger vehicle is needed.

“Electric vehicles are certainly needed for longer trips, heavy loads and other purposes, but they are not pollution-free, with significant pollutants from brake wear and road dust, from current electricity generation and through the whole manufacturing process.”

Irene Johnstone, head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, said that further action is needed to help improve people's health.

“We’re pleased to see progress finally being made on introducing low emission zones in Scotland,” she said.

“However, LEZs are just one part of the solution to improving air quality, which is essential if we are protect the public’s lung health. This is why plans to tackle air quality need to be fully integrated into the new national plan to tackle lung disease.”