Scottish Government foot dragging on pollution will cost lives


Pollution strategy is costing lives according to campaigners 

5th May 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Environmentalists have slammed the Scottish Government for failing to tackle the country’s air pollution crisis.

It comes as the UK government was ordered to reveal plans by the High Court due to the threat toxic air poses to health of UK citizens.

Air quality is devolved with the Scottish Government legally responsible for meeting EU limits in Scotland and for the Scottish elements of the UK plans.

The vast majority of polluting nitrogen dioxide in Scotland’s towns and cities is produced locally, by the traffic driving in streets, and tackling it is the legal responsibility of the Scottish Government.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said that as a result of the Scottish Government’s "foot-dragging on clean air," people will continue to die prematurely from air pollution.

Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for the group, said: “Over 2,000 people die early from exposure to fine particles in Scotland, and pollution has been linked with heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and even mothers giving birth to babies prematurely and with reduced birthweights.

“It is unacceptable that the Scottish Government is still only aiming to have compliant air quality by 2020, when last year the High Court ruled that plans had to be as ambitious as possible to secure clean air as quickly as possible.

The Scottish Government plans just one Low Emission Zone by next year, yet people suffer from illegal air pollution in each of our major cities. Scotland’s input into the plans has been half-hearted, and although the UK-wide plans are not good enough, the Scottish Government must not be allowed to use this to deflect from its own failures."

Illegal and unsafe levels of air have been found in four of six Scotland regions that are monitored under European law, and the Scottish Government was obliged to come up with new ways to protect our health, but it has utterly failed to do so.

It has not revised its own air quality strategy, Cleaner Air for Scotland, and key parts of that strategy are now over a year behind schedule, camapigners say. 

Hanna added: “There is a worrying lack of detail on how the promised Low Emission Zone will be funded, how bus users will be protected, and when it will roll out more zones to all of Scotland’s cities."