AIR POLLUTION: JOHNSTONE SAYS LATEST STRATEGY IS GROUNDHOG DAY
"Cleaner Air for Scotland - The Road to a Healthier Future" says the Scottish Government will improve monitoring and modelling of the problem, will adopt World Health Organization guidelines on particulate matter pollution in legislation, and will run an awareness campaign.
But the strategy does not detail what funding will be allocated to tackle this public health crisis, nor does it pledge any practical measures such as Low Emissions Zones, which have been shown to work elsewhere.
Ministers are spending just £3million this year on air quality measures compared to £700million on building new roads. It is estimated that traffic-related air pollution is responsible for 2,000 premature deaths in Scotland every year.
Alison Johnstone MSP, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:
“Successive governments and ministers have paid lip service to this public health scandal. Communities affected by dangerous levels of pollution have been waiting too long for practical action and serious investment. Today's publication, focusing on monitoring and awareness campaigns, while glossing over massive roadbuilding budgets, is like Groundhog Day.
"If we repeat the failure to invest seriously in walking, cycling, 20mph zones and low-emissions public transport, we will simply add to the strain on our health, our NHS, and our economy. It is clear that Green voices are needed more than ever to push this issue up the agenda, and get the Scottish Government to go further and faster so our town and city centres are clean and safe for all."