AIR POLLUTION: JOHNSTONE URGES END TO COMPLACENCY OVER DEATHS
Alison Johnstone, Lothian MSP and Scottish Green Party spokesperson on health, wellbeing and sport, has today called for an end to complacency over deadly air pollution levels.
Johnstone used Topical Questions in the Scottish Parliament to ask the Scottish Government how it is working with local authorities to address dangerously high air pollution levels.
Earlier this week, a report by the BBC revealed that only 13 out of 32 local councils are using the power that allows them to conduct roadside testing on vehicle emissions.
According to estimates, high air pollution levels are causing 3,500 premature deaths in Scotland every year. Research conducted by Professor David Newby, who is based at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary, has revealed that poor air quality increases the risk of heart attacks.
Alison Johnstone said:
"Latest scientific findings establish a clear link between air pollution and heart attacks. It's time for local authorities and the national government to start taking this public health issue seriously. They already have the powers to test vehicle emission levels - these powers must now be put into use.
"Vehicle emission testing is just one of the tools the Scottish Government and councils could use to bring down dangerously high air pollution levels. So far, efforts to invest properly in walking and cycling, as well as to limit traffic in hot spot areas, have been lacking.
"The Scottish Government and councils must face the facts - air pollution is killing thousands of people around Scotland, with those living with heart disease at particularly high risk. These deaths are entirely preventable, and we need to see decisive moves from national and local government to make tackling air pollution a public health priority."