Growing problem of air pollution is a public health crisis

Mark Ruskell, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (17 Jan) used Topical Questions at Holyrood to challenge Scottish Ministers over their lack of action on the growing problem of air pollution from traffic.

The number of pollution zones in Scotland where safety standards are regularly broken has risen to 38 - five more than last year.

The most polluted zones include Bearsden, Glasgow, Johnstone, Coatbridge, Crieff, Cambuslang, Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Falkirk, Dunfermline, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Mark Ruskell, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Mid-Scotland & Fife, said:

"The growing problem of air pollution from traffic is nothing short of a public health crisis. Thousands of people are needlessly dying each year and the Scottish Government is simply not taking the issue seriously enough.

"The response from the Environment Secretary today was to say it's up to local authorities to come forward for help but we need to see Government being pro-active rather than creating competition for limited funds. A national network of Low Emission Zones is needed so that councils can prevent the most polluting traffic from entering, while developing cleaner options such as public transport, cycling and walking. 

"Legally, the buck stops with the Scottish Government - they need to commit to making Low Emission Zones happen or face the consequences of inaction in the courts.

“As well as the 38 areas already breaching legal limits many streets are starting to see pollution nudging higher and higher. Introducing a national default 20 mph speed limit for all residential areas would help to significantly cut pollution from diesel engines.”


Number of pollution zones in Scotland rises to 38 (BBC)

Scottish government risks air pollution court action (Client Earth)