With steps toward a Low Emission Zone in Glasgow, we have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t set a precedent for weak action.Patrick Harvie MSP
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (22 Mar) used First Minister's Questions to challenge Nicola Sturgeon to sort out her transport agency amid confusion surrounding funding for Scotland's first Low Emissions Zone aimed at tackling air pollution.
This week, Glasgow city council agreed to bring forward implementation of the LEZ after pressure from Green councillors, other opposition parties and air pollution campaigners who had described the council's original proposal as a "No Ambition Zone".
Despite £10.8million being made available by government for Low Emissions Zones, and a further £10million in loans for cleaner buses, council officials and Transport Scotland have yet to commit to spend it.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"We've known about illegal levels of air pollution for years, and the profound effect on people’s health while Scottish Government transport policy has been making it worse. With steps toward a Low Emission Zone in Glasgow, we have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t set a precedent for weak action.
"Glasgow city council proposals have been widely criticised with a slow timetable for buses to comply and no action on private cars and other polluting vehicles. Green councillors have worked with others to try to improve things but there is a role for the Scottish Government to clear up confusion over funding available to support the scheme.
"There's supposed to be £10.8million available specifically for Low Emissions Zones, and a further £10million in loans to speed up the roll out of clean buses, funding secured by Green MSPs as part of budget negotiations. The money is there; it's time to get clear spending plans in place.
"It’s the government’s agency, Transport Scotland, that seems to be the biggest barrier to change. The First Minister must take on its cautious, business-as-usual approach, turn it into a catalyst for change and get the necessary resources invested."