BBC News

Scotland's 'most polluted' streets named

By Andrew Black
BBC Scotland News

image captionThe list was compiled using official data

Scotland's most polluted streets have been named by environmental campaigners, with Edinburgh's St. John's Road branded the worst.

Hope Street in Glasgow came second on the list, compiled by Friends of the Earth Scotland from official data.

The environmental group said air pollution was linked to thousands of deaths in Scotland each year.

The Scottish government said air pollution was being cut but accepted more needed to be done.

Are we doing enough to tackle air pollution?

The annual average European legal limit for nitrogen dioxide, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory problems, is set at 40 microgrammes per cubic metre.

But new research from Friends of the Earth Scotland, collected from official monitoring stations, says it was breached on streets across the country in 2015.

It listed annual average levels as:

  • St. John's Road Edinburgh: 65 microgrammes
  • Hope Street Glasgow: 60 microgrammes
  • Seagate, Dundee: 50 microgrammes
  • Atholl Street, Perth: 48 microgrammes
  • Lochee Road, Dundee: 48 microgrammes
  • Union Street, Aberdeen: 46 microgrammes
  • Queensferry Road, Edinburgh: 41 microgrammes
  • Wellington Road, Aberdeen: 41 microgrammes

Friends of the Earth Scotland also collected data on particulate matter - tiny particles which are pumped into the air by diesel vehicles.

It said streets in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, Dundee, Falkirk and Rutherglen failed to meet Scottish air quality standards.

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna, said: "Air pollution causes 2,000 early deaths in Scotland every year - it's a serious public health crisis and tackling it should be a top priority for the Scottish government."

Edinburgh City Council transport and environment convener Lesley Hinds said 97% of streets in the Scottish capital passed air quality tests.

She said the city was also running several green transport schemes, but amid a backdrop of big cuts, added: "There's no way we can introduce a low-emissions strategy in the city with the Scottish government unless we can get extra resources."

image captionEmilia Hanna, from Friends of the Earth Scotland, said air pollution should be a top priority

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government - which is facing legal action over a perceived failure to tackle air pollution, said: "Data shows that significant reductions in air pollutants have been achieved since 1990 and further decreases are predicted in the future, given our knowledge of the likely impacts of planned investment.

"Although there has been excellent progress, we recognise that there is more to be done to deliver further benefits for human and environmental health where areas of poorer air quality remain."

In November, ministers published a clean-air strategy with the aim of making Scotland's air the best in Europe.

The government spokeswoman added that £3m had been allocated to local authorities to help them improve air quality.

Related Topics

  • Pollution
  • Glasgow
  • Scottish government
  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • Transport
  • Edinburgh

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