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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Breathe easy

Take a deep breath; well, not too deep if you’re out and about on the 82 miles of Scottish roads that exceed European pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide.

The Scotsman revealed today that the Scottish Government plan to ask for a ten year extension so it can meet the targets set in Glasgow city centre, Edinburgh city centre and NE and central Scotland. Environmentalists, among many others, have heavily criticised this delay. Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said:

“Scotland has had plenty of time to take preventative action, so it is completely unacceptable that not only are we set to breach air quality targets….This situation is a direct result of Scotland's failure to produce a sensible strategy that adequately addresses air pollution and climate emissions from road traffic."

Clearly, it doesn’t need to be this way. Solutions exist that would ensure everyone, irrespective of where they live, has a (legally protected) clean air supply.

1. Halt the construction of major infrastructure projects like the Forth Road Bridge.
2. Introduce congestion charging in Glasgow & Edinburgh.
3. Central Government should annually name, shame and fine the worst offenders (e.g. councils).
4. Encourage, financially if need be, the introduction of more low emission public transport vehicles.
4. Roll out cycle hire schemes in every major city.
5. Aggressively push for more car clubs.

These are just some of the ideas that could be implemented to generate both environmental and economic benefits. What we need now is political leadership at local and national levels to ensure our air is clean.

Barry McCulloch
CSPP Policy Manager

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