Action is needed to tackle pollution
Crieff’s High Street a high emissions zone
Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell has urged Scottish Ministers to pick up the pace on plans to tackle the threat to public health from traffic pollution.
There are 38 pollution zones in Scotland where safety standards are regularly broken, including one in Crieff High Street.
The Strath capital hotspot is one of two in Perthshire -the other being at Atholl Street in Perth.
In the programme for government launched this week ministers announced a consultation on creating a Low Emissions Zone in each of the four largest cities by 2020.
Mr Ruskell, who is Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, this year led a Holyrood debate on air pollution, raised it at First Minister’s Questions and prompted the Environment Committee to plan an inquiry into the issue.
He said: “Traffic pollution causes lung and heart disease, and thousands of premature deaths every year in Scotland, so the fact that the Scottish Government is slowly waking up to the need for action shows the benefit of consistent Green pressure on this issue.
“We now need a commitment to fund Low Emissions Zones (LEZ) with local councils, given we have 38 pollution hot spots in communities across the country.”
Mr Ruskell welcomed action in Scotland’s four largest cities but believes the Scottish Government must also work with Perth and Kinross Council to ensure that sufficient funding is put in place to tackle the areas of poor air quality in Perthshire as both Atholl Street, and Crieff High Street are listed among Scotland’s most polluted streets.
He added: “Clearly each area will face its own unique set of issues and different measures may be required to tackle this problem in Perth and Crieff than would be introduced in Glasgow or Edinburgh. It’s important that communities are included in the design of pollution action plans and that the Scottish Government provide the right technical support and funding.”
“It’s also vital that councils ensure consideration is given to air pollution during the planning process to make sure we don’t see more ludicrous decisions like the approval of huge housing developments in Scone – which could yet see the village become Scotland’s 39th air quality management area.
“While we await a decision on where the first of the LEZs will be, there are actions the Scottish Government can take right now to improve air quality in our streets. Reducing the speed limit in built up areas from 30 to 20 mph, as my member’s bill proposes, would significantly cut pollution from diesel engines.
“The response to my consultation, from individuals and organisations, has been hugely positive and I’d encourage the Scottish Government to offer its support.”
Action call Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell