Dunfermline Press

Air quality improves on Dunfermlin­e road

- By Ally McRoberts Reporter amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

ACTION to cut traffic pollution on a main road in Dunfermlin­e has led to its status as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) being revoked.

Fife Council agreed the move for Appin Crescent despite a local councillor stating the situation was still “pretty dire” with more and more vehicles using the route.

Worrying levels of nitrogen dioxide - and later particulat­e matter (PM10) - led to an AQMA being declared on the Dunfermlin­e street in 2011 and an action plan was drawn up.

The council said those measures have been “successful in improving air quality” and the Scottish Government have, together with the Scottish Environmen­t Protection Agency, directed them to revoke the order and a similar one for Bonnygate in Cupar.

However, Dunfermlin­e councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder had called for a delay, pointing out a “significan­t increase” in pollutants on Appin Crescent, on the main east-west route through the city, since 2020.

She stated that “many residents are not happy with these proposals” and that she was “disappoint­ed that the Scottish Government are pushing for this”.

Highlighti­ng figures for 2022 at a scrutiny committee last week, the Lib Dem councillor said the level of pollution recorded on the street had dropped during the pandemic but was now back above the levels recorded in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In 2017 Friends of the Earth Scotland said Appin Crescent had the worst air pollution in Fife.

Cllr Boubaker-Calder added: “I want to see a decision deferred so we can see what the pollution levels are this year and make an informed judgement.”

Her husband, Cllr James Calder, took up the cause two days later at the cabinet committee and commented that, due to the Scottish Government and SEPA directing the council to undertake the revocation, it was not possible to formally revoke the measures.

A minimum three-year period is required for the revocation of an AQMA and a report said there had been “highly significan­t decreasing trends since monitoring began”.

At the meeting Nigel Kerr, the head of protective services, said: “If you take out the Covid years, when there was less traffic on the roads, we’ve had seven consecutiv­e years of compliance in Cupar and 10 consecutiv­e years of compliance in Dunfermlin­e.”

He said that while there had been an “uptick” in 2022 the early signs were that pollution levels were at the same or probably lower for 2023 and the overall trend was still downward.

Mr Kerr said: “You’ll see no change, we’ll continue to monitor at both locations, continue to follow through with action plan processes and submit annual reports to the scrutiny committee so members can see any changes in pollution over time.”

After the meeting, Cllr Calder said: “While I think it is extremely short sighted by the Scottish Government to push through the revocation based on data from the pandemic, when pollution levels reduced during lockdown, I am pleased that fellow councillor­s agreed that Fife Council must continue the monitoring measures.

“Data from the past two years show PM10 pollution levels are back on the rise in both areas, with in Appin Crescent it being higher than pre-pandemic levels.”

He continued to add: “We must continue both monitoring and taking action on this trend as this is both an environmen­tal and health hazard.”

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