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Scotland’s most polluted streets for 2017 revealed

Friends of the Earth Scotland finds air quality standards were breached in four towns and cities.

Environmentalists have named the Scottish streets they say are being blighted by air pollution from traffic fumes.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s analysis of data found that recorded pollution levels continued to break Scottish and European air quality standards in 10 streets across four towns and cities in 2017.

It described air pollution as a “public health crisis” and blamed it for over 2,500 early deaths every year in Scotland and costing the Scottish economy more than £1.1 billion annually.

The Scottish Government said it is doing all it can to protect the public from the harmful effects of air pollution, and has a “clear vision” for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe.

Friends of the Earth Scotland looked at figures for two key pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and “particulate matter”.

Glasgow’s Hope Street was ranked Scotland’s dirtiest street, topping the list for nitrogen dioxide pollution.

Edinburgh’s St John’s Road and Queensferry Road were also on the list, as were Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road and Dundee’s Seagate and Lochee Road.

All were found to have NO2 levels above the set European limits, the organisation said.

Queensferry Road and Dumbarton Road were also found to have breached Scottish standards for tiny sooty particles from vehicles.

The same was true for Edinburgh’s Salamander St and Glasgow Road, Atholl Street in Perth and Clarence Drive in Glasgow, according to the charity.

A Low Emission Zone will be launched in Glasgow by the end of this year, followed by three more in Dundee, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen by 2020.

Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Once again, streets in Scotland have dangerous levels of toxic air pollution which are breaking legal limits.

“The situation across Scotland is potentially showing some slow signs of improvements, but filthy streets continue to poison our lungs nearly a decade after a legal deadline.

“Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone will be in Glasgow by the end of this year, and this will be an important test of commitment to address this problem.

“The rest of Scotland is looking to Glasgow to set a high standard with its Low Emission Zone.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We have committed to introducing Low Emission Zones (LEZs) into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020, and then into all other Air Quality Management Areas by 2023 where the National Low Emission Framework (NLEF) appraisals support such mitigation.

“We will continue to work with industry to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032. We have invested more than £210 million in active travel since the start of the 2011 spending review, and the most recent Programme for Government announced that we would double the active travel budget from £40 million to £80 million in 2018-19.”

She added: “Our Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to promote air quality and Scotland is the first country in Europe to pass legislation based on World Health Organisation guidelines for fine particulate matter.”

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