The 21 of June 2018 was this year’s Clean Air Day across the United Kingdom, the right time to rethink air quality and to demonstrate necessary actions for air quality improvements. In Edinburgh, Christine Jardine, the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West, used the occasion to raise awareness on the low air quality in her constituency by starting a petition. The public launch took place on St John’s Road and the location was well chosen: according to “Friends of the Earth Scotland”, St John’s Road was the second most polluted street for nitrogen dioxide loads in Scotland 2017.
The petition takes up the consultations of the Edinburgh City Council to establish a Low Emission Zone and calls for including the districts of Corstorphine, Murrayfield and Queensferry Road in it. Ms Jardine said that “Air pollution from traffic fumes has a devastating impact on health, especially on children and people with existing health problems. Setting up Low Emission Zones in towns and cities can make a real difference in reducing vehicle emissions and improving the health of people growing up in polluted areas. Given that the west of Edinburgh is centred on two of the most polluted roads in the country, it is obvious that any future Low Emissions Zone needs to extend beyond the city centre”.
Now, the initiators of the petition call upon people to sign the petition for making a strong argument to the City Council to include the above-mentioned areas in the forthcoming Low Emission Zone.
In the wider picture of Scotland, estimations tell that air pollution accounts for more than 2,500 premature deaths every year and costs Scotland’s economy over £1.1 billion each year.
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Story first published by “The Edinburgh Reporter” on 24 June 2018.