Hope Street most polluted street in Scotland

Ollie Rudden
Deputy News Editor

The street tops the list for its high levels of nitrogen dioxide and diesel pollution.

One of Glasgow’s busiest streets has been revealed as the most polluted in Scotland, according to a new study.

Hope Street in Glasgow’s city centre has topped the list of most polluted streets in Scotland for 2019, due to its high levels of nitrogen dioxide and/or diesel pollution, far higher than other streets in Scotland.

Eco-campaign group Friends of the Earth, completed this study by gathering data from Automatic Monitoring Stations across Scotland, where it found Hope Street to top the list with an NO2 Nitrogen Dioxide Annual mean of 55.63 µg/m3, much higher than the remaining top three of Edinburgh’s Nicolson Street and Dundee’s Seagate with means of 48.81 µg/m3 and 43.90 µg/m3 respectively.

Friends of the Earth claim that not enough is being done to lower fossil fuel usage in the city, going as far to brand Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone as “weak” and accusing the Scottish government of failing to provide good public transport as an alternative to fuel-powered cars.

Gavin Thompson, an air pollution campaigner from Friends of the Earth Scotland stated: “These figures are shameful. Most of Glasgow, and most of Scotland, is stalling on air quality. This is dangerous for our health, and is a failure of the government to protect its most vulnerable citizens. We are all at risk from toxic traffic fumes but it is particularly harmful to children, the elderly, and those who are already ill.

“If we don’t start prioritising greener transport over fossil-fuelled cars, we’ll keep burning the Earth and keep breathing in toxic fumes.

“Glasgow’s weak Low Emission Zone, which only requires 40% of buses to be cleaner, is not nearly enough. People in Glasgow need to see bold measures to reduce car traffic around the city and the council must have a stronger role in delivering public transport.

“Positive changes need to be made, and quickly. By ending the chokehold of cars in our public spaces, we can open our city streets up to walking, cycling and create healthier, safer communities.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government stated: “We are working hard to improve air quality across Scotland and we have seen significant reductions in pollution emissions in recent decades through tighter industrial regulation, improved fuel quality, cleaner vehicles, and an increased focus on sustainable transport.

“Scotland enjoys a high level of air quality compared to the rest of the UK and other parts of Europe and we have set more stringent air quality targets. Low Emission Zones (LEZs) will help further improve air quality in towns and cities by preventing access by the dirtiest vehicles. We made more than £18m available in 2019-20 to support local authorities and fleet operators with the financial costs of establishing, and preparing for LEZs and we will continue to provide support in order to protect public health.

“We are providing practical and financial support to local authorities in tackling local air pollution hotspots. This includes a total of £4.5m in annual funding.”


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