High Levels of Air Pollution Forecast for Edinburgh

Jamie Braidwood

EDINBURGH, UK: Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland gather on Nicolson Street to demand clean air (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

High levels of air pollution have been forecast for today in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians, according to Air Quality Scotland.

The organisation, which monitors air pollution across Scotland, has predicted that levels will hit ‘high’ in East Lothian and ‘very high’ in Fife by later today.

Although the level is predicted to fall again by the weekend, a Scottish environmental group has warned that today’s pollution will be ‘dangerous’ to those with heart and lung conditions.

Emilia Hanna, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The pollution will create dangerous conditions, with our air much more damaging than usual.

“People with lung or heart problems and older people will be especially vulnerable to this toxic stew.”

The pollution, which is mainly being released from car and lorry exhausts, has been trapped under a layer of thick cloud which has formed after a period of high pressure. With winds expected to be light across Edinburgh today, the pollution will have nowhere to go and will instead engulf the surrounding area.

Also today, pollution levels will break World Health Organisation safety standards in 15 areas across Scotland.

The official advice from Friends of Earth Scotland is that adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems should consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors.

They have also called for the Scottish Government to take ‘concerted’ action to tackle Scotland’s air pollution problem.

Mrs Hanna concluded: “To tackle the worst of today’s and Friday’s dangerous pollution impacts, the Government should advise people to avoid driving and adding to the problem. In the longer term, it must introduce measures to reduce traffic levels on our streets. Toxic air pollution episodes like this show that the Scottish Government is not doing enough to address the public health crisis of our dirty air. This kind of air pollution causes over 2000 early deaths each year and costs the Scottish economy over £1.1 billion.

“It should commit to bringing in Low Emission Zones in key cities by 2018, so that the most polluting vehicles are kept out of our city centres. By investing 10% of its transport budget on walking and cycling it would give sustainable transport a chance to really thrive in Scotland.”


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