Air quality in Edinburgh is improving, according to a report from the city’s Transport and Environment Committee, but efforts must continue, a councillor has said.
The 2015 progress report, to be considered at the committee’s meeting on 17 January, indicates that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is showing overall improvement in Edinburgh, while concentrations in the city’s Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are also going down.
A similar downward trend has been observed with particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).
Early figures for 2016 suggested a continuation of this improving trend, for example in St John’s Road and on Glasgow Road at the Newbridge Roundabout (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The figures come as work is being finalised to introduce a new AQMA in Salamander Street, Leith, to tackle higher than acceptable PM10 concentrations, which are thought to result from industrial processes in the area. The Salamander Street AQMA will come into operation on 20 January 2017.
Transport convener councillor Lesley Hinds welcomed the improvement in Edinburgh’s air quality but warned against complacency. She said: “Although these figures are a welcome and very encouraging sign that our efforts to combat air pollution in Edinburgh are paying off, we cannot and must not be complacent.
“Air pollution remains one of the main threats to ‘quality of life’ in Edinburgh and this Council continues to work extremely hard to address pockets of poor air quality in the city.
“We are currently working on a range of projects to encourage sustainable transport and to improve our own fleet to reduce emissions.
Cllr Hinds added that the city is leading in its development of sustainable travel. She said: “Measures to make walking, cycling and public transport as attractive as possible will greatly benefit the Capital’s air quality and quality of life.
“We’re delivering one of Scotland’s longest and most ambitious protected cycle-way schemes in the City Centre West to East Link and with 10% of the entire transport budget going on cycling projects in the coming financial year, we’re making significant investments in active travel provision.
“As well as reducing congestion through improved traffic flow, another key strand of our Air Quality Action Plan and Local Transport Strategy is promoting cleaner transport, especially buses.
“Lothian Buses, the largest bus provider in the Capital, have made great strides in making their fleet much more energy efficient. The company is also looking to introduce a number of electric-powered vehicles for use in the city centre, while other bus operators in the city have also made improvements to their fleets.”