Air quality in Edinburgh looks to be improving with fixed monitoring sites across the city recording a reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions, Edinburgh city council has claimed.
The monitoring data covering January to August 2016 reveals that 97% of the city’s streets are meeting required standards.
The mid-year figures shows a 33% improvement on NOx emissions at St John’s Road compared to the same period in 2015, while emissions on Glasgow Road at the Newbridge Roundabout are down by more than a fifth since 2015.
Data retrieved from the city’s network of monitoring sites is publicly available now on the Scottish Government’s Air Quality in Scotland’ website – and will be further calibrated and validated in the coming weeks.
This will allow the City of Edinburgh council to comply with its statutory duty to submit a yearly report to the UK and Scottish Governments, detailing air quality in the city and measures to improve it.
St John’s Road remains the only air quality station which currently doesn’t comply with the regulatory standard of 40ug/m3 for NOx. Less than 3% of Edinburgh is in air quality management areas (AQMAs).
The council’s Transport and Environment convener, councillor Lesley Hinds, welcomed the figures as a sign that efforts to make Edinburgh’s air quality better may be starting to bear fruit.
Cllr Hinds said: “These early figures are very encouraging and we’ll continue to monitor the sites to see if the positive trends continue.
“However, we’re not complacent and we know there’s more work to be done tackling other pollutants, such as Particulate Matter in areas like Salamander Street, some of which may be linked to industrial processes rather than road traffic.”
She added: “At St John’s Road we have made use of Scottish Government funding to investigate ways of improving air quality, including hybrid buses, increased provision for electric vehicles and measures to reduce traffic queuing.
“The improvements in air quality on Glasgow Road at the Newbridge Roundabout may be the first sign that the £200,000 we invested upgrading the traffic signals to reduce queuing is having a positive effect.
“Lothian Buses have also made great strides to improve the energy-efficiency of their fleet by introducing new hybrid-electric buses.”
[Updaed 22 September to confirm that St John’s Road remains the only air quality station which currently doesn’t comply].