Clean Air Day

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  Poor air quality causes heart and lung disease and is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development.

Thursday 17 June is Clean Air Day – the UK’s largest air pollution campaign that aims to bring people together to build awareness of the actions we can all do to tackle it.

Planning has an important role to play in this. Here in Edinburgh, we are setting out actions in strategies and plans to help tackle this, for example in our; 

The Clean Air Day campaign website has a wealth of ideas and ready-made materials to make it easy to get involved.

Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone: Update

Edinburgh’s low emission zone (LEZ) proposal aims to improve air quality for people across the city by tackling pollution from vehicles and has been developed in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection agency and Transport Scotland.

The LEZ will involve removing the most polluting vehicles from the network and will only allow the cleanest vehicles into the LEZ. Visit LowEmissionZone.Scot to find out if your vehicle complies.

The Scottish Government is committed to introducing LEZs to Edinburgh. The original commitment was to have these in place by the end of 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, timescales have changed, with a new indicative timescale for LEZs to be introduced between February and May 2022. For more information of LEZ timelines and more please visit Transport.gov.scot.

There are a number of funding opportunities that have been made available. These offer to help those who are most impacted by the LEZ, with grants available for people and businesses to enable them to upgrade their vehicle/vehicles to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly, LEZ compliant vehicle or public transport vouchers.

The £2 million mobility fund launched by Scottish government offers cash incentives for non-compliant vehicles to be removed from the road. Administered by the Energy Savings Trust, the programme is means tested to help those who would struggle the most to upgrade their vehicle and provides support for both people and businesses to travel more sustainably.

The mobility fund provides households with a grant of £2,000 as an incentive to remove a non-compliant vehicle from the road and replace it with a cleaner compliant vehicle or invest in alternative transport modes.

The mobility fund also provides help for businesses, with a £2,500 cash grant to help upgrade their fleet to cleaner, more efficient vehicles.

£1 million of funding is also being made available to support the retrofitting of Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) as well as Taxis through the LEZ Retrofitting Fund for micro-businesses.

Find out more about the Edinburgh project and how to get in touch with us at: https://www.lowemissionzones.scot/about/local-zones/edinburgh

Junior Road Safety Event and air quality

On 13 and 14 September we held workshops at the Junior Road Safety Event at The City Chambers to show school kids how everyday activities contribute to air pollution.  The event is organised by colleagues in Road Safety and Active Travel who work with Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) to help promote road safety and active travel amongst their peers.  They do this through competitions, assemblies and events in school, and help them put together their travel plans to reduce cars on the school run, reduce congestion and promote walking, scooting and cycling.

This annual event brings together Edinburgh primary school children who are JRSOs and provides them with ideas to promote road safety issues in their school and local community.

Air pollution has been recently described by the World Health Organisation’s Director General as ’the major public health issue of our generation’.  Because we can’t always see it, it is easy not to think about it.

But transport is a major source of local air pollution here in Edinburgh, and reducing vehicle emissions or using our cars less for example by walking or cycling instead, is one way we can help improve air quality.

The workshop activity used food colourings to represent pollutants in air. Adding drops of these to glasses of water (representing clean air) allowed the children to see how their individual activities including travel to school can pollute the air we breathe. The children compared their glasses and discussed ways they could reduce their own contributions.

The feedback we got from the children who attended the event was really positive and we hope it helps to give them a better understanding of some of the air quality issues in the city.