Air pollution: Johnstone challenges inaction

Alison Johnstone, Health and Wellbeing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, today (11 Jan) challenged the Scottish Government and local authorities over their inaction on air pollution highlighted by TV documentary “Car Sick”.

The investigation, due to air on BBC1 this week, reveals that only 13 of the country’s 32 local authorities carry out roadside emissions testing, more than a decade after the powers were introduced.

AJVideoIn the programme, Transport Minister Derek Mackay claims spending on walking and cycling is “at a record level”, yet analysis published by the Scottish Greens has shown it remains less than 2 per cent of the total transport budget, with funding for safe routes to schools due to be cut by £2.1million while spending on motorways is to rise by £125.5million.

Alison Johnstone, Health and Wellbeing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:

“This investigation shows yet again that public health is being paid lip service by both national and local government who remain unwilling to use their powers and budgets to make our streets safe and healthy. Successive Labour, Lib Dem and SNP Governments have failed to take this issue seriously despite the clear evidence that investing in walking and cycling infrastructure and efficient, affordable public transport delivers much greater public benefit than building new roads.

“In parliament I have highlighted comments by Professor David Newby of the British Heart Foundation centre of research excellence in Edinburgh who says there is a clear link between air pollution levels and heart attacks. I will continue to challenge ministers and local authorities so we see bold action to save lives.”

Most councils fail to test vehicle emissions (BBC):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35112011

Cycling funding flat (Scottish Greens):
https://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/news/cycling-funding-flat-johnstone-says-ministers-risking-lives/

Solution to air pollution is better transport (Alison Johnstone speech, November 2015):
http://alisonjohnstonemsp.com/?p=866