According to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 7 million people died as a result of air pollution exposure in 2012. Estimates put the number of annual deaths in Edinburgh at 200. Air pollution is regarded by the WHO as the largest single environmental health risk.
So in the face of this threat, which is killing so many of Edinburgh’s citizens, you would expect the City Council to be taking robust action to improve air quality.
Apparently not. At a meeting of the council’s Transport and Environment Committee this morning, a Green amendment to strengthen action on air pollution was rejected by 12 votes to 2. The amendment was drafted following advice from Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution experts, and called for additional measures to ensure Edinburgh complies with EU air pollution limits on time. Options could include Low Emission Zones to tackle pollution from traffic, which is the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Edinburgh.
Greens will continue to argue for more robust action to tackle air pollution. If we continue with a business-as-usual approach, there will be more unnecessary deaths in our city. That’s not something that Greens can accept.