A Dundee councillor has said that lorries may need to be banned from some roads around the city in a bid to reduce pollution and improve air quality.
Councillor Fraser Macpherson said Dundee Council will need to consider drastic solutions to improve the air quality in some of the most polluted areas of Dundee which would include Lochee Road and Seagate.
He said measures could include banning heavy goods vehicles from using these roads and demanding subsidised bus companies use the most environmentally friendly vehicles on any route which includes the most polluted areas.
An air quality update presented to Dundee Council’s community safety and public protection committee outlined an improvement in the annual average concentration of NO2 in 3 main areas including Lochee Road.
However Mr Macpherson said the council still has some way to go to improve the air quality. He said: “We are not even where we were in 2006. The reality is we do have a long way to go.”
Although, he said, promoting cycling and the use of electric vehicles will help, he also thinks drastic measures are now needed.
“This may be banning HGVs from certain roads if necessary but we never go near this stuff. We will have to make hard decisions.”
Labour councillor Michael Marra gained unanimous support from the council after tabling a motion calling on the council to explore the process and implications of becoming Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone.
He said: “It’s not a question of ambition, it is one of necessity. Dundee will have to become a low emission zone at some point if we want to make the reductions we have to as a country.”
The government’s solution laid out in their Air quality plan is as follows:
Unlike greenhouse gases, the risk from NO2 is focused in particular places: it is the build-up of pollution in a particular area that increases the concentration in the air and the associated risks. So intervention needs to be targeted to problem areas, fewer than 100 major roads which national modelling suggests will continue to have air pollution problems in 2021, mostly in cities and towns.
The effort to reduce NO2 also needs to be targeted on the sources that make the biggest contribution to the problem: road vehicles contribute about 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside and growth in the number of diesel cars has exacerbated this problem.
Given the local nature of the problem, local action is needed to achieve improvements in air quality. As the UK improves air quality nationally, air quality hotspots are going to become even more localised and the importance of action at a local level will increase. Local knowledge is vital to finding solutions for air quality problems that are suited to local areas and the communities and businesses affected. A leading role for local authorities is therefore essential.