Clean air group warns Roman Road fumes are killing us

Exhaust fumes from vehicles roaring along Kirkintilloch Road and Roman Road are a major public health hazard, according to a damning new report.

Two of the area’s busiest stretches of road are flagged up in a polluted streets roster of shame by environment group Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoE), which is demanding urgent action.

The worst stretch of the A803 Kirkintilloch Road at Bishopbriggs is said to be between the East Dunbartonshire council border with Glasgow, and a point just north of Cadder roundabout.

In each case the danger zone is a 60-metre wide corridor along the length of the road and to either side.

A spokesman for FoE said cyclists have already been in touch to query the safety of local cycle paths near Roman Road where people are forced to breath exhaust fumes from the main road.

A designated Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) covering a key stretch of Roman Roadis described as a 60 metre wide corridor along the A809 to the junction with Antonine Road ,and to the south beyond Canniesburn Toll, taking in several road junctions.

The eastern boundary is to the east side of Roman Road car park, with a small section of Stockiemuir Road also included.

The local air quality health hazards are flagged up in a new report from FoE, which says around 2,500 Scots are dying every year from the effects of pollution.

Exhaust fumes have been linked with cancer, allergies, asthma, strokes, heart attacks, restricted foetal development, damaged lung development in children and the onset of dementia in adults.

FoE says air pollution is second only to smoking as a silent killer.

FoE Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “Air pollution from traffic is a public health crisis, claiming thousands of lives each year and particularly harmful for small children, pregnant women and people living in poverty.

“For people living in an official Pollution Zone or near traffic-choked streets, breathing in toxic air is an inescapable fact of life. I

“It should not be this way, we have the right to breathe clean air just as we have the right to drink clean water.”

She says neither the Scottish Government nor councils are taking the issue with the urgency needed, adding that five new pollution zones have been added to the roster of shame since last year.

“The Scottish Government has promised a ‘plan’ for Low Emission Zones by 2018,” she added, “but needs to make a public commitment that it will provide significant funding, so that local councils can get on with making serious plans to clean up the air in their area.”

FoE Scotland also wants the Scottish Government to bring in measures to cut traffic in built-up areas by providing more safe walking and cycling paths, supporting public transport to cut congestion, and either taxing or banning polluting traffic from the worst areas.

Ms Hanna added: “Our addiction to cars is killing us, but it’s those who tend not to drive who are worst impacted by pollution – children, the elderly, and those living in poverty”.