Air pollution threat in Glasgow’s West End

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Partick Cross in Glasgow’s West End is among the most polluted streets in the country – and Hope Street in the city centre is the worst.

Those are among some of the key findings in a damning new report on air pollution from Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland, which is demanding urgent action.

The report highlights areas around Scotland said to have unsafe and illegal levels of toxic pollution seven years after a legal deadline, and despite a government plan to comply with clean air obligations.

Glasgow’s Hope Street topped the list of most polluted streets for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) with a reading of 65 microgrammes per cubic metre, smashing the European legal limit of 40, which was due to be met in 2010. Glasgow’s

Dumbarton Road/Byres Road (Partick Cross) also had illegal levels of NO2, with a reading of 42, making it one of three official pollution zones in Glasgow where air quality safety standards are regularly broken - the others are Hope Street and Parkhead Cross.

Glaswegian Jean Nelson, 59, from Glasgow, who has suffered from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) for 17 years - and who relies on a nebuliser - said: “Cars are choking the city. A lot of people are dying unnecessarily due to air pollution.

“Europe has told Scotland to clean up this problem, but nothing has been done.

“Air pollution makes it hard for me to breathe and on bad days, I can barely walk. I do not own a car and often have to take the bus from Hope Street.”

She added: “I can see black smoke coming out of the buses and sometimes am forced to take a

taxi just to escape the fumes.

“We need less traffic on our roads if air pollution is going to improve. There are thousands more cars on the roads every year and the problem is only getting worse.

“I don’t think the City Council is listening. It should consider banning traffic from the city centre, and should crack down on vehicle idling in the city.”