Pollution fears over housing plans for greenbelt between Milngavie and Bearsden

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An academic living in Bearsden has called on East Dunbartonshire Council to carry out extensive studies before proceeding with its Local Development Plan 2.

Professor Michael Hitchman believes it is “essential” that the council completes a full analysis of the potential impact of building houses in an area between Milngavie and Bearsden, which is currently designated as green belt.

He is asking questions around the number of residences, which could be permitted, and the additional demand new families would place on education and healthcare services. He is  also concerned about the potential impact losing the current greenspace could have in terms of pollution.

He said: “Green space helps to regulate air quality and climate, reduces energy consumption by countering the warming effects of paved surfaces, recharges groundwater supplies, and protects lakes and streams from polluted runoff. A dense cover of plants and mulch also holds soil in place, reduces soil erosion, keeps sediment out of lakes, streams, storm drains and roads, reduces flooding.

“In addition, air quality is improved. Trees, shrubs and turf remove smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air. One tree can remove 12 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, equivalent to 11,000 miles of car emissions.

“A study has shown that one acre of trees has the ability to remove 13 tons of particles and gases annually. And 2,500 square feet of turf absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe.

“There is no doubt that the area of protected greenbelt between Milngavie and Bearsden is providing an ‘oasis’ to help improve the quality of the environment and of life for the surrounding residential areas.”

Dr Migeun Park has also written a paper on the subject of air pollution in East Dunbartonshire, which refers in particular to a 2017 action plan regarding air quality in Bearsden. A draft of this plan