Putting the brakes on pollution

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More than 800 motorists had their vehicles randomly tested at the roadside last year in East Dunbartonshire as part of a crackdown on pollution.

East Dunbartonshire Council is one of 13 local authorities in Scotland who carry out the roadside tests.

The remaining 19 of 32 councils in total have failed to adopt the measure - despite the new powers being given to them more than a decade ago by the Scottish Government.

Last year in East Dunbartonshire, nine motorists were issued with £20 fixed penalty notices for failing the tests.

The fine is waived if 
drivers have the emissions defect fixed before completing an MOT inspection within two weeks.

The tests are carried out on diesel vehicles by asking 
drivers to rev their engines, while in petrol vehicles 
sample probes are inserted into exhaust tailpipes.

Ann Davie, Director of Customer Service and Transformation, said: “East Dunbartonshire Council has adopted these powers and carries out roadside vehicle emissions testing.

“Our Environmental Health Officers work with neighbouring local authorities and Police Scotland, to stop and test vehicles in a safe manner.

“In 2014-2015, a total of 809 vehicles were stopped for this testing, with nine vehicle owners being issued fixed penalty notices.

“This means they need to take their vehicle to a garage for further testing and repair.”

An investigation by BBC Scotland discovered only 13 of the country’s 32 local authorities carry out roadside emissions testing.

The figures emerged following Freedom of Information requests for BBC Scotland’s documentary ‘Car Sick’, which aired on Wednesday, January 14, examining the issue of air pollution.

Glasgow tests about 3,000 vehicles a year but other large councils such as Dundee and Aberdeen do not test at all. Edinburgh, which has some of Scotland’s most polluted streets, has never tested.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “Emissions and clean air is more of a topic now and I hope local authorities reflect on that. There are a range of powers that can be deployed to make an impact locally, and I’d encourage leaders to take this very seriously.”