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Transport and Environment committee January 2013

on Sat, 01/19/2013 - 15:51


LATEST NEWS:   From the Council Transport and Environment committee meeting coming up in January

The meeting took place on the morning of Tuesday January 15th at the City Chambers on the High Street, starting at  10:00am at the Dean of Guild Court Room in City Chambers on the High Street. A live blogger was supplying the STV local service and this extract caught the eye



Cllr Mowat asks: why is traffic in the city igoing down, but air pollution is going up?

Tuesday January 15, 2013 10:45 


Officials reply that the picture is different for different pollutants. We're not going into the chemistry now. Fortunately.

Tuesday January 15, 2013 10:48 

To see the whole blog on the STV site follow here..

Perhaps Councillor Mowat tell us which of Transport Leader Lesley Hind's 'faceless officials' produced this reply? 

But in the meantime here are a couple of thoughts on the pollutants N02, and Particulate Matter 2.5-10 (the figures refer to the tiny size of these particulates, so small they enter the lungs when breathed in and pass straight through into the blood)  that one senior official shared with senior colleagues but has never put in a report to councillors,: 

·         " Using the National Bias factor will produce higher N02 levels than I consider represents the true level of N02 in the street, and may tip the values above the 40mg/m3 limit."

And here is another comment on the more serious PM (Particulate matter) pollutants.

·         PM10 particulates are monitored by real time analysers ......this has indicated that levels may be close to, or above, the air quality annual mean value.

These were handed over as part of a series of FOI requests and were from a number of emails exchanged between senior council executives ahead of the vital series of meetings during the crisis swirling around the project in June 2011.

"We're not going into the chemistry now", or ever, if the faceless officials continue to have their way.

Fortunately .... for whom?  Us, or them?

Since those emails in 2011 the 'level of air pollution is going up'.

As Councillor Mowat observed if , even when the traffic falls (because of recession and the awful deterrent effects of years of upheaval) the pollution rises, what do the experts think will happen  when the recession does end,and the traffic levels rise again.

The fact is that when the the facts don't fit the picture they want to see painted, they just leave them out of the reports, and the hapless councillors keep on letting them.

And this stuff matters, more air pollution from these pollutants means more deaths and illness.  In London recent statistics that 4,500 people each year die early because of it were recently challenged by some more that say ithe fatalities each year could be 5,000. The real picture isn't the one presented to councillors by officials in report after report.

In London and everywhere else Councils are desperately trying to lower pollution levels however ineffectively, in Edinburgh the actions of our Council contradict their rhetoric and leave us as the only City where policies promote higher pollution.  

Trams do not create this pollution--the bungled, hapless, hopeless project to deliver them creates the pollution, and as the hapless hopeless council chamber 'debates' show, only a Judge-led Leveson style inquiry can clear the confusion and establish the facts.

Not  to find out what went wrong from the very beginning, but far more importantly to try and make sure we don't sleepwalk into something that could make the previous catalogue of disastrous governance look like a storm in a teacup.

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