EDINBURGH: Transport Emissions increased two years in a row as councillors set to discuss LEZ

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Harmful emissions caused by transport in Edinburgh  increased two years in succession, newly-released figures have revealed.

The information by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was released in the council’s sustainable energy annual progress report.

The report revealed from 2014 to 2015, the city’s emissions caused by transport increased by 1.5 per cent. Emissions in the Scottish capital also went up from 2013 to 2014.

The report highlighted Edinburgh’s carbon emissions dropped by 4.5 per cent overall from 2014 to 2015. The overall reduction since 2005

means Edinburgh has now hit a 30 per cent reduction, which is slightly above the Scottish and UK averages of 27 per cent over the same period.

Councillors will debate the potential roll-out of a low emission zone (LEZ) at Thursday’s meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “The downward trend for carbon emissions is encouraging, with the range of projects under the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) clearly having an impact.

“As we work towards the target of a 42 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, our focus will be on the continued and successful delivery of carbon-reducing initiatives to close this gap.

“This will be complemented by ongoing work elsewhere in the Council to improve air quality, including plans to introduce a low emission zone.”

Nick Cook, Conservative spokesman for transport, said: “With emissions levels on an upward trend, there is clearly a real need to work to improve air quality in the city.

“Some will claim an LEZ alone is the answer to the problem. However, we simply don’t know this until the Scottish Government and the council provide firm details of how the scheme would work.”

“Under all circumstances, a low emissions zone would only be part of any solution. The council’s focus on an LEZ shouldn’t come at the expense of other environmental priorities like the need for Edinburgh to move further and faster on delivery of country-leading Electric Vehicle infrastructure.”

David Bol , Local Democracy Reporting Service