Musselburgh High Street needs ‘urgent’ action on pollution

Stop-start traffic heads along Musselburgh High Street. Picture: Toby Williams
Stop-start traffic heads along Musselburgh High Street. Picture: Toby Williams
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A GREEN campaigner has demanded crackdown on polluting vehicles amid claims council chiefs are failing to tackle the problem.

Jason Rose has blasted East Lothian Council after recent TV documentary Car Sick revealed local authorities were failing to carry out roadside emissions testing.

The calls come after a report published less than a fortnight ago revealed Edinburgh’s St John’s Road to be the most polluted street in Scotland.

The activist is asking council officials to take “urgent” steps to slash pollution levels on Musselburgh High Street – the county’s only Air Quality Management Area.

He wants the worst offenders banned from the town centre and has insisted that the council should be fining owners whose vehicles fail the test.

Mr Rose said: “This BBC investigation adds to the shocking list of evidence that East Lothian Council simply does not care about the harm to public health from traffic congestion in our biggest town.

“The link between traffic emissions and heart attacks is clear yet three years after I exposed the extent of Musselburgh’s problem we have no plan of action from our councillors.

“To now learn that the council has had the power to test and fine the most polluting vehicles but has chosen not to do so will anger many people in Musselburgh. Our town centre should be safe and clean for everyone so we can enjoy living, shopping, working and going to school here.”

Mr Rose has arranged to meet with council officials next month amid claims the council’s leader and its environment spokesman have ignored his requests for information.

“I have been fobbed off by the council administration so I’m going straight to the guys who actually understand the situation,” he said.

“They have the powers to make recommendations.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “East Lothian, Falkirk, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils have worked in partnership, with Scottish Government funding, since 2004 to provide a voluntary Vehicle Emission Testing Programme which aims to raise awareness of vehicle emissions and air quality.

“Last year, there were 36 full days of free emissions testing within East Lothian. As opposed to serving Fixed Penalty Notices, the partnership will send, where appropriate, advisory letters based on reports from members of the public who identify vehicles which are excessively smoky and also stationary vehicles which idle for long periods. One report was made regarding a smoky vehicle in 2015.

“Whilst there is a clear need to address air quality issues within Musselburgh High Street, the results are marginally in excess of the objective level above which an Air Quality Management Area is required and are not increasing.”