Edinburgh's low-emission zone: Why didn't Scottish Greens back Corstorphine's bid for inclusion? – Susan Dalgety

I can well understand the frustration of Corstorphine residents about the traffic that pollutes their leafy suburb.

Monday, 31st January 2022, 12:30 pm
St John's Road, Corstorphine is regularly named as one of Scotland's worst-polluted streets (Picture: Steven Scott Taylor)
St John's Road, Corstorphine is regularly named as one of Scotland's worst-polluted streets (Picture: Steven Scott Taylor)

St John’s Road is one of the top three streets in Scotland for emissions, which is surely a health risk for the folk who live close by.

All the evidence shows that air pollution increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, and makes chronically ill people even sicker. And it contributes to climate change.

That’s why Corstorphine Community Council wanted the City Council to include St John’s Road in the new low-emission zone (LEZ) which was agreed at the transport committee last Thursday.

But despite intense lobbying from Corstorphine residents, last week the SNP/Labour administration pushed through a report which keeps the boundary of the LEZ to a 1.2-square-mile area in the city centre.

What was even more surprising was that the Scottish Greens voted with the ruling coalition, instead of promoting the very sensible suggestion from Corstorphine Community Council that their area be part of the new scheme.

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It seems politics comes before the planet for the Scottish Greens, at least in Edinburgh.

I have a confession make. The only vehicle my husband and I own is a vintage Hymer motorhome with a Fiat diesel engine that will not be allowed anywhere near the city centre once the LEZ comes into force. And that’s how it should be.

In our defence, we try to keep our emissions as low as possible. Our motorhome is only used on our travels, no more than three months in any one year. The rest of the time it is in storage. We use public transport, and if we absolutely need a car, we hire an electric one from our local car club for a few hours at a time.

Climate change is real. Our planet is heating up with devastating effect across the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, communities are already feeling the impact of severe weather, with crops failing and water sources drying up.

It’s not hyperbole, or scaremongering, to say that what happens in St John’s Road, Edinburgh has an impact on southern Malawi. But it is surprising the Scottish Greens don’t seem to recognise this basic fact of modern life.

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