A charity has called on Aberdeen City Council to urgently push forward with plans for a low emissions zone.
In a new report released today, the British Lung Foundation identified the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village on the city’s Frederick Street as one of three healthcare sites in Scotland that exceeds air pollution limits.
Analysis by the charity and the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants mapped fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels at health centres across the UK.
It found air pollution levels at the site exceeded the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 10 micograms per cubic metre (m3) at 10.28m3.
However, the UK legal requirement is set at 25m3.
Joseph Carter, head of the British Lung Foundation, said the level of air pollution at the Aberdeen site was “extremely worrying”.
He added: “These findings should serve as a wake-up call to Aberdeen City Council, who must now act to tackle the growing public health crisis caused by air pollution.
“They must bring forward proposals for a low emissions zone urgently to ensure that everyone in Aberdeen can feel the benefits of breathing clean air.”
The particles are small enough to pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream and are linked to multiple health conditions including asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.
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The report said a further nine sites in the city – eight GP practices and one hospital (City Hospital) – exceed an average of 8m3 of PM2.5, just below the limit, and are still a risk to people with a lung condition.
It identifies nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter related to road traffic emissions as the main pollutants of concern in the city.
Low emissions zones are being introduced across Scotland through the Transport (Scotland) bill, which is being considered by the Scottish Parliament.
The bill intends to give powers to local authorities to introduce the zones, with Scotland’s four largest cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – committed to introducing plans for low emissions zones by 2020.
Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener Councillor John Wheeler said: “We are working with Scottish Government on understanding the need for low emmisions zones in Aberdeen, and it is only one of a range of traffic management tools that we are investigating to improve air quality.
“As our City Centre Masterplan is rolled out, with more spaces created for people and moving vehicles out of the city centre, this will also have a positive effect on the environment.
“Aberdeen City Council takes the health of its communities and visitors seriously and will continue to work towards a healthier environment for all.”