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New transport statistics from Transport Scotland show road blocks to clean air and healthy places. The new statistics show that the bus sector is in crisis, and the car continues to be king on our roads.
Key points from the report are (all stats are for 2015):
- kilometres driven in cars has increased by 3.2% over the last five years
- the number of bus journeys has dropped by 5% in the last 5 years, declining almost 2% over the last year.
- 66% of journeys to work were made by car, despite 30% of households not having access to a car.
- 1.4% of cars are pure electric vehicles, with a further 3.4% hybrid electric.
- both cycling and train travel showed strong increases over the last five years. 31% of journeys to work were made by active travel or public transport, the same as in 2004. Just 2.2% of journeys to work were made by bike.
- 12.3% journeys were delayed by congestion
It has been nearly 28 months since the initial proposal of application notice was received outlining the plans to install a gasification plant at the South Street site. Yesterday we received confirmation that the report and recommendations has been submitted to Scottish Ministers.
This means we can expect to hear from the Ministers hopefully before the end of March and certainly before the end of April.
We also thought it would be useful to reflect on the what has happened over the past 28 months…
Friends of the Earth Scotland has published a list of Scotland’s most polluted streets in 2016, showing that streets in many parts of Scotland continue to have unsafe and illegal levels of toxic pollution seven years after a legal deadline and despite a Government plan to comply with clean air obligations.
This includes Dumbarton Road and Hope Street here in Glasgow which are among the 9 most polluted streets for nitrogen dioxide emissions.
There are now a total of 38 Pollution Zones in Scotland where air quality safety standards are regularly broken, up from 33 last year. In 2016 new official Pollution Zones were declared in Linlithgow and Newton in West Lothian, Johnstone and Renfrew in Renfrewshire, with another new one in Edinburgh’s Salamander Street coming into force later this month.
Levels of air pollution in our cities is causing an unacceptable public health crisis. FoE Scotland are asking you to write to the party leaders of Scotland’s cities today asking them to make an election pledge to deal with air pollution by developing plans for a Low Emission Zone and investing in walking and cycling in their city.
Scotstoun Community Council recently received a letter from Bill Kidd, the MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, with a copy of a letter from Kevin Stewart the Minister for Housing and Local Government, who will be making the final decision, about the timescales (see letters below.)
WH Malcolm submitted an appeal to the Scottish Government in May and this was followed by a site visit by the appointed reporter in early July and they had indicated a decision would be made by the end of the summer.
However there has been no decision to date and in October the Scottish Minister’s called the decision in the letter below indicates that the report will be submitted to the Minister early in the New Year and they hope a decision will be reached by April 2017! We will keep you updated on progress.
ClientEarth has won its High Court case against the Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK.
In a damning indictment of ministers’ inaction on killer air pollution, Mr Justice Garnham agreed with ClientEarth that the Environment Secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible” and said that ministers knew that over optimistic pollution modelling was being used.
In his ruling, the judge, who listened to two days of argument at the High Court last month, questioned Defra’s five year modelling; saying it was “inconsistent” with taking measures to improve pollution ” as soon as possible.”
Defra’s planned 2020 compliance for some cities, and 2025 for London, had been chosen because that was the date when ministers thought they’d face European Commission fines, not which they considered “as soon as possible.”
The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) has recently published a briefing entitled “Gasification Failures in the UK: Bankrupticies and Abandonment”. This seven-page document draws upon published material to highlight how risky an investment these technologies have proved to be.
Gasification and pyrolysis, both forms of waste incineration euphemistically known as ‘Advanced Thermal Treatment’, constitute some of the riskiest and most unreliable technologies in the waste industry and are associated with scores of bankruptcies, failures and broken promises.
UKWIN’s latest briefing provides information about more than a dozen examples of gasification failures, including the high-profile situation where industrial gasses giant Air Products wrote off a billion dollars of squandered investment in their Tees Valley plasma-arc gasification plants because even after years of effort they could not get the technology to work.
We have recently been informed by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) that the WH Malcolm appeal will be determined by Scottish Ministers instead of the Reporter appointed by them.
The reason this Direction is given is because of the sensitivities of this particular type of development, the residential characteristics of the area and the significant level of public interest.
This means that the appointed reporter will produce a report and make recommendations in order for the final decision to be taken by Scottish Ministers.
Kevin Stewart is the Minister for Local Government & Housing with the portfolio responsibility for planning and it is he who will make the decision collectively on behalf of Scottish Ministers.