Head of asthma charity: Glasgow has ‘dirtiest air in Scotland’

Joseph Carter wants to reduce air pollution caused by cars and has called for traffic levels to be reduced.

Head of asthma charity: Glasgow has ‘dirtiest air in Scotland’ catinsyrup via IStock
Asthma: Calls to reduce air pollution in city.

The head of an asthma charity has said the number of cars at hospitals and GP surgeries should be restricted as Glasgow has the “dirtiest air in Scotland.”

Joseph Carter, head of the Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation for Scotland, pointed out how air pollution causes children to develop asthma and wants traffic levels reduced. 

Mr Carter has called on Glasgow City Council to take the “issue seriously.”

It comes as 72,000 children in Scotland suffer with asthma out of a total of 368,000 people with the condition in the country. 

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Mr Carter said: “We can see the link between air pollution and the condition.”

Speaking during COP26 at a media briefing in the city’s Broomielaw about the impact of air pollution on outdoor workers, Mr Carter said he is supportive of new low emission zones in the city. 

Glasgow City Council has also started banning cars from entering streets around certain schools to reduce congestion and pollution, which Mr Carter would like to see expanded to other buildings too.

He said: “We would like to see vehicles restricted around hospitals and GP surgeries and playgrounds.

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“We need to take air pollution away from the vulnerable if possible.”

He added: “We need people to use active travel and avoid the car.”

Chairman of British Safety Council Peter McGettrick said: “Glasgow is one of the most polluted cities in the UK.

“It is one of the only cities that has a motorway running through the heart of it.”

He called for the UK to adopt World Health Organisation exposure limits for the main pollutants of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone.

He is also campaigning for better pollution data availability and for Canairy, the British Safety Council free mobile app for outdoor work, to be used more widely. 

The British Safety Council says outdoor air pollution is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, reductions in cognition and can endanger unborn babies. 

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It is running a Time to Breathe campaign to raise awareness of the effect of poor air quality on outdoor workers including builders and refuse collectors. 

Mr McGettrick said: “We are campaigning for employers, policy makers and regulators to take the issue seriously.”

There are 36,000 early deaths in the UK every year from ambient air pollution.

Mr McGettrick added: “It has been ignored for far too long.”

Councillor Anna Richardson Ward, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “Our air quality is generally good. The vast majority of the city meet the legal limits.

In 2019, nitrogen dioxide levels on Hope Street in Glasgow were higher than The European Ambient Air Quality Directive limit.

Councillor Richardson said an upcoming Glasgow low emission zone banning older diesel and petrol vehicles will reduce those levels of pollutants. 

Councillor Richardson said: “The LEZ will bring that down. We are optimistic about that. “

The Langside politicians said the council  will continue to look at ways to improve the quality of air and the environment.