Traffic levels down but pollution up
Last year, in January the City of Edinburgh Council's transport and executive committee sat down to the transport review in which the usual boxes were ticked, and (self) congratulatory pats on (own) backs flagged up by the helpful people in the Transport department at Waverley Court.
A closer look shows that the flagged-up reduction in traffic was accompanied a very much NOT flagged-up RISE in pollution--- scroll through the appendix , look hard, and you will find the NO2 levels.
- FEWER vehicles (5% down) and MORE pollution from traffic (14%up).
This is a classic example of reports being carefully fashioned to tell a fragment of the 'truth'...but NOT 'the whole truth' and in doing so, NOT 'anything but the truth'.
So where is this year's annual traffic report? - It didn't come out in January, and it still hasn't come out in March.
Perhaps the Council don't wish to have their Tram party inauguration celebrations ruined by any dirty little pollution secrets and the inconvenient truths behind their PR hype?
- Recently the Council have estabished a new AQMA...(a zone where there is worry about Traffic pollution increasing and where it will be heavily monitored)..at Inverleith Row and Ferry Road, a long way from the tram line. (Just as we have said for years the problems are not ONLY in the streets near the line..they can arise almost anywhere in Edinburgh.)
- The Council have NOT established an AQMA in Great Stuart Street and Randolph Crescent, where traffic has increased massively over the last few years.
- Other people are taking this pollution menace really seriously, we all know of Beijing and now Paris is introducing drastic measures.. (Of course the hope is these are temporary but they realise there is a problem).
- In many instances the pollutants are a silent and unseen threat. Of course the situation in Paris is a special one right now, but it illustrates a problem that exists in all urban areas...even Edinburgh. But in all urban areas the Council is NOT making things worse, but that is exactly what is happening in Edinburgh.
- Pollution levels rise exponentially with very small incremental rises in traffic levels. Roadways near capacity bung up with the arrival of last few vehicles, when congested and standing traffic starts to send pollution levels soaring, the problems increase when drivers begind to start rat running across wider and wider areas. This is why we ARE seeing higher pollution from fewer vehicles in the city.
- To have higher pollution happening now from FEWER vehicles means we can only expect lot, lot, lot higher levels of air pollution (and of course congestion, annoyance, danger, and noise) from relatively few additional vehicles when the economy really picks up.
- IN PARIS (as above IT IS A PROBLEM: THEY ADMIT IT.
- IN LONDON IT IS A PROBLEM: THEY ADMIT IT.
- THE DIFFERENCE WITH EDINBURGH IS THOSE TWO CITIES CAN ADMIT IT.
OUR COUNCIL CANNOT ADMIT IT, BECAUSE IN EDINBURGH OUR COUNCIL CONTINUE TO PURSUE POLICIES THAT ARE NOT ONLY BASED ON TREATING INCREASED POLLUTION ITSELF AS AN ACCEPTABLE PRICE TO PAY IN ORDER TO MAKE DEVELOPMENTS APPEAR LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THEY WOULD OTHERWISE BE, BUT POLICIES THAT ACTIVELY SERVE TO INCREASE POLLUTION.
BUT EVEN MORE CRUCIALLY THESE POLICIES ARE BASED UPON, AND SUCCEED IN, TRANSFERRING THIS INCREASED POLLUTION TO THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACES---FROM NON-RESIDENTIAL RETAIL STREETS TO VERY DENSELY POPULATED RESIDENTIAL STREETS.