TWO studies, ONE Fib
The NHS Review already a year old, of the issue of deaths from air pollution (they are not focussing on the illnesses -- for a reference to a more recent study on illnesses caused, and in particular Childhood asthma from this year see here), perhaps the biggest 'lie' that the Council are happy to see broadcast about the tram project is the one that says the rising pollution in the city is 'the traffic's fault'....... AND that '...at least, the tram will do something to reduce it."
Alongside the attempt to say it's 'all down to road traffic', is the one that runs: "And at least the Tram is an attempt to do something about it."
It is obviously the case that the pollution is coming from road vehicles (cars, buses, vans, lorries, taxis etc) however the facts are, and these are taken from the Council's own reports, that the traffic pollution in Edinburgh was always expected to be worse BECAUSE of the building the tram.
The original report (STAG 2003) showed if the tram WAS NOT built then 139,500 households would have better air quality than would be the case if it was to BE built.
The tram was never expected to lower air pollution in the city, but increase it.
That's the fact that the Council have never mentioned in their own press releases and, even worse, reports to councillors, ever since.
Indeed in this January's main transport report given to the Transport and Environment committee of the council the statistics show pollution is up 14% while traffic levels (miles travelled in the city) are down 5%.
The fact is that the tram project was so flawed in it's demand for exclusive (or virtually exclusive) use of road space that was MAIN arterial roadway that it creates far more pollution through forcing traffic into residential roads across the city---The Council have just announced an air quality management area for Invverlieth Row and area, not exactly a nieghbourhood bordering on a tram line.
It creates more pollution and then fly tips this pollution nearer to where the very oldest and very youngest spend the most time.... outside their homes.
Relying on the word 'Tram' to in itself guarantee a green scheme is partly what has led to this disaster, the hard of thinking inside the elected chamber have preferred to assume that 'If it is a tram how can it create pollution'
If the idea was to make pollution (and this also entails noise, danger, general degradation to the lived environment as well) so bad that the city would rise up and demand more and more draconian traffic controls then there may be macheviallian logic to it.
But that isn't the case, if it were it probably wouldn't survive the first deputation from the large city centre stores and businesses, who while happy to support the idea of a tram, realise that any large fall in traffic flows towards the centre are liable to exacerbate already tough trading conditions. Many small businesses already know this but the council doesn't really waste too much time paying too much attention to them.
Edinburgh has managed through a combination of hubris, inertia, complacency and administrative paralysis to get itself between a very large rock and an extremely hard place.
The hard place is that they have actively pursued a scheme that is creating pollution and the associated catastrophic effects; having failed in any case in failing they have burned up an enormous amount of the cash that might otherwise have been around to try and do something about it.
The rock is that the trend of current research shows the effects of pollution to be seen to be worse with each passing year.
Even our council won't be able to ignore the scientific evidence for much longer.