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FIDDLING THE FIGURES…..  How to make pollution disappear and keep the tram project on track, without having to lift a finger.


Residents were extremely disappointed that a meeting designed to  ‘get at the truth’, turned out to be so over controlled, heavily choreographed and carefully ‘managed’ it failed to cover many of the issues.


Previous meetings have been curtailed, debate shortened and as a result councillors called for an ordinary meeting simply to get at that facts with help from invited experts…..This didn’t happen.


Below are two pictures that show  just ONE of many questions that were not answered, on the day


  1. This picture shows the real situation in Great Stuart Street—the pollution monitor has been fixed 2 metres up the roadside pole, the trafficflows down the street near the middle of the road. Anyone who knows the are or stands there can see this---it is what is known as reality.



  1. This is the picture  has three possible distances overlaid that copuld be used to measure where the real traffic is, from the measuring diffusion tube on the pole to the left of the pavement.


2.1) The little 0.37metre distance on the scale is from the pole to the kerb,this is the pole-to-kerb distance used by the City of Edinburgh Environmental Health department to add into the ‘Correction factor’ used to get the pollution level. Their figure showed 34.5 of the measurement units. These units are expressed as parts per million of a cubic centimetre (ug/M3)


2.2) But as the picture shows, the plain fact that parked cars occupy the kerbside, as in many of Edinburgh’s streets, means that the ‘line of traffic’ is always never less than  another 2.06 metres further out ---Parked cars force the traffic further away.


2.3) In fact it is even worse. Because as the picture shows the layout of the street means traffic moves in a single line down the centre because they are all going to bear right around the small painted roundabout in order to head into, and immediately out of, Ainslie Place and along St Colme Street onto Queens Street.  This is yet another 1.8 metres further out, even than the 2.06 metres mentioned above.


This is the reality.


It is the plain, obvious, undeniable truth but nevertheless the council, desperate to not have to admit both the mistake, and then the subsequent covering up of this mistake, continue to deny it.


Thisis the reason that for many months Dr Lloyd argued with the council to change the way they were calculating pollution levels; it is why he said the Council’s were too low.

It is important to understand that this is not ‘leading edge science’ as some councillors have said, that is not even fully agreed by the scientists, it is just an obvious mistake and an obvious cover up.


3) Professor Laxen recalculated the figures using the 2.06 metres extra, to take account of the parked cars, and said that although the figure has moved up from 34.5 ug/M3 to 36.5 ug/M3, this was still below the EU statutory limit of 40 ug/M3.


But it is closer to that limit.


3.1) If the distance were further increased by the 1.8 metres more that the plain facts of the street demand, then of course the figure would rise again. 


Very probably to a level of 38.5 UG/M3 or above.


That is a large rise from the council’s still ‘official figure’ of 34.5 ug/M3 and is getting very close to the EU limit that the Council are desperate to stay below.


Since these figures in 2010 the amount of traffic going through the street has risen enormously especially from late 2011.


The likelihood is that if the full 4.23 metres were used in the calculation, instead of the 0.37 metres being used, with the traffic flow increases, that the Council’s mistaken 34.5 ug/m3 from 2010 would now be above the EU statutory limit at which the UK or Scottish Government would be liable to fines running into tens and possibly hundreds of millions of pounds.



The Council have not recalculated their figures in the light of the above, and indeed justify themselves saying they made no mistake ‘because they followed the guidance at the time’.


When is a mistake not a mistake? when Edinburgh Council don’t want to admit to one.


They now say that because the traffic parking on the street is ‘coming and going’ they don’t need to take account of it ---as if the vehicles driving along will ‘swerve’ into and out of empty parking spots thus being near to the kerb and justifying their position.


This is just absurd nonsense and to use it in order to not measure pollution properly is sinister and compounds the issue instead of facing up to it.




  • The above example isn’t the only one—many similar questions of simple fact remain unanswered.  It is strange, bordering on grotesque, behaviour by the council to blame residents for asking questions that alarm people, and accuse residents of ‘misusing data’ while such simple and straightforward points as above remain covered up