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release 66 - When the Figures just don't add up




  • Properly corrected figures show the first ‘post-tram’ traffic diversions have sent pollution towards or even above EU limits



  1. Is Edinburgh the only council in the UK or even Europe actively trying to increase pollution levels??


The Council were releasing monthly figures all through 2010 until a DEFRA ruling demolished the basis of these.


Since then (December last year) no figures have been released despite the increasingly high profile at last being given to traffic created air pollution levels and the possible of EU fines running into the tens of millions.


The picture below shows the issue, the table accompanying illustrate the problem.


The little monitor strapped to the pole (magnified in the circle) measures the real particles diffusing through the air---Edinburgh Council’s figures were worked out as if the traffic drives close to the kerb … position a).


DEFRA, after approaches from Edinburgh residents, changed their advice to environmental scientists to specifically mention that, where on street parking exists, the distance from pollution source (exhaust) to the diffusion tube must be increased to take account of the parked vehicles—which obviously ‘move’ the pollution source further away…position b).


However in the real world situation in Great Stuart Street shown above, and below, the traffic actually takes a single file line even further away, in effect another whole vehicle width, in order that they can take the mini roundabout next to the diffusion tube… Position c)

Only a very few residents turn left into Ainslie place, 99.9% of the traffic turns right, and down the whole street stays to the right in the centre of the road.


The tube measures the same level of pollutant the only difference is how close or far away the real source of the pollution is---this distance is however critical in applying the correction factor.


Just how critical is shown by the single example below using the last figures we can use, for December last year. Position a) is the one the council published.


Applying position a) traffic close to kerb      36.6 ug/m3 (below EU fines level 40ug/m3)


Applying position b) parked cars                 40ug/M3 (right on the EU level


Applying position c) real position of cars      43.2ug/M3 (ABOVE EU fines level)



The Council have alleged that Dr Ashley Lloyd is selective with facts for revealing the council were applying the Correction factor wrongly.


They have never put in writing any scientific reason for saying this—Dr Lloyd has published these figures over and over again, with full explanations.  The one above is a précis.


The question really isn’t one of great scientific complexity or arcane matters of physics and chemistry involved in the collection of the data.


It is simply one of commonsense about where exactly the vast majority of exhaust pipes really are on that particular road day in and day out, and the plain factual truth is they are not next to the kerb, or even next to the parked cars but further out to the centre line of the carriageway.


Once that fact is accepted the rest is simple mathematics.

In addition to the abovethe residents do maintain that the concentration of particulate and NOx is likely to be higher, in a real sense, in the basement areas than at street pavement level on many occasions, which would AGAIN increase the recorded levels even further above the EU limits.


Edinburgh Council have created situations in which they say these claims, have been shown to be false.  This is not the case, they are legitimate claims based on the available evidence and it is the City of Edinburgh Council who are trying to avoid facing these facts..


In a recent meeting a document released by the Council  specifically stated there would be no written report in support of proceedings---- As Sam Goldwyn said “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it was written on ...”  and in the same spirit a public report that isn’t written down is neither truly ‘public’ nor a ‘report’.