WHO cares! -- But does Edinburgh Council
The World Health Organisation has announced Diesel fumes are a cause of cancers.
Quite rightly we should be concerned and quite rightly we shouldn't panic.
The risk is thought to be small compared to, for example, the chances of getting cancer from smoking.
However the risk from traffic created pollution, of which diesel forms a large part, also has other effects apart from causing cancer. It causes heart attacks and strokes (by thickening blood) and also respiratory condistions and chronic illness through it's effects on the lungs.
Indeed the risk to health in the opinion of the Institute of Occupational Medicine from traffic created air pollution is larger than the efefts of passive smoking AND ROad Traffic Accidents COMBINED.
Now WHO have added another 'known risk' to these other already known risks--in London 4,500 people a year are thought to die prematurely through conditions attributable and caused by traffic created pollution.
We have seen great efforts made in the past to lessen and vastly reduce the health threats of the day whether smogs, through smokelkess fuels or the ban on lead in petrol, and the considerable efforts to combat passive smoking.
So it is a great shock to realise Edinburgh continue with policies that are raising traffic created pollution in residential streets across the city. The primary cause is the unacknowledged transfer of pollution from the former main arterial routes for traffic into residential streets by what is effectively a rolling programme of closures to most, if not all vehicles.
The main driver for this process has been the tram project and the tram's requirement for sole use of the roads upon which the tramway is intended to run. The system doesn't share road space it annexes it. But separate developments that take road capacity from lightly residential streets, like the present proposals for Charlotte Square, and leave traffic with no option but to use residential streets (there are no others left) also contribute.
Edinburgh Council are alone in promoting development without at the same time tackling the problem of displaced traffic--- at present not only is this issue totally ignored it is being wilfully ignored by a council unable to contemplate the effect acknowledging this problem will have on some of it's most cherished schemes.