Monday, 12 October 2015

Air quality improving - mostly

 A constituent asked me last week if there was any information about air quality in specific streets - he was particularly interested in Kilgraston Rd where there appears to be increasing congestion - perhaps following the introduction of the 20mph zone.

I have tracked down a 2015 report, here - it is 144 pages long, which contains a lot of useful information on air quality in Edinburgh.

There are 10 automatic monitoring sites measuring a range of pollutants and 150 passive diffusion tubes across the city which measure nitrogen dioxide.  The main nasties being measured in the city are PM10, NO2, PM2.5 and sulpher dioxide - though there are others (none of which should be confused with carbon dioxide which is not a pollutant and is not measured in this report).

The trend lines for concentrations over the years are generally downwards - though there remain five air quality management areas (AQMAs) with the Central AQMA about to be extended down the Nicolson Street corridor.

Buses are the main culprit - though the increasing efficiency of engines in all sorts of vehicles is probably the reason for the downward trend in particulates and nitrous oxides.

Alas there is no direct information for Kilgraston Road as it has not been identified as a likely monitoring area (few buses and HGVs and not subject to high tenements on either side.  There is one in Melville Drive and the key city measuring station for background levels of pollution is situated beside the medical Practice in Pleasance at West Richmond Street (opposite the Deaconess new student residences).

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