Two Falkirk roads once again make the top ten dirtiest streets in Scotland

Despite last year’s COVID-19 lockdown lower levels of traffic a couple of streets in Falkirk were still among the most polluted in Scotland.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 10:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 10:52 am

West Bridge Street was the seventh dirtiest street in Scotland for Nitrogen Dioxide levels in 2020 – the second year in a row it has been in the top ten worst polluted streets.

Meanwhile, Bainsford Main Street was the second dirtiest street for fine particle pollution in 2020, rising from eighth on the list in 2019.

Hope Street, in Glasgow was the only road which recorded a higher level of fine particle pollution in Scotland last year.

A couple of Falkirk streets are among the dirtiest in Scotland in terms of pollution levels

Norman Philip, Friends of the Earth Falkirk co-ordinator, said: “Falkirk commuters will be aware of the bottlenecks in roads leading into Falkirk Town Centre, which slows down traffic to a snail’s pace at peak hours.

“These bottlenecks create some of the most polluted streets in Scotland. Falkirk Council needs to address congestion and traffic flow in Falkirk to reduce the public health impacts of traffic pollution.”

Earlier in the week Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland stated 2020 was the first year Scotland did not record illegally high levels of air pollution and added this was in part due to the huge changes to public life – and the subsequent decrease in car journeys – following the year’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Government instructions to stay at home, as well as closure of schools and offices resulted in significantly less traffic on the roads and data recorded over that period showed a noticeable drop in pollution.

Over last year’s lockdown period West Bridge Street – normally one of the area’s busiest roads – gave a reading of 25.96 microgrammes of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) per cubic metre when the European Ambient Air Quality Directive limit is 40 microgrammes.

It was a similar story for Bainsford Main Street, which gave a particulate matter reading of just 12.20 microgrammes per cubic metre when the Scottish annual statutory standard is 18 microgrammes.

FoE believes this shows the clear link between car journeys and pollution levels, and that Scottish Government needs to work with councils to ensure these reductions can be maintained sustainably.

Gavin Thomson, FoE air pollution campaigner, said: “It’s a huge pity it took a deadly pandemic to bring our air quality within legal limits.”