Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Why is Dundee an air pollution hotspot?

Harr resting on the Tay.
Harr resting on the Tay.

Dundee has long standing problems with air pollution.

Lochee Road and Seagate historically rank among the five worst polluted streets in Scotland.

And although fewer vehicles in the city during the pandemic has brought cleaner air to former blackspots, concerns remain.

And it’s not just polluting vehicles. The city’s unique geography plays a significant role.

I spoke to Dundee University expert Alistair Geddes to find out more about why Dundee suffers from dirty air.

It turns out the shape of the city may play a key part in trapping toxins.

While the city’s unique topography gives it a picturesque quality, its hillside may be part of the problem.

It creates less wind.

How does the shape of a city affect air pollution?

Alistair said: “In Dundee we have the ridge formed by the Law and Balgay Hill, which forms a break.

“One side of the city does slope down towards the Tay, so there’s a degree of bowl shape there.”

Dundee Law picture Ⓒ Dundee City Council
The Law might provide stunning views of Dundee and north Fife, but it might also play a part in trapping emissions.

These factors, combined with there being more higher buildings in the city centre, means pollutants do not move away as freely as they would in flatter, more open areas.

He added: “You’ve got to remember, the hub of the city is the centre.

“If you think about the need to service shops, lorries coming in for that, people getting in for shopping or work, and buses coming in.

“There’s a number of things that get concentrated in a city centre.

“Of course, Dundee is not alone in that. It’s part of how cities function.”

What can we do?

Alistair said the recent low emission zone will help clear Dundee’s air.

Dundee is also at the forefront of electric vehicle technology, with a high number of EV buses, bin lorries, taxis and council vehicles.

But what else can be done, short of barring polluting vehicles entirely?

If he had access to a time machine, Alistair would consider moving the Tay Road Bridge.

Its current location creates a “need” for traffic to converge near the city centre.

“If we were starting now, would we have the Tay Bridge where it is?

“Or would it be further upstream, towards Riverside near the rail bridge?

“That way, you keep the city centre free.

“I know of the people who have visited the Waterfront. They are interested in active travel but have been very critical.

“It’s still designed around two massive roads, with a garden sandwiched in between.”

Clean Air Day is on Thursday, June 16. It is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign.

As minds turn to cleaner air in the city, what else can we do?

Alistair thinks bottleneck traffic, such as often seen on Lochee Road, should be addressed.

He added: “You can look at what can be done on the management side.

“We’ve got these pollutants, how can we make them dissipate quicker?

“A shift towards electric, less use of individual vehicles, more use of public transport, cleaning up the public transport fleet.

“Those are the things that are going to make a big difference.”

Air quality in Scotland: Track levels of air pollution in your community

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password?

[[title]]