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Report on potential pollution caused by bridge closure still not ready

The Forth Road Bridge.
The Forth Road Bridge.

Almost a year on and Fifers are still waiting to hear if heavy traffic diverted away from the closed Forth Road Bridge has caused a pollution spike.

Last January Rosyth residents said they were “living a nightmare”, claiming nose to tail lorries diverted along the A985 as the bridge closed for emergency repairs were causing air and noise pollution and leading to cracks appearing in their homes.

At the time Transport Scotland said a report on traffic data and air quality was expected to be ready in March.

But now seven months on it’s been revealed it may be the end of the year before the findings are released.

The delay has been dubbed “completely unacceptable” by both local councillor Mike Shirkie, who first took up local concerns, and Fife’s environment and transportation spokesman John Wincott.

“For something that could affect public health it has taken far too long to get this report out,” Mr Shirkie said.

He was fearful of potential impact on pupils at two primaries where playgrounds lie next to the route.

“People could not keep their windows open and the noise permeated through their houses.

“I am not trying to anticipate the report, but if there are issues which could have a cost to health then I think to take a year and the report is still not published is simply not acceptable,” he added.

He was backed by Mr Wincott who said: “The local councillor is rightly angered by these delays.

“People have been very patient in waiting for Transport Scotland to come out with the findings of this review but to delay again is just not acceptable.

“The problem is anecdotally people feel there was a big spike in pollution due to the diverted traffic.

“If that is the case there maybe needs to be some health screening as a follow up to see if it has caused any problem.

“But until we know if there has been any pollution, it is very difficult for people to move on and see what they can do.

“To take this long to write a report feels really excessive and I would urge Transport Scotland to expedite this.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We want to reassure the communities involved that we are doing all we can and working with Fife Council and our other partners to complete the report as quickly as possible.

“This is the first time that this type of in-depth analysis has been carried out and work is continuing to analyse the huge amount data which has been acquired from  a number of sources so that the findings can be published before the end of the year.”

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