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Dundee councillor says lorries may have to be banned from roads to stop pollution crisis

West End councillor Fraser Macpherson
West End councillor Fraser Macpherson

A Dundee councillor said lorries may have to be banned from some roads in the city to reduce pollution.

West End Liberal Democrat councillor Fraser Macpherson said Dundee City Coucil will need to consider “drastic” solutions to improve air quality in some of the most polluted areas of the city, including Lochee Road and the Seagate.

He said they could include stopping heavy goods vehicles from using these roads and demanding subsidised bus companies use their most environmentally-friendly vehicles on routes which include the most polluted roads.

An air quality update presented to Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee outlined improvements in the annual average concentration of NO2 in Lochee Road, Meadowside and Whitehall Street.

But Mr Macpherson said the council had been unduly “triumphalist” as there was “still some way to go” to improve air quality.

He said: “We are not even where we were in 2006. The reality is we do have a long way to go.”

Mr Macpherson said when bus companies introduce new, greener, hybrid buses they are put on their most profitable routes rather than those with the highest emissions.

He said: “There is a real need to engage with the bus companies on where they place low emission vehicles.”

Although he said promoting bicycle use and electric vehicles will help, Mr Macpherson thinks “drastic” measures are now needed.

“This may be banning HGVs from certain roads if necessary but we never go near this stuff. We will have to make hard decisons.”

Committee convener Alan Ross denied the council had been triumphalist in promoting the improvement in air quality over the past three years.

He said: “It seems to me that every time the council seems to highlight doing anything positive it’s the wrong thing to do.”

Dundee City Council head of transportation Neil Gellatly admitted buses with Euro 5 engines introduced in the city around five years ago had “not led to the reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) expected, across Europe” but said newer models will produce fewer emissions.

Labour Lochee councillor Michael Marra won unanimous support from the council after tabling a motion calling on the council to explore the “process and implications” of becoming Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone.

He said: “It’s not a question of ambition, it’s one of necessity.

“Dundee will have to become a low emission zone at some point if we want to make the reductions we have to as a country.”

Mr Ross said: “I am happy to approve this motion. It is a massive ambition but Dundee is an ambitious city.”

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