As part of its drive to improve air quality throughout the region, the Council is supporting Clean Air Day by announcing that it has joined the East Central Scotland Vehicle Emissions Partnership to help raise awareness of the damage caused by idling engines in Stirling.
By joining the partnership, which includes a coalition East Lothian, Falkirk, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils, the local authority are seeking to play their part in reducing air pollution by:
- encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when parked up and waiting (idling).
- reducing the numbers of idling vehicles in Stirling.
- drawing attention to the health risks of continued idling.
The council has a long-term vision to promote and deliver sustainable transport, which not only helps reduce carbon emissions and air pollution but can also save money and improve health. Current plans include the City Region Deal project ‘Walk Cycle Live Stirling’ and the City Centre South initiative.
These projects build upon the earlier successes of the Braehead and Broomridge cycling and walking improvements, which delivered a £170,000 investment. Additionally the Council recently completed the Cowie streetscape project, a £224,000 investment which seeks to rebalance the village in favour of walking and cycling. Furthermore, proposals are underway to promote active travel in Balfron through improving the public realm and provide enhanced opportunities for walking and cycling.
There is an overall trend of improving levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) across the Stirling Council area, with latest monitoring results producing no recordings above air quality objective levels, and by joining the partnership Stirling Council are aiming to continue this improving trend.
To mark Clean Air Day, Council staff have made pledges to commit to doing one thing that will help reduce air pollution. This could be anything from leaving the car at home for one day a week and cycling to work instead, or walking to the supermarket instead of getting in the car.
Convenor of the Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson, said: “By joining the vehicle emissions partnership we want to make people think about the importance of clean air and the impact that air pollution has on our health.
“By switching off their car engines, road users can help ensure a healthier environment and reduce air pollution across Stirling. It is less polluting to turn an engine off and restart it after a minute, than it is to leave it running.”
Vice Convenor Danny Gibson said: “We have demonstrated a clear commitment to increasing active travel and sustainable transport through investment in a variety of projects that will benefit people throughout Stirling.
“We were the first Council in Scotland to sign a Sustainable Development Agreement with SEPA last year and there are also simple things we can all do to improve air quality, as air pollution is causing serious harm to millions of people each year. By remembering to stop idling unnecessarily on Stirling’s roads or driveways, drivers can play their part in helping improve the local environment.”
John Bynorth of Environmental Protection Scotland, which is coordinating Clean Air Day, said: “Our campaign aims to encourage people to leave their vehicles at home and cut down on vehicle engine idling. Around 65% of car journeys in Scotland are for trips of 3.1 miles or less. Stirling Council’s membership of the emissions partnership, along with its other initiatives to promote active travel, will improve air quality and benefit the health of local people.”