Busy Fife street back in the pollution bad books

The monitoring equipment has been in position for a number of years. (Pic: Dave Scott)
The monitoring equipment has been in position for a number of years. (Pic: Dave Scott)

Fife Council has pledged to take action amid shock revelations that Cupar’s Bonnygate has again been named and shamed over pollution levels.

The busy street is one of only two in Fife to have been named as one of Scotland’s 38 pollution hotspots. The other is Appin Crescent, Dunfermline.

And Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for mid Scotland and Fife, is calling on the Scottish Government to extend its recently-announced consultation on low emission zones to include local authority areas as well as cities.

“The Scottish Government must also work with Fife Council to ensure that sufficient funding is put in place to tackle areas of poor air quality in Fife,” he said.

“It’s important that communities are included in the design of pollution action plans.”

Measures to solve Bonnygate’s air pollution problem were first put in place almost 10 years ago after the street earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most polluted in the UK.

The road and pavement space to the west of Lady Wynd was realigned and a central staggered pedestrian crossing created in a bid to disperse pollution from vehicles. Monitoring equipment was also installed.

Fife Council expert Jim Robb, from the land and air quality team, said that heavy traffic was to blame.

He explained: “As a statutory requirement, Fife Council continues to review and assess air quality on a routine basis, taking necessary action to tackle issues where required. While Fife’s air quality is generally good, sometimes in narrowing areas, such as the Bonnygate in Cupar, there can be a higher level of air pollution due to the volume of traffic.

Since 2008, when the Bonnygate was declared as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), concentrations of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM) have improved, primarily as a result of the traffic management measures introduced.

Monitoring completed in 2016 was slightly higher (41 µg m-3) than the National Air Quality Standard (AQS) for nitrogen Dioxide (40 µg m-3) on the narrow south eastern section of the Bonnygate.

“Fife Council will shortly be installing an advanced portable air quality monitor to further understand concentrations in this area. They will continue to monitor and implement the air quality action plan measures in order to improve concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.”