Pollution danger in Lanark town centre ‘canyons’

19-12-2015 Photos of Lanark High St for polllution article. Picture Sarah Peters.
19-12-2015 Photos of Lanark High St for polllution article. Picture Sarah Peters.

Lanark has been declared a pollution alert zone after tests revealed some parts of the town were in danger of breaching legal traffic fume safety limits.

The town will, from January 1, be an official Air Quality Management Area where special measures can be taken to cut down on vehcile emissions.

High Street, Lanark, but the town also has pollution 'canyons'  (Picture Sarah Peters)

High Street, Lanark, but the town also has pollution 'canyons' (Picture Sarah Peters)

A report delivered to councillors last week revealed that work had been going on for the past seven years throughout South Lanarkshire to monitor air quality following Scottish Government legislation.

For several years now the Gazette has been carrying claims from readers that Lanark town centre was suffering undue pollution due to the high volume of traffic passing through it.

Official recognition of this only came in the report to councillors, which states: “The latest detailed assessment for the Lanark area highlights that there are areas within Lanark that are not likely to meet the air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide.

“The council is therefore required to designate this location as an Air Quality Management Area.

“An action plan will be produced over the next 12 to 18 months following the Order coming into effect. In drawing up the action plan, measures designed to reduce levels of pollution below the air quality objectives will be considered.”

In a statement, Shirley Clelland, the council’s Head of Environmental Services, said: “The Community Services Committee considered a report to approve the establishment of an Air Quality Management Area in Lanark.

“The minutes of the meeting and supporting reports are publicly available. The report relating to the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for Lanark explains the position of South Lanarkshire Council and why it has had to declare certain areas of Lanark as an AQMA.

“In general the air quality throughout South Lanarkshire is good.

“There are, however, certain areas where air quality needs to improve to meet the targets set by Scottish legislation.

“Environmental Services has been monitoring air quality for some time to establish what the actual levels in the area are and to help identify where these may be above the target legal levels.”

She went on: “The purpose of the Air Quality Management Area is to assist in improving air quality. Following the declaration of the AQMA, Environmental Services will create an action plan programme within 12-18 months of declaration. This action plan will embody measures to improve air quality and there will be a consultation on the action plan.

“In Lanark ‘canyoning’, where the buildings or landscape around a pollution source limit the natural dispersion of emissions from traffic travelling through the town, will be a factor the action plan will consider.”