Edinburgh is to celebrate the UK’s Clean Air Day on Thursday, 21 June in the city centre through a series of planned activities such as yoga on the Mound, a procession, and a series of talks from experts.
Organised by the City of Edinburgh Council, the celebrations form the first part of Edinburgh Summer Summit, a two-day event designed to raise public awareness for the need to improve the city’s air quality.
As part of the celebration, Scotland’s Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf, Council leader Adam McVey, and Council Transport Convener Lesley Macinnes will lead a procession of residents, local business owners, and school children from the top of the Mound towards George Street on the morning of June 21, marking the second annual Clean Air Day.
The public is invited to take part in activities staged around the Mound, Hanover Street and George Street. Residents, workers, and commuters will have the opportunity to get involved in events ranging from yoga and cycling classes to dance sessions and health walks.
Temporary landscaping and seating will be installed along the Mound and George Street providing a place for people to sit, relax and unwind. Meanwhile, school pupils will be invited to put their own stamp on a piece of street art reflecting the history of Edinburgh and how the city’s streets could be reclaimed by the public.
The public will also have the opportunity to try out electric bikes, while electric cars and taxis will be on display along with information on how people can do their part to improve the city’s air quality.
The Mound and the southern section of Hanover Street will be closed to cars and public transport from 09:30-12:30 on 21 June. The east section of George Street will be closed from 09:30 on 21 June to 12:00 on 22 June before reopening to vehicles, allowing local businesses to extend out onto the street and take full advantage of the summer solstice.
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “Improving the quality of the air that we breathe is a top priority for the Capital. The fun and engaging activities we’ve planned for Clean Air Day will highlight the simple steps that can be taken to help reduce emissions and make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
“Over the two days we will be monitoring the impact the road closures have on the environment, in particular air quality and noise. We’re also looking forward to raising awareness of the wider City Centre Transformation project, which is about creating an action plan for an Edinburgh that is sustainable, healthy and safe for our future generations.”
Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf said: “It is our vision for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe and we are working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council to tackle congestion and improve our urban environments. As part of this, the City of Edinburgh Council is in the process of drawing up plans for a Low Emission Zone and we welcome their intentions for this to be in place by the end of 2019.”
“Funding for the event has been provided by the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Programme, administered by Paths for All on behalf of Transport Scotland.”
John Bynorth, Policy and Communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland, which is co-ordinating Clean Air Day in Scotland, said: “I know from speaking to the deputy headteacher of one Edinburgh school how thrilled her pupils are to be taking part in the festivities. This flagship event is going to be a huge success in contributing to Clean Air Day’s aims.”