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Glasgow introduces bus gates to improve air quality

Glasgow City Council has today (September 2) introduced two bus gates to stop private cars from entering two busy streets in Glasgow city centre from 7 am to 7 pm.

Around 360 buses use Oswald Street and Union Street every hour at the busiest times and it’s hoped the measures will improve air quality as well as pedestrian and cyclist safety for the thousands of people who use the area every day.

The council says they will be carrying out monitoring of the air quality impacts of the bus gates.

John Bynorth, policy and communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS) said: ‘Whilst they are unlikely to be popular with motorists, the launch of the “bus gates” has been well sign-posted for car drivers in advance and should bring tangible long-term benefits for air quality, pedestrian and cyclist safety and speed up bus journey times.

‘We expect the gates will reduce air pollution, improving the health, particularly of pedestrians, cyclists. Taxi drivers, their passengers as well as bus users could benefit too – with in-vehicle air pollution a growing area of concern ­ and make the streets safer and quieter for other users by being less congested.

‘Glasgow and other Scottish cities need bus services to run on time and average journey times cut if people are to be tempted away from bringing their cars into the city centre. Freeing up some of our busiest streets from private cars during the day is an effective way of helping to achieve this.’

Glasgow introduced Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which initially targets only buses, in Glasgow city centre on December 31 2018. The scheme is slowly being phased in and will come into effect for all vehicles on 31 December 2022.

Cllr Anna Richardson of Glasgow City Council spoke to Air Quality News about the LEZ, concerns over its speed of implementation and how the scheme fits into a wider move towards walking and cycling in cities across Europe.

Last week, an independent review concluded that the Scottish government is performing ‘quite well’ in reducing air pollution but work still needs to be done.

Photo Credit – Environmental Protection Scotland.

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