A petition for an air pollution study in Roseburn will be considered at this week’s Transport Committee. The demand is backed by 32 businesses and 188 individuals. It asks the council to look at issues of nitrogen dioxide levels which the petitioners believe would increase due to the ‘canyon’ formed at Roseburn Terrace.

The petition begins :

“Traders and residents want an air study, for we have just learnt from a recently retired
local air quality expert, John Lamb, with 17 years at SEPA under his belt, of a potential
risk to public health by the CCWEL.

Roseburn Terrace is a text book example of a street canyon, where traffic pollution becomes trapped between buildings. This effect is exacerbated by prevailing wind conditions, leading to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations that are around 34% higher on the south side, as CEC’s passive diffusion tube measurements show. The expert noted stationary cars keep the traffic away from the shop fronts, creating a space in which NO2 dilutes naturally. Dundee City Council recently moved traffic one lane from homes to reduce pollution in this way.”

The petition arises from the planned City Centre West to East Cycle Link (CCWEL) which has in the past drawn opposition from local residents and businesses.

It follows an earlier petition to the council in 2016 supported by around 1800 signatories, and ongoing campaigning. The shopkeepers in Roseburn alleged three years ago that the new cycle route would diminish their trade, and they called for changes to the route.

George Rendall is owner of Art et Facts on Roseburn Terrace and he objected to the new cycle route, claiming that it would lead to fewer visitors to the area and his business. He asserted at the time that 40% of his customers arrive by car.

There has already been consultation on the necessary traffic orders with public drop in sessions held earlier this year. The council proposes the new cycle route as part of National Cycle Network (NCN) 1 will improve arrangements for cyclists and pedestrians. It includes plans for an off road path network at Roseburn, although it will also use key streets such as Roseburn Terrace and West Coates.

The improvements will have elements of protected cycle lanes on the main road and cyclist priority at key junctions. Public realm on Old Colt Bridge in Roseburn is also to be improved. This was first approved in December 2016 but each section requires Traffic Regulation Orders, hence the length of time since then without apparent progress.

The final preliminary design includes 10 minute short stay parking bays and 24 and 28 minute loading bays on a 24 hour basis. A new pedestrian crossing is planned for the section of the main road outside the Roseburn Bar.

Murrayfield Community Council called the progress on this project ‘glacial’, and it is certainly a number of years since it was first proposed. The progress or lack thereof arises from the local opposition to the council’s plans. Pete Gregson one of the most vocal objectors, although he declares himself a cyclist, was ejected from a Transport and Environment Committee meeting held in June owing to the statements he made then.

When they were first published in Spring 2018 the traffic order and redetermination order (relating to a public right of passage) attracted 31 objections and 36 objections respectively.

In August 2018 the council referred the matter of the traffic orders relating to the scheme to The Scottish Government for a public hearing as they are required to do in terms of the legislation.

A public hearing is now scheduled for 4 and 5 November 2019 at the City Chambers.

Councillors Macinnes (Convener), Doran (Vice-Convener), Arthur, Bird, Cook, Corbett, Douglas, Key, Lang, Miller and Smith are all members of the Transport and Environment Committee. The political split is 3 SNP members, 3 Conservative members with 2 for each of the Green Group and the Labour Group and one Liberal Democrat.

The next meetings of the Transport and Environment Committee are on 12 September and 13 October 2019. Anyone can attend a council meeting at the City Chambers or you can watch the webcast on the council website.