The COP26 summit in Glasgow could lead to increased local air pollution, the city council admits

‘Severe congestion’ caused by road closures in place for COP26 could lead to an increase in air pollution levels, Glasgow City Council has acknowledged.

With major roads closed to traffic and protests ahead – planned and unplanned – transport managers are urging the public to avoid unnecessary travel, especially during the first few days of the climate conference.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also asked the public to carefully consider any unnecessary trips, in Glasgow and across the central belt more generally, and on public transport as well as car trips.

Glasgow City Council has admitted that the possibility of ‘small, localized increases in air pollution levels’ exists as a result of the congestion, but noted that travel councils issued to Glaswegians intend that COP26 intends to ‘limit this as much as possible’.

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A spokeswoman for the council said: “Roadblocks around COP26 are expected to lead to increased congestion in the affected streets during the duration of the restrictions.

“While there is a possibility that this will lead to small, localized increases in air pollution levels, the Get Ready Glasgow travel councils aim to limit this as much as possible.”

Despite the potential for increased pollution levels, the council has failed to advise glass vegans to wear masks to provide protection against harmful emissions.

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
The COP26 Climate Summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.

They replied: ‘The use of masks is only partially effective in the event of particulate pollution, and it should be noted that in any case Glasgow currently meets all Scottish targets for this pollutant.

Our advice therefore remains the same for all those who may be particularly affected by air pollution – to sign up for the Scottish Government’s Know and Respond ‘service, which provides detailed advice and information on air pollution.

“Pollution monitoring will continue under COP26 restrictions and the results can be observed in near real time from the Air Quality in Scotland website.”

It comes after revelations that private jets flying to COP26 in Glasgow will blow up more CO2 than Scotland pumps out in a full year.

Stay up to date with our LIVE COP26 blog for all the latest updates on how the climate conference will affect Glasgow.


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