Thursday is Clean Air Day, which this year aims to raise awareness of the negative impact air pollution can have on health.

There is a move to encourage people to limit pollution by leaving their cars at home when possible.

Pupils from Sciennes Primary School, which was the first in the city to launch a ‘bike bus’ and was also one of the first School Streets schools, made their own Clean Air Day pledges. They used their scooters while wearing Clean Air Day themed t-shirts and were joined by Cllr Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener and John Bynorth Policy and Communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland, to share ideas about cleaner air.

Local ward councillors Tim Pogson (second left) and Sumita Kumar (third from right) joined the group at Sciennes Primary School along with members of Southside Community Council

Cllr Arthur told The Edinburgh Reporter that the council is very engaged with the idea of Clean Air Day. He said: ”The council is doing a lot and I hope to see more progress – we have the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which was only introduced a week or two ago and we are transitioning that into full enforcement over the next two years.”

When I challenged the Transport Convenor over the delay in implementing the LEZ he replied:“It will give people time to adjust. Some may have vehicles right now which might not be compliant, and so over the next two years if they are thinking of changing their car it will encourage them to go for a vehicle that is compliant, or perhaps think about using more sustainable modes of transport.

“The kids at Sciennes are fantastic. They have a right to clean air. A lot of the people who are affected by air quality are older people, but it also affects also children at school and people who suffer from asthma. So it is great that the road outside the school has been closed. It makes it a better environment for the school and hopefully improves the air quality. In terms of what the children want I had meetings this week to look at improving transport links into Edinburgh both from the west – looking at potential park and ride sites and also looking at a north south tram route from Granton up to possibly Dalkeith. That will help the city grow economically but also sustainably and hopefully take some cars off the road and improve air quality. The kids and I are all pushing in the same direction.”

Cllr Scott Arthur and John Bynorth with children from Sciennes Primary School