One of Scotland’s most popular visitor destinations has been identified as the nation’s latest air pollution hotspot.
Crieff is different from any other small town in Perth and Kinross in that it has a trunk road running right through its centre.
For years, as a consequence of the presence of the A85, the community has suffered from traffic jams, poor air quality and difficulty in parking.
The town boasts vibrant cafés and restaurants, independent retailers, visitor attractions and a flourishing housing market, despite the national malaise.
The traffic issues, coupled with the deterioration of prominent central buildings, has, however, blighted the heart of the town and left campaigners calling for a bypass.
Their demands have now been given new weight by the findings of a Perth and Kinross Council study that reveals the extent to which traffic poses a threat to the health of Crieff.
Air quality monitoring has been carried out in the High Street for a number of years by the concerned local authority.
It is only recently, however, that an assessment of the amount of nitrogen dioxide and particulates in the air has shown a rise above acceptable levels. Extensive exposure to the emissions can be harmful to people with breathing or heart conditions and can cause respiratory problems.
As a result, the council is to move to declare the centre of Crieff an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and it will then move forward with a further air quality assessment and an action plan.
They will set out a raft of measures aimed at improving the area’s air quality.
Perth and Kinross already has the dubious distinction of laying claim to several of the country’s worst air pollution zones.
The centre of Perth has been designated an AQMA since 2006, with the worst affected areas including traffic bottlenecks such as the junction of Atholl Street/Melville Street/North Methven Street, and at Bridgend.
Figures released by Friends of the Earth last year identified Atholl Street as the sixth most polluted street in Scotland.