ELECTRIC vehicles should become a key part of Scotland’s coronavirus recovery, lobbyists claim.

Official measures reveal air pollution has plummeted over the lockdown period, when road and air traffic levels fell dramatically.

There’s been a near-50% fall in levels of airborne particulate matter – linked to lung and other health problems – at some of the country’s most polluted urban roads, with levels of harmful nitrogen oxide emissions down by 80% on Glasgow’s Hope Street and St John’s Road in Edinburgh.

The figures are based on year-on-year comparisons and Professor James Lee, of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at York University, has said the lockdown levels could provide “a window into what the air in cities might be like in 10, 15, 20 years’ time”, if travellers move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric alternatives.

Now the Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) Scotland is using the air quality improvements to call for an acceleration of Scotland’s e-mobility targets. The organisation, which aims to be “the voice of the electric vehicle movement all over Scotland”, is calling on Holyrood to move the goal of phasing out sales of new fossil-fuel cars and vans from 2032 to 2025 as part of the coronavirus recovery strategy.

EVA Scotland chair Alister Hamilton said: “Air pollution has plummeted as a result of the forced lockdown from Covid-19 and as we rebuild our economy we should not allow ourselves to return to normal pollution levels.

“EVA Scotland is calling for the Scottish Government to adopt more aggressive targets including phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025.

“This is both an environmental strategy and an economic one. Scotland has the ambition and resources to lead the way in the UK for the adoption of electric vehicles, and now is the time to bring all the stakeholders together who can make it happen.”

He added: “Coronavirus is a terrible cloud for us all, but we must embrace its silver linings where they exist, and one of them is to grab onto our improved air pollution.”