An independent review of the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy has praised the country’s progress on emissions reduction.
The review found that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels have consistently fallen since the inception of the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy in 2015; and that ‘Scotland is generally performing quite well’ according to both EU and worldwide standards. It went on to commend measures taken to improve air quality in urban areas of Scotland, referencing the implementation of Air Quality Management Areas and Low Emission Zones in cities.
Professor Campbell Gemmell, who chaired the review panel, said: “This was a big team effort to review a wide range of aspects of air pollution. Good progress has been made but much more is needed. Particulates and NOx [nitrogen oxides] from the transport sector as well as agricultural ammonia and domestic heating emissions remain major challenges and need targeted effort. The health impacts of air pollution are potentially severe and we must double down on taking coherent action. The report stresses co-ordinated effort across local and Scottish government to provide leadership and practical support to move us forward to a cleaner, healthier future.”
The Cleaner Air for Scotland review noted that, while the strategy has had a notable positive effect to date, further action is necessary to meet the strategy’s overarching goals. The report suggested that co-ordination between stakeholders could be improved and that, having focused primarily on emissions produced by transport, the strategy should now expand its reach to address ‘wider issues’ pertaining to air pollution; including emissions produced by agriculture and domestic households.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “With Scotland performing well by global standards, it is clear that our current strategy has had a positive impact by raising the profile of air pollution and helping to facilitate constructive stakeholder engagement. So while I welcome this report, I am under no illusions that there is still more to be done as we progress towards our 2020 targets. We will now take the time to consider the review’s recommendations in detail before formally responding following a public consultation to gather wider views. In the meantime, I would like to thank Professor Gemmell and his team for their hard work and look forward to discussing this with him in due course.”