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16/01/15 10:28

Breath of fresh air

Views sought on new national strategy to tackle air pollution.

A consultation has been launched on proposals aimed at making Scotland’s air amongst the cleanest in Europe.

For the next 12 weeks, the Scottish Government is formally seeking views on its draft national Low Emission Strategy.

It sets out action already being taken by the Scottish Government and its agencies, health boards and local authorities to tackle air pollution. It also contains proposals for improving air quality across the country by, for example, better co-ordinating policies at national and local level.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Aileen McLeod, said:

“Clean air is essential for our health, wellbeing and to protect our environment and we know that it is the most vulnerable members of our society - the very young, the elderly and those with existing cardiovascular and respiratory conditions – who suffer the most from the effects of air pollution.

“Although we’ve made excellent progress reducing emissions across Scotland in recent years, it is clear that more needs to be done particularly in our towns and cities where pockets of poor air quality remain.

“Improving Scotland’s air quality is not something that can be tackled by Government alone – it needs action from local authorities, businesses, the third sector and the general public. This draft strategy provides a framework within which we can all work together to achieve our vision of Scotland’s air being amongst the cleanest in Europe and I urge as many people as possible to respond to our consultation.”

Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay, said:

“This year will see record investment in active travel – nearly £40 million - to promote the uptake of cycling and walking, with £17 million being invested over the last two years in low emission vehicles and infrastructure and our Green Bus Fund scheme, which is supporting bus operators moving to cleaner, greener technologies. This investment is helping us achieve our vision of freeing Scotland’s towns, cities and communities from the damaging effects of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles by 2050.

“Greater use of public transport, green infrastructure, cycling and walking will help make our urban areas more pleasant spaces to move around and spend time in, with additional benefits realised like reducing congestion, improving traffic flow, and delivering practical and financial benefits for businesses.”

Notes to editors

The draft national Low Emission Strategy consultation closes on April 10, 2015 and can be accessed via http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2015/01/3287

Emissions data released last year shows that, between 1990 and 2012, nitrogen dioxide has decreased by 65 per cent, particulates by 60 per cent and sulphur dioxide by 79 per cent. Further decreases are predicted up to 2030 – compared to 2010 levels, nitrogen oxides are expected to decline by a further 45 per cent, particulates by five per cent and sulphur dioxide by 40 per cent.