Scotland falls short on air pollution targets for second year running

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 28 Dec 2017 09:02
Traffic fumes increase air pollution in Scotland

Scotland has failed to meet European targets to curb air pollution for the second year in a row – mainly as a result of traffic fumes, according to provisional data released this week.

According to analysis of the data by the environmental group WWF Scotland, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in parts of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth are all in breach of EU targets designed to safeguard human health and pose a significant threat to human health.

The news comes as Europe prepares to step up action against countries that fail to address poor air quality. WWF called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to radically improve the quality of the air the nation breathes rather than simply seek an extension from Europe to delay meeting air quality targets.

Dr Dan Barlow, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland said: “It is totally unacceptable that Scotland has breached European air pollution targets for the second year in a row. As a result of a complacent approach thousands of people are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution in Scotland’s major cities.

“Scotland has had plenty of time to take preventative action, so it is shocking that we have failed to put in place the measures needed to meet air quality targets and protect human health. This situation is a direct result of the failure of successive governments to produce a sensible strategy that adequately addresses air pollution and climate emissions from road traffic.

“At the same time that Scotland is suggesting it may not meet air quality targets until 2020, Government investment and infrastructure plans are set to prioritise road building over public transport improvements and cut funding for walking and cycling.

"Improving air quality and tackling climate emissions requires a shift in government transport spending plans to place much more emphasis on sustainable solutions.”

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