Air pollution causes over 2,500 early deaths in Scotland every year. Our vision is for clean and fair transport systems, where public transport, walking, and cycling are put on an equal footing with cars.

Air pollution is creating a public health crisis

We have 38 official Pollution Zones across Scotland’s towns and cities where air quality levels are failing safety standards. Air pollution causes cancer and reduces our life expectancy. It can damage our lungs and blood, causes heart failure, exacerbates asthma, and has recently been linked with dementia, diabetes, and obesity. It’s especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people living in poverty or made vulnerable from other health conditions.

Let’s clear the air

Traffic is the dominant cause of air pollution. That’s why we want to see clean and fair transport systems in Scotland. We’re working to urgently shift the balance of transport policy and spending towards clean public transport, cycling and walking. Not only will this mean cleaner air, but it will also mean less climate emissions from the transport sector, and a better transport system for all.

Most polluted streets

Our research reveals the country’s most polluted streets and confirms that air pollution remains a public health crisis choking Scotland.

We analysed official 2019 data for two toxic pollutants – Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter – to show recorded pollution levels continued to break Scottish and European air quality standards across four cities.

Watch our Webinar

Our air pollution campaigner looks at the impact of coronavirus on public transport and public space.

Transport is one of the many areas of public life which has seen extraordinary changes during the coronavirus shutdown. In this recording of the session, we briefly explore how air quality, transport, and our ability to walk and cycle have been affected during this pandemic.

Low Emission Zones

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are areas in town or city centres where the most polluting vehicles are banned from entering. They are one of the most effective ways to protect vulnerable people from dirty air and exist in over 200 cities across Europe. Glasgow is the location of Scotland’s first LEZ, introduced at the end of 2018. Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are on course to implement their own LEZs soon. We’re trying to make sure these LEZs are genuinely effective in improving air quality.

Making space for walking and cycling

Scotland should be a place where everyone has access to excellent cycling and walking paths. Travelling by walking and cycling means reduced pollution and carbon emissions, and brings benefits for our physical and mental health. The spike in cycling we witnessed during the Covid-19 restrictions must be maintained, by investing in infrastructure, like segregated cycle lanes and widened pavements.

We know that good quality infrastructure makes all the difference to people’s travel choices. We also know that you get what you pay for. When the Scottish Government chooses to spend billions on new roads, it will lead to more traffic, more emissions, and more pollution. Diverting that money to active travel infrastructure, like cycle lanes, will lead to more people cycling instead of driving, and a healthier Scotland.

Improving bus services

We want to see buses across Scotland work for those who either do not have access to a car or want to make an environmental choice to leave their car at home. We want to see good bus services in rural and urban areas, cheap fares, reliable services, and smart ticketing. Buses are part of the solution to air pollution, with one full double decker bus taking up to 75 cars off the road.

We are calling for local authorities to ensure that bus services are run in the public interest.