On National Clean Air Day (Thurs 15 June) Friends of the Earth Scotland are urging all levels of Government to tackle harmful air pollution by adopting better transport policies.

Ten Key Facts about air pollution in Scotland:

– Air pollution claims over 2,500 lives in Scotland each year, and an estimated 40,000 throughout the UK annually.

– There are 38 Pollution Zones across Scotland, up from 35 in 2015, which are areas declared by local councils to have or be at risk of unsafe levels of pollution.

– Air pollution has been linked with respiratory illness including asthma and COPD, heart attacks and strokes, low birthweight, poor lung development in children, dementia.

– Transport accounts for roughly 80% of urban nitrogen dioxide pollution and 28% of Scotland’s total carbon emissions

– People are driving more than ever: 2015 saw a record number of licensed vehicles (2.9 million) drive over 45 billion kilometres, and 66% of journeys to work are made by car, despite 30% of households not having access to a car.

– The number of bus journeys has dropped by 5% in the last 5 years.

– Cycling accounts for around 1% of all trips despite the Scottish Government’s ambition for cycle rates to reach 10% by 2020.

– Scottish Government Budget 2017/18 allocation for motorways and trunk roads is £967m, compared to £39m for active travel infrastructure.

– The UK Government plans to tackle air pollution have twice been ruled illegal. Air quality is a devolved issue in Scotland, with several sites here being named in the legal cases.

– The Scottish Govt has committed to just 1 Low Emission Zone by 2018, despite official Pollution Zones in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, and Aberdeen.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Air Pollution Campaigner Emilia Hanna said,

“Clean Air Day is an opportunity for the Scottish Government and local councils to demonstrate they are committed to tackling this health crisis by putting proper transport policies on the table which will tackle the scourge of dirty air on our streets.

“To give us the clean air we need, the Scottish Government must commit to Low Emission Zones in all our main cities, re-regulate bus companies to increase passenger numbers, and increase walking and cycling by making 20mph the default speed limit in cities whilst investing more in active travel infrastructure.”


Notes to Editors

[1] Link to National Clean Air Day website: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/Pages/Category/scotland

[2] Health impacts of air pollution https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelo…

[3] Car use, cycling rates, and bus patronage figures come from Scottish Government statistics https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/scottish-transport-statistics…

[4] Scottish Budget figures http://www.spokes.org.uk/2016/12/scottish-govt-draft-1718-budget-fails-2020-test/

[5] Climate emissions from Scottish Government Greenhouse Gas inventory https://news.gov.scot/news/statistics-on-scottish-greenhouse-gas-emissio…

[6] Full list of air pollution zones is available through http://www.scottishairquality.co.uk/laqm/aqma

[7] Friends of the Earth Scotland is

* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.