A new analysis by Friends of the Earth Scotland shows that air pollution targets are still being missed across Scotland, despite targets which were supposed to have been met eight years ago.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to people’s health, with fumes from cars, lorries and buses, killing off at least 10 times the number who die in road crashes every year.

“Some of these targets were set in the late nineties and supposed to be met in 2005, yet we still have air pollution at dangerous levels on streets across Scotland. Both the Scottish Government and our local authorities have failed to take this issue seriously for years and between them they need to do more than make promises they don’t deliver. We need action on traffic levels and the types of vehicles allowed on our most polluted streets.”

Number of sites failing nitrogen dioxide standards in 2012: 15, in 2011: 13.

Top 15 most polluted streets for nitrogen dioxide in 2012 (figures in microgrammes per cubic meter, European standard 40): 

Glasgow Kerbside – 72.5 South Lanarkshire Raith Interchange – 62.9 Aberdeen Wellington Road – 58.8 Edinburgh St John’s Road – 57.9 Dundee Lochee Road – 55.4 Perth Atholl Street – 55.1 Aberdeen Union Street Roadside – 55.0 Edinburgh Queensferry Road – 54.5 Dundee Meadowside – 54.5 Paisley Central Road – 50.7 Dundee Seagate – 50.4 West Lothian Broxburn – 47.4 Aberdeen Market Street 2 – 46.8 East Dunbartonshire Bearsden – 43.6 Dundee Whitehall Street – 43.0

These are the annual mean levels at these sites in 2012. The EU and UK standard is 40 micrograms per cubic meter, so all these sites fail the standard. We were supposed to meet this standard in 2005. In Glasgow at least we are unlikely to meet it even in 2020.

Number of sites failing particulate matter standards in 2012: 10, in 2011: 18.

Top ten most polluted streets for particulate matter (PM10) in 2012 (figures in microgrammes per cubic meter, Scottish objective 18): 

Aberdeen Wellington Road – 27.6 Edinburgh Salamander St – 26.7 South Lanarkshire Raith Interchange – 25.5 Aberdeen Union Street Roadside – 25.0 Perth Atholl Street – 24.9 Glasgow Kerbside – 23.6 Falkirk West Bridge Street – 22.1 Aberdeen King Street – 22.0 Glasgow Dumbarton Road – 21.0 Aberdeen Market Street 2 – 20.7


These are the annual mean levels at these sites in 2012. The Scottish air quality objective is 18 micrograms per cubic meter, so all these sites fail the objective. We were supposed to meet this objective in 2010.


For media enquiries, please contact: 

Per Fischer, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. Scotland’s air quality data site

2. Results for 2011 are in this report

3. The Committee on the Medical Aspect of Air Pollution concluded in 2010 that very fine particles were responsible for 29,000 deaths in the UK (so 2,500-3,000 in Scotland) and on average shortened everyone’s life by 6 months. http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c6… 186 people died on Scotland’s roads in 2011 http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c6…

4. This story is covered by the BBC and the Sunday Herald  

5. 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, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk