Read Friends of the Earth Scotland's response to the Scottish Government's Low Emission Strategy. The Strategy aims to improve air quality in Scotland and will be finalised by the end of 2015.


Take our e-action making your own response to the consultation, at foes.do/LowEmissionStrat


Summary of our Consultation Response:


Air pollution is Scotland’s biggest environmental health threat, responsible for an equivalent of 2000 deaths annually. Traffic is the main cause of air pollution.


Tackling air pollution means not only saving lives, improving health, and stimulating the economy, it also means tackling climate change. 


If the Scottish Government is to have a chance of succeeding in its aim of meeting European and Scottish air quality standards by 2020, then the Strategy must introduce measures to both improve traffic emissions standards and reduce traffic volumes.


 The Strategy must:


(1)       Deliver a finalised Low Emission Zone Framework by the end of the year which specifies what the LEZ requirements for cities will be, how they will be enforced, and how local authorities will be supported to deliver them:


(a)       Low Emission Zones should be introduced in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen with Euro 6 standards applied to buses and HGVs by 2018, and with Euro 6 standards applied to cars and vans by 2020. CO2 emissions requirements should also be considered as part of LEZ schemes.


(b)       Camera-based systems should be used to enforce LEZs because they are more flexible, efficient, can incorporate existing camera infrastructure into them, and ensure compatibility with London’s existing Low Emission Zone;


(c)        The Framework needs to use a combination of carrot and stick to help local authorities to implement LEZs: the Government needs to provide funding for to local authorities to set up LEZs; and there should be a legally-based opt-out mechanism which requires that the major city local authorities introduce LEZs unless they can prove their action plans will achieve compliance with Scottish standards before 2020.


(2)       Specify a fully costed range of measures to reduce traffic levels enough so that ambient air quality concentrations comply with Scottish air quality standards by 2020, given that it is highly likely that LEZs alone will not be enough to achieve compliance.


The Strategy should consider measures to boost active travel, public transport usage, and to deter car use, such as 20mph zones, parking controls and charges, and congestion charging.