News

Scottish emissions of air pollutants - 2016 results

Published: 16 Oct 2018 11:33

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today announces the release of a report on Scottish emissions of ammonia, sub-10 micron particulate matter (PM10), sub- 2.5 micron particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), carbon monoxide,  sulphur dioxide and lead on the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) website.
 
The main findings are:
 
• Over the long term there have been reductions in emissions for all the pollutants. Since 1990, there have been decreases of 12 per cent for ammonia, 64 per cent for PM10, 65 per cent for NMVOCs, 67 per cent for PM2.5, 72 per cent for nitrogen oxides, 84 per cent for carbon monoxide, 94 per cent for sulphur dioxide and 98 per cent for lead. Between 2015 and 2016, there were reductions in emissions for 6 of the 8 pollutants (sulphur dioxide 34 per cent, nitrogen oxides 12 per cent). There were small increases in emissions of ammonia (+3 per cent) and NMVOCs (+1 per cent).
 
In 2016:
 
• Ammonia – Scottish emissions accounted for 12 per cent of UK emissions. The main source of Scottish emissions was agriculture responsible for 90 per cent of emissions.
• PM10 – Scottish emissions accounted for 8 per cent of UK emissions. Thirty two per cent of Scottish emissions came from combustion, 25 per cent from industrial processes, 17 per cent from transport sources and 15 per cent from agriculture.
• NMVOCs – Scottish emissions accounted for 18 per cent of UK emissions. Industrial processes (mainly breweries and distilleries) accounted for 48 per cent of Scottish emissions, solvents and other product use 18 per cent and fugitive emissions from fuels 14 per cent.
• PM2.5 – Scottish emissions accounted for 8 per cent of UK emissions. Fifty two per cent of Scottish emissions came from combustion and 21 per cent from transport sources.
• Nitrogen oxides – Scottish emissions accounted for 10 per cent of UK emissions. Transport sources accounted for 50 per cent of Scottish emissions, combustion 31 per cent and energy industries 16 per cent.
• Carbon monoxide – Scottish emissions accounted for 7 per cent of UK emissions. Combustion  accounted for 65 per cent of Scottish emissions and transport sources 27 per cent.
• Sulphur dioxide – Scottish emissions accounted for 10 per cent of UK emissions. Forty eight per cent of Scottish emissions came from power generation, 29 per cent from combustion and 18 per cent from transport sources.
• Lead – Scottish emissions accounted for 5 per cent of UK emissions. Combustion accounted for 42 per cent of Scottish emissions, industrial processes 40 per cent and energy industries 11 per cent.
 
The 1990-2016 figures in this Statistics Release are from the NAEI report “Air Quality Pollutant Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 1990 – 2016”, produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment for the Scottish Government, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Environment.
 
Emissions from the offshore oil and gas exploration sector are not attributed to a specific country but are reported within an “unallocated” category.
 
There are uncertainties associated with all estimates of pollutant emissions. The uncertainty rating are “high” for PM10, PM2.5 and Lead, “moderate” for ammonia and carbon monoxide and “low” for nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and NMVOCs. (Low refers to the uncertainty of a particular pollutant being relatively low when comparing to the other pollutants and vice versa). However, although for any given year considerable uncertainties may surround the emission estimates, it should be noted that trends over time are likely to be more reliable.
 
Air pollutant emissions are reviewed every year, and the whole historical data series is revised to incorporate methodological improvements and new data.

Background
 
The publication together with full technical explanations can be accessed at: http://naei.beis.gov.uk/reports/reports?report_id=970 
 
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of
 
official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About 

Contact Information
Scottish Government Environment Statistics: envstats@gov.scot 
Scottish Government Communications: SGCommunications@gov.scot