The Scottish Government's Programme for Scotland 2018-19 committed to launching a review of the Cleaner Air for Scotland – The Road to a Healthier Future' (CAFS) building on the progress made since its introduction and as part of that, reviewing arrangements for driving delivery.
The CAFS strategy is a national cross-government strategy that sets out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to reduce air pollution further to protect human health and fulfil Scotland's legal responsibilities. It sought to bring together major policy areas relevant to air quality such as climate change, transport, planning, health and energy within one overarching framework. The strategy set out around 40 actions relating to the policy areas, including a number of new initiatives such as adopting the World Health Organisation guideline values for particulate matter in Scottish legislation.
Good progress has been made on delivering the actions set out in the 2015 strategy. 28 CAFS actions have been completed, 3 are under review, and 7 have been significantly progressed and are on schedule to be delivered under a revised timescale. Of these 7 actions, 3 are on schedule for delivery in 2020. The remaining 4 actions will be taken forward in the new strategy.
Reductions in emissions of air pollution have been the result of concerted action through policy measures such as CAFS, international agreements and European and domestic legislation. However, despite these improvements and generally improving trends in air quality further action continues to be required to meet existing and future legal targets on air pollution, to reduce background levels of air pollution impacting the environment and to address hotspots of poor air quality in urban centres.
In November 2018, an independent chair and steering group with various key stakeholders undertook a review of the CAFS strategy, looking at progress to date, and to recommend next steps, with a particular focus on the actions necessary and practical in the next three to five years.
Key themes emerging from the review include health, transport, industrial, domestic and agricultural emissions, place-making, behaviour change and governance which were summarised into ten general recommendations:
1. A Precautionary Approach.
2. Integrated Thematic and Organisational Strategies.
3. Impacts of New Developments.
4. Better Data.
5. Behavioural Research.
6. Environmental Regulation.
7. Tackling Under-regulated Areas
8. Shifting to More Sustainable Transport Modes.
9. Governance, Accountability and Delivery.
10. Further Progress Review.
The Scottish Government is now revising the CAFS strategy based on the recommendations made by the independent CAFS review steering group, along with comments on the recommendations received via an online survey held at the end of 2019. The revised strategy has a working title of Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 (CAFS 2).
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