This report outlines the progress made towards delivering 'Cleaner Air for Scotland – The Road to a Healthier Future', Scotland's first separate air quality strategy, from its publication in 2015 to present. Since publication of the strategy, a global climate change emergency has been declared. Scottish Government acted immediately with amendments to our Climate Change Act to set a 2045 target for net zero emissions. These are the most stringent legislative targets anywhere in the world and Scotland's contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within a generation.
Just as Scotland is leading the way on climate change action, so too are we leading on improving air quality. Since the publication of Cleaner Air for Scotland, Scotland's first Low Emission Zone has been established. The Low Emission Zone came in to effect in Glasgow at the end of 2018 and there are plans for further Zones in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh by the end of 2020. Cleaner Air for Scotland is a national cross government strategy and partnership working has been paramount to the successful delivery of the actions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been involved for your valued contributions. I look forward to these strong partnerships continuing through to the next Strategy in order to ensure that we continue to make strives to improve the air quality in Scotland.
In November 2018 I announced an independently led review of Cleaner Air for Scotland, which was completed in July 2019. Although we committed to a review of the strategy after five years I decided to bring this process forward. Considering the declaration of a climate emergency, establishment of Low Emission Zones and major advances in knowledge around the human health impacts of air pollution, it is important to ensure that our air quality strategy remains fit for purpose.
Despite the undoubted improvements in air quality which have taken place over recent years, major challenges remain to be tackled. The achievements of Cleaner Air for Scotland provide us with a solid foundation for addressing these challenges, which will be built on with a new air quality strategy to take us into the 2020s.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform