2. Introduction and Background
Despite progressively reducing emission of air pollutants over recent years in Scotland, poor air quality still harms human health and the environment. Ill health caused by air pollution is also a health inequalities issue; it affects the more vulnerable members of the population disproportionately (people who are very young, elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and those living in urban areas and deprived circumstances).
As a result of the monitoring network being expanded ( see 3.2.1), four new Air Quality Management Areas ( AQMAs) were declared in Scotland in 2016, bringing the total to 38. All but two of these are due to emissions from road traffic.
Cleaner air provides multiple benefits, and the responsibility for better air quality rests with many groups, including the general public, national and local government and businesses. There are also opportunities to generate efficiencies and cost savings by linking air quality to related policy interventions, such as climate change adaption and mitigation, and noise reduction.
Cleaner Air for Scotland - The Road to a Healthier Future ( CAFS) 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 as soon as possible. In its first year CAFS has sought to progress a series of actions across six main policy objectives, as shown in Figure 1 below, including a number of important new initiatives:
- A National Modelling Framework ( NMF).
- A National Low Emission Framework ( NLEF).
- Adoption of World Health Organization ( WHO) guideline values for fine particulate matter ( PM 2.5) in Scottish legislation.
- Preliminary work towards a national air quality awareness campaign.
Delivery of CAFS is a commitment of the Scottish Government's Plan for Scotland 2016 -17. Progress is supported by the CAFS Governance Group, and actions are managed by specific working groups and sub-groups. This first annual report outlines the current range of work carried out across the main policy areas to deliver CAFS commitments during 2016.
Figure 1: The six key objectives of the Cleaner Air for Scotland ( CAFS) Strategy
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Environmental Quality Division