12. Next Steps
12.1 It is hoped that the Scottish Government will take on board the findings of the review contained in this report and take forward the conclusions and recommendations into a public consultation on actions to be taken for the next stage of Scotland’s Air Quality Strategy in the interests of everyone in Scotland.
12.2 It continues to be clear that air pollution is a complex, multi-dimensional problem and there is in the short-term no magic solution to all the challenges involved. Operational LEZs addressing all vehicle types and planning and implementation of integrated public and active mobility options will enhance mobility, amenity and health conditions. Careful monitoring which then results in active interventions to address poorer performance will be necessary and should be expected.
12.3 Whilst good progress has been made and key elements of CAFS have been effective, there is a lot to do, with cost and behavioural dimensions that are potentially significant. Wider and deeper public engagement is necessary to deliver modal and behaviour changes as well as more coherent placemaking and a range of related public policies. The costs of not doing so will continue to impact us all, however, in terms of negative health impacts, congestion, public safety, loss of amenity and a failure to maximise the potential for better quality of life and ultimately improved economic performance.
12.4 There is a lot too that can be done, now, based upon better data, better modelling, better public information and thereby improved and more integrated policy-making and implementation, planning and choice-making to ensure that progress achieved so far is continued and some of the blockages identified and brakes on progress are tackled. This seems eminently achievable, with significant health and amenity benefits for all.
12.5 A failure to make timeous progress with further emissions management, with infrastructure and services as well as spatial planning and placemaking improvements will likely further exacerbate health inequalities and overall risks to public health for much of the population.
12.6 This review offers a range of recommendations likely to deliver continuing improvements. We have done well to get to this point but efforts need to continue apace.