Local air quality management: policy guidance

Updated guidance for local authorities to take account of Environmental Standards Scotland's recommendations to strengthen the local air quality management regime.

14: Air quality and climate change

14.1 The Scottish Government considers it particularly important that climate change and air quality policies are properly integrated. Some air pollutants, notably black carbon, also make a significant contribution to atmospheric warming. It thus follows that there will be situations where policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have benefits for air quality, and vice-versa; such situations should be fully exploited.

14.2 CAFS acknowledges that there will often be co-benefits for air quality and climate change policies where certain measures are taken, such as reduced consumption of fossil fuel. An integrated approach is also likely to be more cost effective and deliver greater health and environmental benefits. The transport sector serves as a good example of where joined-up policy can secure co-benefits. Improved fuels and vehicle technologies in conjunction with effective land use planning should help improve air quality as well as contribute to climate change mitigation. However, without proper consideration, there is the possibility that some policies to mitigate climate change will have a negative impact on air quality. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009[24] creates a long term framework for ensuring a reduction in Scottish emissions of 80% by 2050.

14.3 The Scottish Government therefore expects local authorities to consider the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of the measures they propose to implement in their air quality action plans and in any local air quality strategies. Authorities might also wish to consider including policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their local air quality strategies. The Scottish Government and the other UK administrations' joint approach for addressing linkages between air quality and climate change policy is set out in Air Pollution: Action in a Changing Climate[25]. Local authorities should refer to this document for further background information and also when developing their own policies and strategies to jointly tackle air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

14.4 The Scottish Government expects local authorities to take an integrated approach to dealing with environmental issues such as climate change and air quality. For example, it may be possible to use data gathered during reviews and assessments to provide information on greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide. Emissions inventories could be especially useful for this, and further information can be found in the technical guidance.

14.5 Such information will be of use in assessing the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of air quality action plans and local air quality strategies. It will also be useful for assessing the impact of other policy areas, such as land use planning, transport planning and community strategies. The Scottish Government therefore encourages local authorities to make use of air quality information gathered within these other policy areas.


Email: Andrew.Taylor2@gov.scot

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