Environment committee launches inquiry into air pollution in Scotland
There are currently 38 Pollution Zones in Scotland, which have been declared by councils to be at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution
The Environment Committee has launched a new inquiry into air quality in Scotland, with MSPs calling for views on how to tackle increasingly dangerous levels of pollution.
There are currently 38 Pollution Zones in Scotland, which have been declared by councils to be at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution. The number rose from 35 in 2015.
The inquiry comes after environmental NGO ClientEarth warned that the Scottish Government’s attempts to tackle air pollution “are simply plans for more plans”.
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Convener, Graeme Dey, said: "Scotland has taken great strides towards having the cleanest air in Europe, but we must take air quality seriously in order to achieve our ambitious targets.
“Not only can poor air quality impact our natural environment and wildlife, but it is also bad for our own health and is especially harmful for the young, elderly and people who already have heart and lung conditions. In fact, recent evidence suggests air pollution may be a contributory factor to 15,000 early deaths in Scotland each year.
“As part of our new inquiry, the Committee wants to hear whether Scotland is doing all that it can to tackle toxic gases and how this fits into the overall plans to cut pollution within the UK and EU. It’s crucial that we have the best policies in place so that we can breathe clean air and protect the health of our future generations.”
With the European Commission having issued the UK with a ‘final warning’ over illegal levels of air pollution back in February, the High Court recently ordered the UK Government to outline its air pollution strategy.
Scottish Government announces plans have been complicated by the need for exemptions afforded to the Highlands and Islands to be assessed by the European Commission
In June parliament voted to replace Air Passenger Duty with a new Air Departure Tax, which is expected to be substantially lower
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ClientEarth warns that unless ministers take tougher action then Aberdeen and Edinburgh will not meet legal limits until 2020, and Glasgow will not comply until 2024