Aberdeen named as the best city in Scotland for tackling air pollution

Enjoy the Air, the evidence based air quality intelligence company have undertaken an audit of  local authorities in Scotland to identify what steps are being taken to address air quality issues. 

Ranking out of 100, each local authority was scored against a range of measures including the strength of its air quality action plan, public transport systems and the steps taken to regulate emissions from construction and waste management sites.

black and white boat on water near city buildings during daytime

Aberdeen scored 77.2 with Fife and West Dunbartonshire joining them in the top three.

Jackie Dunbar, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside, said: ‘The air we breathe is fundamental to every aspect of our lives so tackling the polluting problems impacting its quality is vital.

‘It is brilliant to see Aberdeen leading the way in addressing these challenges and recognised for the range of methods it has deployed to increase awareness within the local community. I very much welcome the improvements that we are seeing in air quality over the recent years but there is undoubtedly more we can, and must, do.

‘The Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to promote air quality and, in addition to this, we have some of the most ambitious climate change legislation in the world – all helping us build a more sustainable, green economy for Scotland as we head for net zero by 2045.’

The report praised Aberdeen for its traffic management plans which promote sustainable travel and for the range of methods it has deployed across the region to increase awareness about air pollution within the local community. The City’s Low Emission Zone will be enforced from June 1st next year.

Scoring the lowest points due to a lack of air pollution monitors and up to date air quality action plans, were Angus, East Dunbartonshire and East Lothian, although it should be emphasised that Scotland has some of the harshest air pollution targets across Europe and ranks among the least polluted parts of the United Kingdom. 

The audit commented on the act that Glasgow ranked higher than Edinburgh, despite having some of the worst air pollution in the country. This, Enjoy the Air say, was due to the city’s efforts to control dust and emissions at construction sites and the conversion of the Council’s heavy fleet to low emissions.

Kate Barnard, Founder and CEO of Enjoy the Air, said: ‘Scotland is undoubtedly a leader in air pollution action and cities across the country are putting robust plans in place to mitigate the devastating health impact of dirty air. However, our analysis has revealed the key areas for improvement that must be undertaken to prevent long term health effects and even unnecessary deaths.

‘The Environment Act established legally binding targets and now our HALO certification provides an independent benchmark that requires cities to make consistent improvement towards clean air. By joining up council policy with local transport strategies and healthcare systems, Scotland can continue to lead the nation in air quality action.’

Photo: Julie Adams


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1 year ago

Well done Aberdeen! I wish our university town Aberystwyth could do the same but as far as I know they don’t even measure the air quality there.

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