Glasgow sees continued improvements in air quality

Glasgow City Council is making progress in its efforts to reduce air pollution, as the latest Annual Progress Report on Air Quality, released earlier this week, has shown. 

In it, it’s stated that air quality has improved so much on two roads in the city’s West End area that their Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) status should be removed.

AQMA status is a UK-wide scheme run by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to monitor air pollution at the local level. Declaration of an AQMA requires councils to put a Local Air Quality Action Plan in place, which is exactly what Glasgow City Council did in 2007 for Byres and Dunbarton Roads.

men walking on pedestrian facing cars parked on sidewalk between buildings

The action plan employed sought to reduce the levels of both nitric oxide and particulate matter on the two roads, bringing them back below legal maximums of 40 µg/m3. Nitric oxide levels have fallen within this mandatory level every year since 2017, while the same target has been met for particulate matter since 2020. Only the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is able to legally remove – or revocate – the AQMA.

Cllr Angus Millar, the City Convener for Transport and Climate, said: ‘It is encouraging that sustained improvements to air quality on both Byres Road and Dumbarton Road mean that council officers can now seek to have the Air Quality Management Area revoked.

‘We’re determined to clean up Glasgow’s air and we’ll continue to build on this progress with policies and projects that further our objectives to do just that.’

The removal of the Byres Road / Dumbarton Road AQMA would leave just one remaining area of concern – the city centre. It’s hoped by councillors that the implementation of Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) across all vehicle types will further improve air quality here. They have already seen an increase in buses driving through the LEZ which meet its stricter emissions requirements.

Elsewhere, the Annual Progress Report on Air Quality detailed additional measures to reduce air pollution in Glasgow. They have included discouraging vehicle idling through publicity and enforcement campaigns and increasing access to electric vehicle charging points. In addition, there has been promotion of the council’s official cycle hire scheme, operated on its behalf by Nextbike, alongside encouraging other sustainable modes of transport, not least walking.

Photo by George Kourounis


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