Cleaner Air for Scotland (CAFS) is Scotland’s first national air quality strategy and sets a vision for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe. CAFS draws together Scottish Government policies which impact upon air quality into a single framework and sets out a series of actions for delivering further improvements to air quality. The approach also highlights the opportunities to generate efficiencies and cost savings by linking air quality to other areas, such as climate change adaption and mitigation, transport and planning.
CAFS contains actions across six objectives: transport, health, placemaking, climate change, communications and legislation/policy; the goal being to protect human health, natural environments, and reduce health inequalities.
There are a number of important new initiatives in CAFS:
- A National Modelling Framework, which will provide a standard air quality assessment methodology for use across Scotland at the regional and local scale
- A National Low Emission Framework, which sets out a procedure for local authorities and our Agencies to determine effective measures that will address air quality issues at the local level
- Adoption of the World Health Organisation guideline values for particulate matter into Scottish legislation – making Scotland the first country in Europe to do so
- Developing a national air quality awareness campaign, to inform key audiences and encourage behavioural change
CAFS has been produced in partnership with a number of organisations across both the public, private and third sectors. Successfully addressing air pollution will require a partnership approach, involving the Scottish Government, its agencies, local authorities, business and industry, professional institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the general public.
In Scotland, the majority of the Air Quality Management Areas are located in on or near national or local roads, where these sites are not meeting EU air quality targets for NOX and PM10. Construction activities on our networks can also lead to short-term air quality effects.
Air quality is measured by the type and concentration of pollutants. The pollutants of most concern near roads are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particles (PM10) in relation to human health and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in relation to vegetation and ecosystems.
CAFS outlines a series of transport-related actions to improve air quality:
- Ensuring appropriate public bodies have a corporate travel plan
- Delivering the National Walking Strategy Delivery Plan
- Delivering the shared vision in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland that by 2020 10% of everyday journeys will be made by bike
- Reviewing support for green buses
- Evaluating how the Bus Investment Fund can support local air quality improvements
- Review the Bus Operators Grant to incentivise the use of low emission buses
- Review guidance on powers available to local authorities regarding bus services and how these might positively contribute to local air quality improvements.
- Continue the implementation of Switched On Scotland
- Working with partners to investigate the use of hydrogen as a transport fuel along with exploring the role of less carbon intensive fuels such as liquid petroleum gas, compressed natural gas and biofuels.
- Encourage local authorities with AQMA’s to create a Freight Quality Partnership and to encourage the FQP’s to extend their activities to consider the environmental impact of freight transport
- Reviewing Ministerial guidance on Regional and Local Transport Strategies, with a focus on air quality management.
- Examining the trunk road impact on AQMA’s and implement mitigation where trunk roads are the primary cause of poor air quality.
- CAFS also outlines measures requiring further investigation including:
- Investigating and supporting European Real Driving Emissions procedures
- Investigating the merits of a scrappage scheme for the oldest dirtiest vehicles
- Understanding how fiscal understanding how Vehicle Excise Duty might be used for transport maintenance activities
- revisiting the reporting and target setting requirements of the Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997
- Undertaking research into reviewing the role and contribution of lower speed limits to improving air quality in certain locations
- examining how (i) resident and trade visitor parking policies and (ii) allowing certain vehicles to use bus lanes could encourage the uptake of low emission vehicle (and motorcycle/scooters)
- understanding how the principle of ‘last mile’ logistics could be adopted across Scotland with a particular focus on targeting city centres with AQMAs
- Reviewing ITS solutions across relevant AQMAs to optimise traffic flows and prioritise urban cycle corridors as part of the National Low Emission Framework