Air pollution is subject to regulation at international (e.g. Gothernberg protocol), EU (e.g. Clean Air Programme) and national/regional levels (e.g. UK Air Quality Strategy; Cleaner Air for Scotland).
The UK Government leads on the UK’s input to International and European legislation relating to Air Quality, with input from the Scottish Government, and the other devolved administrations. Linking to the requirements of the EU Directives, the latest Air Quality Strategy published in July 2007 established the framework for air quality improvements across the UK. Measures agreed at the national and international level are the foundations on which the strategy is based. The strategy sets out the Air Quality Standards and Objectives which have been set to benchmark air quality in terms of protecting human health and the environment.
Within the UK air quality is a devolved matter, with the Scottish Government having responsibility for the development of air quality policy and legislation for Scotland.
Local Air Quality Management (LAQM)
Part IV of The Environment Act 1995 sets provisions for protecting air quality in the UK and for local air quality management. The system of Local Air Quality Management has been in place in the UK since 1997, and is currently under review. The role of the LAQM review and assessment process is to review local air quality, identify all relevant locations where the air quality objectives are being or are likely to be exceeded. Where an area of exceedance is identified, the local authority is required to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and implement an Air Quality Action Plan to improve air quality within the areas. In Scotland, the limit values for PM, benzene and CO are lower than the rest of the UK to reflect the fact that Scotland has lower background concentrations of these pollutants
Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy (2015)
The “Cleaner Air for Scotland – Road to a Healthier Future” (CAFS) strategy was published by Scottish Government in November 2015. The purpose of CAFS is to provide a national framework which sets out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to achieve further reductions in air pollution and fulfil our legal responsibilities as soon as possible. CAFS outlines the contribution that better air quality can make to sustainable development whilst improving health and the natural environment and reducing health inequalities for the citizens of Scotland. The focus of CAFS is improving urban air quality by reducing emissions from the transport sector.