Charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland, the British Heart Foundation, and the British Lung Foundation have all labelled the Cleaner Air for Scotland plan as a ‘huge missed opportunity’.
In October 2020, the Scottish Government published their Clean Air Plan, alongside a consultation on ‘essential’ measures, with a view to reduce harmful levels of harmful air pollution.
The public consultation is set to end next week, and various environmental and health charities have voiced their concerns over how effective the measures have been, and even questioning how much change the plan will actually have.
Scotland has been breaching the legal limits of air pollution since 2010. The charities cite that the strategy contains very few measures to reduce air pollution from road traffic. They highlighted that recommendations from an independent review of the Government’s air pollution work are not included in the plan, which included increasing funding for active travel and ending trunk road expansion.
‘The Scottish Government needs to listen to the many voices calling for genuine action that will cut air pollution, explained Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner, Gavin Thomson. ‘For example, an independent review recommended doubling the budget for walking and cycling; but instead, the plan published by the Government announce active travel spending will remain the same for five years.’
Joseph Carter, head of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Scotland, commented: ‘It is unacceptable that Scotland’s air quality continues to breach legal limits. It is clear that high pollution levels have detrimental outcomes for people with lung conditions, as 90% of people we support struggle to breathe during these episodes.
‘As it stands, the plan does not go far enough to reduce serious damage caused by poor air quality. The Scottish Government must make it a priority to build a more robust Clean Air Plan that protects our nation’s lung health.’