Renewed plans to achieve the air quality objectives will be discussed

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Work to update Glasgow’s air quality action plan, which will cover the period 2024 to 2029, began in 2021 but was paused to focus on the rollout of the city’s low emissions zone.

The plan, which outlines the measures needed to improve air quality, has been updated based on revised guidance from Environmental Standards Scotland. Consultations, including with the public, will begin in the coming weeks.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) “remain of concern” in the city centre, a council report said, and an air quality management area is “in place”.

The action plan is expected to lead to the withdrawal of the management area “by 2029 at the latest”. An annual report published in September said the latest data from 2022 showed the annual average target for nitrogen dioxide was exceeded in four locations, including Gordon Street and Hope Street.

That report added that nitrogen dioxide can be more directly attributed to local traffic volumes and engine types, especially diesel engines, while particulate matter in the air is more affected by non-local effects.

A council spokeswoman said: “Although air quality in Glasgow has seen much improvement in recent years, we remain committed to reducing the levels of harmful air pollution to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live or spend time in Glasgow.

“The draft plan, which takes a city-wide approach to achieving the best possible air quality, updates the actions we will take over the next five years to minimize road traffic emissions, the main source of the harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide. ”

She added that it will be some time before the benefits of the LEZ can be widely reported, but early evidence, not yet fully ratified, is that there were lower levels of NO2 pollution in 2023 than in 2022.

Updated guidance for councils states that action plans should include ‘specified target dates’ for completing any actions taken and an assessment of whether they will be ‘sufficient to achieve the objectives’.

Priorities in the draft plan include the continued enforcement of the LEZ and the development of a transport strategy in Glasgow, which will include initiatives to improve air quality, such as reducing peak-hour private car traffic in the city center by 2030.

Other measures aim to accelerate the use of heating networks in the city to reduce the contribution to pollution from fossil fuel heating systems, and to reduce emissions from the municipality’s vehicle fleet.

The work also includes a review of air quality monitoring in Glasgow, with a focus on schools, hospitals and care homes, to support the expansion of active travel networks and awareness and enforcement campaigns around vehicle idling.

The council spokeswoman added: “Key priorities include fully rolling out Glasgow’s LEZ to residents of the zone later this year to maximize its impact, and supporting those transport strategies that reduce reliance on private car journeys by encouraging a shift towards sustainable and active travel. ”

The consultation on the draft plan will last at least six weeks and will be available on the council’s website. Once finalized and approved by the council’s governance committee, it will be submitted to the Scottish Government.

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