Delayed air quality strategy will be published for consultation before the end of January, the Scottish Government has announced
The Scottish Government’s long-awaited draft Low Emissions Strategy will be launched for consultation before the end of this month, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change & Land reform has announced.
After several delays, the Scottish Government had promised to deliver a draft low emissions strategy by the end of 2014 (see airqualitynews.com story), but it is now to be issued “by late January 2015â€?, according to the minister, Aileen McLeod MSP.
This emerged last week (January 5) when the Minister was asked by Scottish Labour MSP Clair Baker last week for further details on the forthcoming draft strategy, and whether it would include allocations of funding for air quality projects.
In response, Aileen McLeod MSP said the Scottish Government was in “regular dialogue with all UK administrationsâ€? on air quality matters, but indicated that funding was the responsibility of local authorities.
She said: “The focus of work to develop the forthcoming Low Emissions Strategy, which will be the first Scottish air quality strategy, has been working with a wide range of Scottish stakeholders who can, and do, make a substantive contribution to promoting air quality across Scotland.
“The Low Emissions Strategy is designed to support a wide range of partners in promoting air quality, e.g. guidance on low emission zones. One of the purposes of the forthcoming consultation will be to get feedback on that guidance. The strategy will also highlight the range of actions that can support air quality, not all of which require funding. The Scottish Government will continue to support specific air quality monitoring and action projects.â€?
She added: “Air quality is a responsibility of local authorities who continue to be able to allocate funding according to local needs and priorities.â€?
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Following work with a wide range of partners and stakeholders the Scottish Government will launch later this month a consultation on a Low Emission Strategy. This will set out the contribution that reduced air pollution can make to delivering sustainable economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for communities across Scotland, with a focus on progress in Scottish towns and cities over the coming years.â€?
The news comes as campaign group Friends of the Earth this week published its analysis of Scottish air quality data for 2014, which it said had shown “little improvementâ€? from the previous year, and it called for more support from the Scottish Government in tackling air pollution (see airqualitynews.com story).