Work to establish Scotlandâ€™s first low emission zone is continuing â€“ with the LEZ expected to be in place by 2018 â€“ according to a progress report on Scotlandâ€™s Cleaner Air Strategy, published this month.
In addition, four new air quality management areas (AQMAs) were set up in Scotland in 2016, bringing the total in the country to 38.
Scotland has made â€˜good progressâ€™ on implementing the strategy, which was launched in November 2015 (see airqualitynews.com story), during its first full year in effect the report has suggested.
The strategy included plans for a National Low Emission Framework, public awareness campaigns to highlight issues around air quality and potential for more stringent air pollution limits.
To date, work on the Low Emission Framework, which is being led by Transport Scotland the countryâ€™s national transport agency, has included engagement with a â€˜wide rangeâ€™ of organisations on the development of criteria, tests and processes for the Framework.
The report stated: â€œThe first LEZ location and size will be determined by air quality and transport modelling, together with other evidence on effectiveness, cost and benefit. In September 2016 the new programme for government confirmed that with the help of local authorities, we will identify and put in place the first LEZ by 2018, creating a legacy on which other areas can build.
â€œThis challenging timescale requires detailed cross-organisational collaboration and cross-professional working. Transport Scotland is leading on engagement and evaluation of tools and support required to meet this commitment.â€
Elsewhere the report notes that delivery of the â€˜Switched on Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-In Vehiclesâ€™ strategy has also continued, with total investment at over Â£3.5 million and around 350 electric vehicles added to the public sector fleet.
A national framework of local incentives for electric vehicles has also been developed, which looks at the potential for Scottish local authorities to introduce measures which could encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.
On communications, the report details work which has included an academic study to develop a series of Scottish Air Quality Indicators (SAQI) â€“ aimed at providing evaluation and reporting improvements across local authority datazones.
The report also details ongoing efforts to deliver a national air quality public awareness campaign, alongside organisations including SEPA, Transport Scotland, Health Protection Scotland and the NHS.
It states: â€œIn its first year, the CAFS [Cleaner Air For Scotland] Communications Group has engaged with a wide range of organisations to understand existing communications activities, gaps in knowledge and awareness and existing resources that can be drawn from. In addition to individual engagement, a workshop was held that included non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other organisations that are already operating in the field of air quality communications.â€