Scottish ministers order review of air quality strategy

Scottish government ministers have ordered a review of the country’s air quality strategy, to be led by an expert in environmental policy.

The independent review will be led by Professor Campbell Gemmell, and will identify how Scotland can take ‘further positive steps to mitigate the impact of air pollution’, Scotland’s Environment Minister has said.

The Scottish Parliament buildings in Holyrood, Edinburgh

A Professor of Environment Policy, Regulation and Governance at the University of Glasgow, Professor Gemmell is also an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling and an Adjunct Professor in the Future Industries Institute at UniSA, Adelaide.

Looking at the ‘Cleaner Air for Scotland’ programme, which was published in 2015, it is anticipated the work will cover transport, industrial, domestic and agricultural emissions as well as health, planning, and business issues. A steering group will determine the exact scope of the review.

‘Progress’

Announcing the review while meeting researchers at the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence yesterday (7 November), Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “There is a clear relationship between air pollution and human health impacts, and although we have made significant progress over recent years, more remains to be done.

“The Scottish Government is determined to drive down pollution levels, which is why I am delighted Professor Campbell Gemmell has agreed to chair a wide ranging independent review into our ambitious Clean Air for Scotland strategy.

“The review will bring together research being undertaken by the British Heart Foundation here in Edinburgh and others elsewhere to determine how we, as a nation, can take further positive steps to mitigate the impact of this hugely important subject.”

Challenge

Professor Campbell Gemmell said: “I am very pleased to have been invited to chair this review. Air pollution in Scotland has already improved significantly. It is a complex multi-dimensional challenge; connecting health, environment, climate change, planning, transport and business dimensions amongst others.

Professor Campbell Gemmell

“As a result, it needs careful assessment in order to understand the issues, identify solutions and provide advice on the necessary next steps to continue to deliver long-term improvements in air quality and quality of life for everyone in Scotland.

“This review aims to provide government with the best advice available on the way ahead.”

David McColgan, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager for BHF Scotland, said: “British Heart Foundation Scotland welcomes the announcement of this independent review of the Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy demonstrates the Scottish Government’s clear commitment to improving Scotland’s air quality.

“The review represents an opportunity for the Scottish Government and partners across the country to signal their intentions to work in partnership to reduce harmful air pollution, which has been proven to contributes to poor health outcomes and the development of heart and circulatory disease.”