Event: 7 Jun 23: CEC Spatial Policy Unit:

Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) Workshop:

(Ruth White, Placemaking and Mobility Strategy and Development Manager, CEC.)

The draft AQAP sits in the delivery channel of the City Mobility Plan, alongside Active Travel, Public Transport, Road Safety and Parking Action Plans. The five sets of proposals are currently out for consultation until 9 July. ( Item 7.5 - Revision to the Air Quality Action Plan - Draft for Consultation.pdf (edinburgh.gov.uk)

In broad terms, there has been progressive improvement in city air quality standards over the past 15 years, but they are ‘nowhere near’ World Health Organisation standards and some ‘trouble spots’ in the city remain. There is increasingly solid recognition of the damage to environment, personal health and welfare arising from pollution. The main local pollutants of concern are nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), to a lesser extent carbon dioxide (CO₂), and fine airborne particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5 (measuring less than 10 micrometres in diameter and less than 2.5 micrometres respectively).

The overarching legislative drivers come from the Scot Gov Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy (CAFS) 2, from National Planning Framework 4 and from the National Transport Strategy (National Transport Strategy | Transport Scotland )

There are eight key themes under the AQAP proposals:

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) • Strategic Transport • Behavioural Change to Active Travel • Public Transport • Low Emission Vehicles • 2030 Climate Strategy • Integrated Policies and Guidance • Domestic Emissions.

There is a close convergence here with the broader City Mobility Plan (City Mobility Plan – The City of Edinburgh Council )

The high-cost elements are:

Implementation of the LEZ;

Incorporating AQ considerations into the Public Transport Action Plan, with support for projects to decarbonise the Edinburgh bus fleet;

Improving the St John’s Road / Drumbrae South corridor;

The development of net zero community heating projects;

The development of a Whole House Retrofit (WHR) programme for social housing in the city.

The ‘difficult’ elements relate to personal behaviour change, essentially in car use and in domestic emissions (open fires and wood-burning stoves and the like).

Set in the context of the Net Zero 2030 Climate Strategy, it is difficult to exaggerate the scale of change envisaged for the city. The easy thing is to be cynical about the intent and the effort. However, the direction of travel is clear. The success of the endeavour will rest on funding, human resource at CEC level, the progressive selection of the right priorities on the way, all alongside the right nudges to induce personal behaviour change.

See this CEC Consultation document: Actions to deliver Edinburgh’s City Mobility Plan - City of Edinburgh Council - Citizen Space