Air pollution causes significant health impacts and is estimated to be responsible for over 2000 premature deaths a year in Scotland. These dangers have been recognised by governments across Europe and the Scottish Parliament has passed legislation to make it a legal requirement to meet air quality ‘limit levels’ as set out in the Cleaner Air For Europe Directive 2008/50/EC.
In March 2021 the European Court of Justice delivered its judgment that, across the UK, these statutory limit levels in respect of nitrogen dioxide, a key component of air quality issues, had been ‘systematically and persistently’ exceeded for at least seven years (2010-2017).
The air quality landscape in Scotland is complex, and whilst efforts continue to improve Scotland’s air quality, there are continuing questions over whether nitrogen dioxide limit levels will be met in the future.
Given this, and taking into account the serious, longstanding and intractable historic failure to meet these limit levels, ESS has taken the decision to launch an investigation into the arrangements put in place by the Scottish Government to ensure future compliance with statutory nitrogen dioxide limit level requirements.
More information can be found on our Investigations page.