Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 - a consultation on a draft new air quality strategy for Scotland

Closed 22 Jan 2021

Opened 30 Oct 2020

Feedback updated 22 Mar 2021

We asked

We asked for your views on a draft new air quality strategy for Scotland.

You said

The analysis of consultation responses provides a summary of respondents' views.

We did

Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 - consultation on a draft new air quality for Scotland: Scottish Government response

On 22 March 2021 the Scottish Government published an analysis of responses to the recent consultation on a draft new air quality strategy for Scotland.  This statement sets out the Government’s response to the consultation and the next steps for finalising the strategy.

Within the broad support for the overarching aims of the strategy, a wide and diverse range of views was expressed by respondents.  Many respondents noted that fully integrating the new air quality strategy with related Government plans, programmes and strategies will be crucial to its success.  A related requirement is the need to take account of policy developments since the consultation was launched in October 2020 and to consider the broader context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

There are five key areas where we plan to update the draft strategy to reflect consultation feedback and recent development. These are:

  • Updating our assessment of the links between the pandemic and air quality, with a focus on health;
  • Strengthening the delivery of co-benefits for air quality and climate change, following publication of the Climate Change Plan update and in the run up to the establishment of a Scottish Nitrogen Balance Sheet;
  • In line with consultation feedback, placing a stronger emphasis on demand reduction within the transport element of the strategy;
  • Coupling the development of the voluntary code of good agricultural practice for improving air quality in Scotland with greater emphasis on the use of advisory services and support mechanisms for farmers and crofters to effect change; and
  • A commitment to develop a delivery plan to provide more specific information about responsibilities and timelines for implementation of the main actions in the strategy, again to reflect consultation feedback.


Further commentary on these is set out below.

The draft strategy discussed some of the high level initial findings around the direct links between Covid-19 health impacts and air quality, and also the reduction in traffic levels during the first part of the lockdown. The body of evidence has been added to significantly since this time and will be reflected in the final strategy, together with the implications for air quality of wider Covid-19 recovery plans.

The publication of the Climate Change plan update (CCPu) has set out a pathway to Scotland’s economy-wide emissions reduction targets over the period to 2032.  In many areas, including industry, transport, heat and agriculture, there are significant co-benefits for air quality from our action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The updated strategy will provide stronger linkage across to the CCPu and its delivery structure, with the aim of maximising these co-benefits.

An important element of consultation feedback was the need to focus more on demand reduction measures within the transport section of the strategy. With the publication of the CCPu and the delivery plan for National Transport Strategy 2, we now have a number of more concrete demand reduction measures to incorporate within the final strategy, including important commitments to a 20% reduction in car kilometres by 2030 and further development of the concept of 20 minute neighbourhoods.

There was a consensus amongst respondents that many of the proposed actions, while positive, require more detail in terms of responsibilities, outcomes and timelines.  These points will be addressed in a delivery plan which will accompany the strategy. We have made a clear commitment to working closely with the agricultural sector, business, industry and other partners when taking forward the actions relating to these policy areas, and this commitment will be reaffirmed in the final version. 

Collectively these actions will build on the successes to date in improving air quality in Scotland and will deliver further positive change over the next five years.

The final strategy will be published later in 2021.


Results updated 22 Mar 2021

An analysis of consultation responses can be found at:

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


In November 2018 the Scottish Government commissioned an independently led review of its Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy, which was published in 2015.  The aims of the review were to assess progress to date in implementing the strategy and to make recommendations for additional actions required to deliver further air quality improvements.  

A report setting out the conclusions and recommendations arising from the review was published in August 2019.  These recommendations have been used to inform the development of a new air quality strategy, which is the subject of this consultation.

Read the consultation paper

What happens next

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Consultation responses will help inform finalisation of the new air quality.


  • Business, Industry and Innovation
  • Building and Planning
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Public Sector
  • Health and Social Care
  • Transport