Green light for change after good news on air quality in Bearsden

Wednesday, 24 August, 2022

Improvements mean part of Bearsden no longer requires to be considered an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), with backing from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.Air quality graphic which shows the marked improvement in Bearsden since 2010

The AQMA covers a 60 metre-wide corridor along the A809/A810 to the junction with Antonine Road, to the south beyond Canniesburn Toll and to the east of Roman Road Car Park, with a small section of Stockiemuir Road also included.

It was given that status in 2011 after concerns over levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10).

Local air quality is measured continuously across East Dunbartonshire and reported on annually, with appraisal by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

Annual mean (average) levels of NO2 and PM10 in the Bearsden AQMA are now well below national objectives.

Guidance recommends that where pollutant levels have reduced and remain below objectives for at least three consecutive years, an AQMA order should be revoked.

That was the case in 2017, 2018 and 2019 - prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so not influenced by the reduction in traffic during lockdown periods.

Both the Scottish Government and SEPA have agreed the AQMA status should be revoked.

It is thought to be due in part to improving emission standards of vehicles, improvements within the overall road network and measures undertaken by the Council as part of its Air Quality Action Plan.

The Council will now publish a Notice of Intention to revoke the AQMA, and seek the views of statutory consultees, local businesses and the public.

The Bearsden Air Quality Action Plan will remain in place, and the Council will continue to monitor levels and work to reduce pollution across East Dunbartonshire.

Figures for 2020 show NO2 and PM10 pollution levels continue to fall.

Councillor Paul Ferretti, Convener of Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets, said, "This is excellent news, but it is not the end of the journey. We will continue to work to reduce air pollution across East Dunbartonshire, along with a range of partners.

"The removal of the AQMA is based on evidence - gathered before the pandemic, when traffic levels fell significantly - and backed by advice from the Scottish Government and SEPA.

"We're committed to a number of policies and strategies to improve the environment for the benefit of our residents and generations to come."

For more information, visit  the pollution webpage

  • The Environment Act 1995 and subsequent regulations require local authorities to conduct regular reviews of air quality in their area to assess compliance with national air quality standards and objectives. Where objectives are not met, local authorities are then required to take appropriate action within the objective and compliance dates. This usually involves the area of poor air quality being declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
  • The Bearsden AQMA was discussed at a meeting of the Council's Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets Committee in November 2021, with members agreeing to begin work to remove the Bearsden AQMA designation. They also agreed the Council should continue to monitor local air quality, and enforce and pursue the Bearsden Air Quality Action Plan.
  • The Bearsden AQMA annual mean NO2 concentration in 2010 was 47 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air)

Annual Mean NO2 concentration in 2019 fell to 32 µg/m3

Annual mean NO2 concentration in 2020 fell to 20 µg/m3

  • Annual mean PM10 concentration in 2010 was 25 µg/m3

Annual Mean PM10 concentration in 2019 fell to 11 µg/m3

Annual Mean PM10 concentration in 2020 fell to 8 µg/m3

  • Scottish air quality objectives - annual mean (average):

NO2 - 40 µg/m3

PM10 - 18 µg/m3

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