Air quality reports

Air quality in the city is reviewed and assessed at regular intervals in accordance with statutory requirements. The Council’s Air Quality Annual Progress Report 2018 is the most recent review of air quality in Aberdeen. You can download this, as well as older air quality assessment reports, AQMA maps and related projects below.

Report File Date
Air Quality Annual Progress Report 2018 July 2018
Air Quality Annual Progress Report 2017 June 2017
Air Quality Management Areas Aug 2016
Air Quality Annual Progress Report 2016 June 2016
Vehicle Emission Tailpipe Study 2016 April 2016
Updating and Screening Assessment 2015 June 2015
Aberdeen Action Plan Progress Update 2015 Dec 2015
City Centre Low Emission Feasibility Study 2015 Jan 2015
2014 Air Quality Progress Report Oct 2014
2013 Air Quality Progress Report Sept 2013
Air Quality Action Plan Progress Report 2013 June 2013
Updating and Screening Assessment 2012 July 2012
Air Quality Action Plan 2011 July 2011
Aberdeen Harbour Local Air Quality Study 2011 Sept 2011

A Real Time Driving Emission Performance study was carried out across 6 sites in Aberdeen in April 2015. Emissions from over 24,000 cars, taxis, buses, vans and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) were tested. Diesel vehicle NOx (nitrous oxide) significantly underperformed compared to manufacture test data with diesel cars and vans contributing the most NO2. In general there was little difference in emissions from Euro 3,4, and 5 diesel cars across all manufacturers. While Euro 6 car emissions were roughly half Euro 5, levels still significantly exceeded the permitted standards across all manufacturers. The report will help support the development of measures to improve air quality in Aberdeen, particularly the 3 Air Quality Management Areas.

Air quality within the Aberdeen City Centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was assessed with the ultimate objective to identify opportunities to improve air quality within the AQMA through a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) or similar measures. The study considered traffic flows, fleet composition and emission rates to determine the contribution from different components of the fleet to pollution concentrations. Potential actions to improve air quality via a LEZ or other scheme were modelled to determine the most effective option that could be feasibly implemented. Improvement measures were not subsequently progressed due to the development of a national Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy and world wide uncertainty regarding real time emissions from diesel vehicles.

If the review and assessment process identifies exceedances, or likely exceedances of the air quality objectives for any pollutant the local authority must draw up and implement an action plan to reduce levels of pollution in the affected area.

The latest Air Quality Action Plan 2011 covers the City's 3 AQMAs. The 2011 Air Quality Action Plan Summary Leaflet describes some of the measures to improve air quality. These include

  • Encourage modal shift e.g. improved bus services, improved cycling and walking provision, additional Park and Rides
  • Reduce emissions and encourage the uptake of cleaner vehicles including consideration of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the City Centre (an LEZ is a geographically defined area where the most polluting vehicles are restricted, deterred or discouraged from access and use)
  • road building/junction alterations to reduce congestion and improve air quality
  • traffic management measures e.g. improved signalling, HGV priority measures
  • integrated Plans and Policies to minimise the impact of new developments and improve the future transport network
  • non traffic measures e.g. to improve energy efficiency, control on new biomass (fossil fuel) installations

The 2014 Air Quality Progress Report describes the Council's progress in the implementation of the 2011 Air Quality Action Plan.

Aberdeen Harbour is core to the prosperity and character of the city and probably unique in the UK. A detailed study of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate (PM10) emissions from vessels was completed in 2011. The Aberdeen Harbour Local Air Quality Study 2011 concluded that while emissions contribute to raised levels in some parts of Market St, Virginia Street and the surrounding area, road traffic is the main source of these pollutants. The Action Plan therefore focuses on actions that can be taken to reduce emissions from road traffic.

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