The quality of the air that we breathe in Dundee has come along way in the past 200 years. Life expectancy was much lower back then, in part, owing to exposure to heavily polluted air from the local industries operating at that time. The photo to the right shows the visible pollution from the many mill chimneys operating in the west end area of Dundee in the 1950’s.
Following the implementation of various pieces of legislation aimed at improving air quality, the quality of the air we breathe in Dundee has improved. Visible air pollution has improved compared with the 1950’s, however other harmful pollutants still remain. Today the main source of man-made air pollution in Dundee is road transport rather than industry. Petrol and diesel motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants. This has lead to certain areas of Dundee experiencing levels of air pollution which exceed set criteria.
UK and Scottish air quality legislation place a number of duties on all local authorities. Under the requirements of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM), these include monitoring outside air for various pollutants of concern such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10). High concentrations found mean that the whole of Dundee City Council has been declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10).
An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) has been put in place which aims to improve the air quality in the areas of concern. Reporting on the review and assessment cycle and the progress of the AQAP is completed annually.
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