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We work to understand and improve air quality in Scotland. Good air quality is essential for a good quality of life, helping to maintain human health and wellbeing, the climate, habitats and achieve sustainable economic development.

Transport, energy generation, industry, waste and agriculture can all affect air quality. Emissions to air can give rise to health problems, climate change, depletion of the ozone layer and changes to habitats.

Overall, air quality in Scotland has improved in recent decades and is generally good. However, there are still hotspot areas of poor air quality and concentrations of ground-level ozone – a potentially harmful secondary pollutant generated in the presence of sunlight – have increased.

We regulate and monitor certain industrial activities in Scotland that can generate airborne pollution. Our work involves working with and directing local authorities and other partners to manage and improve air quality. We also provide policy and operational advice to government, industry and the public on pollution control and other environmental issues.

In addition, we work towards Scottish and UK objectives and targets set to address global climate change and the cross-border and international transport of pollutants.

Find out more about how we protect and improve air quality in Scotland in this section.