Significant and ongoing decreases in air pollution along two major west end roads have led to the revocation of their designation as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

Following the declaration of an AQMA in 2007 for Byres Road and Dumbarton Road due to the air quality objectives not being met, the council implemented an Air Quality Action Plan to bring down levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

The decision to revoke the AQMA status for two roads in Glasgow was confirmed in the city’s last two Annual Progress Reports on Air Quality. This conclusion received independent approval from both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

This positive development has come about following a decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels on the two routes which has led to the air quality objectives being met every year since 2017. And, since 2018, all monitoring has recorded levels at more than 10% below the objective.

Meeting the statutory requirements for three years in a row would usually be the benchmark for revocation, however uncertainty due to falling pollution levels during the pandemic meant an extended period of compliance was recorded before being certain that the AQMA was no longer required.

The move to revoke follows progress in 2021 where consistent reductions in particulate matter levels at the two locations resulted in the AQMA being amended to reflect this.

Cllr Angus Millar, City Convener for Climate said:

“Air pollution presents a serious risk to public health, creating and exacerbating people’s health conditions and the city’s health inequalities, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.

“Revoking an AQMA recognises substantial and sustained improvements to air quality and so I am delighted with the progress made on Byres Road and Dumbarton Road. This does not mean however that air pollution is no longer of concern and work is ongoing citywide to ensure cleaner, safer air for all those who live or spend time in Glasgow.

“Our city centre is the last remaining AQMA, however the Low Emission Zone which was rolled out last year is expected to make significant inroads toward resolving long-standing air quality issues in this area, ensuring cleaner, more breathable air.

“Air quality improvement is also embedded within our policies that contribute to our climate change commitments and the transition to net zero carbon such as our Climate Plan and Transport Strategy, both of which promote sustainable and low emission transport options.”

As part of the Local Air Quality Management process, where an exceedance in the air quality objectives is considered likely, local authorities must declare an AQMA and prepare an Air Quality Action Plan setting out the measures it intends to put in place to meet the objectives.

The AQMA to be revoked covers an area from the junction of Byres Road and Great Western Road south to Dumbarton Road and west along Dumbarton Road to Thornwood Drive.  Additional monitoring led to the AQMA being extended north along Queen Margaret Drive to its junction with Oban Drive in 2012.

Following an update to the Net Zero and Climate Monitoring Committee today, the Byres Road/ Dumbarton Road AQMA Revocation Report will be referred to the City Administration Committee for formal approval.

Whilst the revocation of the AQMA would formally reflect that national air quality objectives are now consistently being met, air pollution levels in the area will continue to be monitored.