Scotland’s Chief Statistician has announced the publication of a report on emissions of air pollutants in 2017.
The main findings are:
- since 1990 there have been reductions in emissions for all pollutants, with decreases of 15 per cent for ammonia, 63 per cent for PM10, 65 per cent for NMVOCs, 68 per cent for PM2.5, 71 per cent for nitrogen oxides, 84 per cent for carbon monoxide, 96 per cent for sulphur dioxide and 97 per cent for lead
- ammonia – Scottish emissions accounted for 11 per cent of the UK total. The main source of Scottish emissions was agriculture which was responsible for 92 per cent ammonia emissions
- PM10 – Scottish emissions accounted for nine per cent of UK emissions. 32 per cent of Scottish emissions came from combustion, 26 per cent from industrial processes, 18 per cent from agriculture and 17 per cent from transport sources
- NMVOCs – Scottish emissions accounted for 17 per cent of UK emissions. Industrial processes (mainly breweries and distilleries) accounted for 49 per cent of Scottish emissions, solvents and other product use 19 per cent and fugitive emissions from fuels 14 per cent
- PM2.5 – Scottish emissions accounted for eight per cent of UK emissions. Fifty seven per cent of Scottish emissions came from combustion and 22 per cent from transport sources
- nitrogen oxides – Scottish emissions accounted for 11 per cent of UK emissions. Transport sources accounted for 51 per cent of Scottish emissions, combustion 31 per cent and energy industries 13 per cent
- carbon monoxide – Scottish emissions accounted for seven per cent of UK emissions. Combustion accounted for 68 per cent of Scottish emissions and transport sources 26 per cent
- sulphur dioxide – Scottish emissions accounted for eight per cent of UK emissions. Thirty eight per cent of Scottish emissions came from combustion, 37 per cent from power generation and 18 per cent from transport sources
- lead – Scottish emissions accounted for six per cent of UK emissions. Transport accounted for 51 per cent of Scottish emissions, combustion 24 per cent and industrial processes 20 per cent
The 1990-2017 figures in this statistics release are from the Air Pollutant Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland: 1990-2017, produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment for the Scottish Government, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Environment.
Emissions from the offshore oil and gas exploration sector are not attributed to a specific country but are reported within an “unallocated” category.
There are uncertainties associated with all estimates of pollutant emissions. The uncertainty rating are “high” for PM10, PM2.5 and lead, “moderate” for ammonia and carbon monoxide and “low” for nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and NMVOCs.
Low refers to the uncertainty of a particular pollutant being relatively low when comparing to the other pollutants and vice versa. However, although for any given year considerable uncertainties may surround the emission estimates, it should be noted that trends over time are likely to be more reliable.
Air pollutant emissions are reviewed every year, and the whole historical data series is revised to incorporate methodological improvements and new data.
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed here.
Scottish Government Environment Statistics: email@example.com