Air pollution in Fife falls to lowest level in decade

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Air pollution in Fife has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, figures reveal.

Climate campaigners say the improvement in air quality has been helped by continuing investment in cycling and walking as well as the transition to zero-emission cars with new petrol cars to be banned from sale by 2030.

Figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show the average concentration of PM2.5 pollution particles in Fife was 5.7 micrograms per cubic metre in 2019 - below the UK limit of 25, and the World Health Organisation guideline limit of 10.

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Air pollution has eased in FifeAir pollution has eased in Fife
Air pollution has eased in Fife

That was a decrease from 5.9 micrograms in 2018, and the lowest level since 2010, when it was 8.3.

PM2.5 are tiny particles, measuring about 3% of the diameter of a human air, which can lodge in the lungs and even pass into bloodstream, potentially causing damage to blood vessels and organs.

They come mostly from traffic fumes, but also through industrial emissions, wood burners and livestock manure. A small proportion come from natural sources in the form of dust or sea salt particles.

Levels of the PM2.5 particles have fallen in Scotland since 2011, when national records began, from 8 micrograms per cubic metre to 5.5 in 2019.

In Fife, the reading fell from 2011, when it was 7.9.

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The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change welcomed the reduction in pollution in some areas, but wants the Government to bring in lower limits on PM2.5 as part of the Environment Bill, which will come back before Parliament this year.

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