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Scottish emissions of air pollutants 2013 results

Published: 11 Sep 2015 09:30

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today announces the release of a report on Scottish emissions of carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, sub-10 micron particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide, lead and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) on the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) website.

The main findings are:

* Over the long term there have been reductions in emissions for all the pollutants. Since 1990, there have been decreases of 28 per cent for ammonia, 53 per cent for PM10, 66 per cent for NMVOCs, 67 per cent for nitrogen oxides, 81 per cent for carbon monoxide, 87 per cent for sulphur dioxide and 99 per cent for lead.

In 2013:

* Ammonia – Scottish emissions accounted for 12 per cent of UK emissions. The main source of Scottish emissions was agriculture responsible for 87 per cent of emissions.

* PM10 – Scottish emissions accounted for 11 per cent of UK emissions. Thirty five per cent of Scottish emissions came from commercial, domestic and agricultural combustion, 21 per cent from agriculture and 16 per cent from transport sources.

* Nitrogen oxides – Scottish emissions accounted for 9 per cent of UK emissions. Transport sources accounted for 38 per cent of Scottish emissions, energy industries 35 per cent and industrial combustion 13 per cent.

* NMVOCs – Scottish emissions accounted for 17 per cent of UK emissions. Industrial processes (mainly breweries and distilleries) accounted for 47 per cent of Scottish emissions, solvents and other product use 20 per cent and fugitive emissions from fuels 15 per cent.

* Sulphur dioxide – Scottish emissions accounted for 10 per cent of UK emissions. Seventy nine per cent of Scottish emissions came from power generation, 8 per cent from industrial combustion and 7 per cent from commercial, domestic and agricultural combustion.

* Carbon monoxide – Scottish emissions accounted for 8 per cent of UK emissions. Commercial, domestic and agricultural combustion accounted for 38 per cent of Scottish emissions, transport 30 per cent and 23 per cent came from industrial combustion.

* Lead – Scottish emissions accounted for 4 per cent of UK emissions. Industrial combustion accounted for 31 per cent of Scottish emissions, commercial, domestic and agricultural 28 per cent and energy industries 21 per cent.

The 1990-2013 figures in this Statistics Release are from the NAEI report "Air Quality Pollutant Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 1990 – 2013", produced by Aether and Ricardo-AEA 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 ammonia, carbon monoxide and PM10, "moderate" for NMVOCs and lead and "low" for nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide. 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.

Notes to editors

The publication together with full technical explanations can be accessed at :

Results for Scottish greenhouse gas emissions, also covered in the NAEI, were published in a separate statistics release on 9 June. For details see:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: