Air pollutant inventory report for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

23 October 2018

Article: 52/4210

On 16 October 2018, the UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) published the ‘Air Pollutant Inventory Report for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’. This report presents emission inventories for priority pollutants in the devolved administrations of the UK for the period 1990 to 2016.

In 2016, Scotland accounted for:

  • 12% of UK ammonia (NH3) emissions. Agricultural activity was responsible for 90% of this figure;
  • 8% of UK PM10 emissions. 32% of this figure came from combustion, 25% from industrial processes, 17% from transport sources and 15% from agriculture;
  • 18% of UK non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) emissions. Industrial processes (mainly breweries and distilleries) accounted for 48% of this figure, solvents and other product use 18% and fugitive emissions from fuels 14%;
  • 8% of UK PM2.5 emissions. 52% of this figure came from combustion and 21% from transport sources;
  • 10% of UK nitrogen oxides (NOX as NO2) emissions. Transport sources accounted for 50% of this figure, combustion 31% and energy industries 16%;
  • 7% of UK carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Combustion accounted for 65% of this figure and transport sources 27%;
  • 10% of UK sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. 48% of this figure came from power generation, 29% from combustion and 18% from transport sources;
  • 5% of UK lead (Pb) emissions. Combustion accounted for 42% of this figure, industrial processes 40% and energy industries 11%.

There are uncertainties associated with all estimates of pollutant emissions. The uncertainty ratings 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.

The report is available on the NAEI website

Source: Scottish Government, 16 October 2018