Some of the most polluted areas of Aberdeen saw huge improvements in air quality because of Covid-19, a campaign group has said.
Friends of the Earth Scotland wants reductions in pollution levels to be maintained after less traffic on the roads saw air quality improve.
Wellington Road, historically one of the city’s most-polluted areas, saw its average nitrogen dioxide level fall from 35 microgrammes per cubic metre in 2019 to 24.99 in 2020.
However, the charity warned pollution is likely to rise again as restrictions are eased.
Gavin Thomson, the organisation’s air pollution campaigner, said: “It’s a huge pity that it took a deadly pandemic to make a reduction in Aberdeen’s air pollution. Our car-dominated transport system was brought to a halt in spring, and this is why our annual averages of pollution are much lower than previous years. Any improvements in Aberdeen’s air quality have been short-lived with traffic quickly returning to pre-pandemic levels.
“We need to remember that pollution damages our health through long-term exposure, such as living near a main road throughout your childhood. The reduced pollution for a couple of months during the strictest lockdown is unlikely to have many long-term health benefits.
“The health links between air pollution and Covid-19 should push us to redouble our efforts to clean up our air and protect public health. The forthcoming Low Emission Zone should help us improve air quality permanently but lengthy delays, even before Covid, has forced people in Aberdeen to keep breathing polluted air.”