Scottish cities

This page provides modelled estimates of mean concentrations of microscopic particulate matter (PM2.5 - atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) and mortality attributable to PM2.5 in four Scottish cities.

Estimated mean concentrations of manmade (anthropogenic) PM2.5 in selected Scottish Cities

aq pm25 SCOT 2020

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Overall, the mean concentration of PM2.5 has decreased between 2010 and 2019.  Edinburgh had the highest mean concentration of PM2.5 for the majority of the period.  Glasgow typically had the second highest mean concentration.  All four major Scottish cities had higher mean concentrations than Scotland as a whole for most years.  Glasgow's average concentration was 8.3 μg/m3 in 2010; by 2019, this had declined to 5.9 μg/m3.

Particulate matter (PM2.5) estimated attributable deaths in selected Scottish cities

The evidence for the adverse effects of air pollution is strongest in relation to the impact of particulate matter, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Exposure to PM2.5 is associated with an increased overall risk of death and shorter average life expectancy, especially for people who already have poor heart or lung health. Increasing evidence suggests that particulate matter, even at relatively low levels, may increase the risk of a range of other illnesses.

PM2.5 Attributable Deaths - Scottish Cities

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Glasgow had the highest rate of estimated attributable deaths until 2015, when it was overtaken by Dundee. Generally, all four cities had higher rates of estimated attributable deaths than Scotland as a whole, until 2016. Overall, the number of estimated attributable deaths has declined over the time period, particularly in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.  In 2010, Glasgow had approximately 73 deaths per 100,000 adults (aged 25 and over) attributable to PM2.5; by 2016 this had declined to approximately 50 deaths per 100,000 adults.


These data are derived from the Air Pollution & Health Briefing Note (Mortality associated with exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5 attributable mortality) in Scotland) published by Health Protection Scotland in June 2018 (available at the link below):

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