Air pollution in Scotland's city centres is so bad that it will fail to meet the Scottish Executive's safety standards, an investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed.
Despite more than a decade of official efforts to cut the killer fumes from vehicle exhausts, concentrations on the streets of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are still relentlessly rising.
Local authorities now admit that they will be unable to meet the Executive's air quality targets for nitrogen dioxide and carbon particles in 2005 and 2010. Experts predict that public health will suffer as a result, which environmentalists say is "totally unacceptable".
Ministers, civil servants and environmental agencies who are supposed to be curbing pollution are travelling millions of miles a year by air – the most polluting form of transport – the Sunday Herald can reveal.