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Jan Feb 2022    Issue 189

Landfill judgment overturned

A landmark ruling telling the Environment Agency how to regulate a landfill has been quashed.

Waste illegal at Walley’s?

Following “new information”, the Environment Agency has launched an investigation into alleged illegal waste activities at sites operated by Red Industries.

GLA’s neutrality desire undermined

Despite championing concepts of air quality neutral and air quality positive, the GLA has seen off attempts by Hillingdon Council to challenge GLA’s interpretation of what is air quality neutral in a High Court Judicial Review.

Gothenburg revisited

The 41st session of the UNECE Air Convention may lead to a tightening of the Gothenburg Protocol which caps national emissions.

Farm payments

A shake up of farm payments may improve air quality. Defra has released a high level policy update on how it intends to change subsidies post-Brexit.

Covid link to AQ unjustified

Comeap chair Anna Hansell has warned against assuming Covid is worsened by air pollution.

NI air quality

There have been continued improvements in air quality in Northern Ireland, a report suggests.

Alphasense absorbed

Essex based sensor firm Alphasense has been taken over by AMETEK.

Early ULEZ results suggest success

The GLA reports 92% of vehicles are complying with expanded ULEZ £12.50 charge one month after introduction. Success does of course mean reduced revenue from fines.

Scottish air continues to improve

The yearly summary of air quality in Scotland reveals continued improvements.

T&E warns on synthetic fuels

European pressure group Transport and Environment warns that synthetic fuels will do little to solve air quality problem

Microplastic opportunity

Imperial is to carry out research into microplastic aerosols.

Trucks in G20

Strategies were compared for future truck emissions.

Nitrogen decision making aided by AQC

AQC has helped to define decision-making thresholds for air pollution impacts on designated nature conservation sites on behalf of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

Developments to demonstrate net gain

Nature neutrality will be introduced into development planning much as air quality neutrality.

Overheating: seal/no seal

The need to consider outdoor air quality is covered in new guidance to reduce overheating in buildings.

What next for air quality policy asks IAQM

Members of the Institute of Air Quality Management have delivered their views on climate and air quality policy

COP26 increases Scottish air pollution

Research suggests levels of the NO2 increased by nearly a third (30%) within a mile of COP26 in Glasgow before Christmas.

Rail monitoring

A new programme of air quality monitoring introduced across Britain's railways

Chideock proves a challenge

Attempts to resolve long running NO2 problems in the Dorset town of Chideock appear to have stalled.

Move to ban wood burning

With plenty of evidence that a ‘clean burning’ stove is oxymoron, the push begins for outright bans.

Vehicles: all you need to know

The Air Quality Expert Group has released a near-encyclopaedia on vehicle emissions. Half is not new, but some interesting threads emerge, finds Jack Pease

Ozone analysed by Aqeg

Ozone is a bit of a ‘forgotten’ pollutant – it has health effects, levels are not really dropping but management is complicated, finds Aqeg 

AQB: Important announcement

(Jack Pease writes)
It is with huge regret that I have to announce that publication of Air Quality Bulletin (and Noise Bulletin) is to cease. The last issue will be March.

December 2021 Issue 188

‘Illegal’ data centre refused

Part of a large four-hall data centre has been refused an Environment Agency permit due to emissions from a huge bank of standby generators.

Environment Bill finally becomes law

The Environment Bill has become the Environment Act – nearly three years after it was first introduced to Parliament. A crescendo of argument both inside Westminster and outside has accompanied the passage of the Bill most latterly with repeated rejection of attempts to strengthen air quality laws.

Bristol redirection

Bristol has been given a second ministerial direction to get on with its clean air zone.

178,000 saved with cleaner air

At least 58%, or 178,000, of the annual 307,000 European air quality deaths annually could have been avoided if all EU member states had reached the WHO’s new air quality guideline level of 5µg/m3, says a new report.

Ammonia abatement cheaper than NOx

A study suggests cutting ammonia is more cost effective than cutting transport emissions (see research p10).

Havering challenged

The London Borough of Havering is being asked to provide evidence that a living wall works

Brexit for Scotland

The UK Withdrawal from the EU (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 sets out how government ministers and other public authorities to ensure they pay due regard to the five guiding principles on the environment.

Assembly motion on burning

The London Assembly has called for the Mayor to begin a Londonwide awareness campaign to highlight the environmental evidence relating to wood burning fires.

Wood stove complaints not followed up

Mums for Lungs pressure group used freedom of information requests to councils to show the large number of complaints but little action.

Wood lobby demand enforcement

The wood fuel lobby is demanding extra enforcement of wood burner and fuel rules.

20% wood dilemna

Scottish MEP Rachael Hamilton asked the Scottish Government: “Whether it plans to decrease the moisture content limit for the sale of firewood to 20%, as set out in its consultation paper, Cleaner Air For Scotland 2, and, if so, whether it will provide details of the reasons for choosing the 20% limit, in light of hardwood that is airdried for two years in the traditional way reportedly having a moisture content of between 17% and 23%, which may mean that half of all such hardwood is unfit for sale?”

Woodburn bad

European pressure group EEB has restated fears that wood burning stoves are bad.

Champion for Scotland

A University of Stirling lecturer has been appointed Regional Clean Air Champion for Scotland, to help develop solutions to air quality challenges as part of the UK’s Clean Air Programme.

Emissions Toolkit

An updated version of the Emissions Factors Toolkit (EFT v11.0) is now available.

Eco posts for Stafford

A new initiative in Stafford will allow residents and visitors to monitor the town’s air quality.

Portsmouth charging clean air zone launches

The government-mandated charging clean air zone (CAZ) has launched last week (Monday 29 November) in Portsmouth. Drivers of private vans, cars and motorcycles will not be charged to drive in Portsmouth, no matter how old the vehicle is, unlike some other clean air zones in the UK such as Birmingham.

Shore power for Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council's cabinet has approved a strategy for shore power provision at Portsmouth International Port, which will allow visiting ships to switch their engines off whilst alongside.

Further detail on air quality tucked into Environment Bill

The Bill introduces a legally-binding duty on the government to bring forward at least two air quality targets by October 2022.

ULEZ success questioned

Imperial College researchers (Not ERG!) have questioned the benefits of London’s ultra low emission zone

Neutral and positive spelled out

Where London goes others follow – so GLA’s consultation on air quality neutral and air quality positive is welcome, finds Jack Pease


November 2021 Issue 187

London inequality reduces

Pollution exposure has become dramatically fairer in London in recent years, says a new report commissioned by the GLA.

ULEZ extended

The inner London ultra low emission zone is now operational. It is 18 times the size of the current central London zone and affects cars as well as heavies.

NO2 tubes plugs PCM modelling discrepancies

Results are now coming in for an enhanced national network of NO2 diffusion tubes. They are focussed on sites where the national PCM model disagrees with local calculations.

Edinburgh LEZ rejected

Not for the first time, Edinburgh has stepped back from taking action on transport at the eleventh hour. Councillors ambushed officers with amendments which succeeded in postponing clean air zone plans which were expected to be approved last week.

Odour models ranked

An industry body has reviewed odour models. Odour is particularly hard to model given acute sensitivity of the nose and inherently unstable nature of odours.

Sulphur dioxide from volcano drifts over

The continuing eruption of the La Palma volcano has seen a sulphur dioxide plume drift towards Europe, including parts of Kent.

LEZ analysis confounded by lockdowns

Lockdowns and subsequent traffic reductions have confounded the latest analysis of the London low emission zone.

Particle counts suggests constant numbers

Latest results have been released from the UK Airborne Particulate Concentrations and Numbers monitoring network.

Black carbon drifts down

Black carbon is the subject of a slew of reports released by Defra.

Mental health link

Air pollution may be linked to use of mental health services.

Churchill in

MP Jo Churchill has become the new air quality minister following Boris Johnson’s autumn ministerial reshuffle.

Sheffield zone

Sheffield City Council will create a Category C Clean Air Zone, accepting £24 million of Government funding to help local drivers upgrade to cleaner vehicle but subject to further consultation


PAHs remain relatively low in the UK, latest stats suggest.

Odour complaints rise

The Environment Agency 2020 annual report reveals odour to be an increasing problem.

Further analysis of Walley’s landfill judgment

Further analysis has emerged on the important Walley’s Landfill odour judgment which hinged on human rights (AQB October p1).

Well-to-wheel warning on hydrogen

The Zero Emission partnership ZEMO has compared well to wheel benefits of hydrogen vehicles.

Targets rejected in Bill talks

The lengthy Environment Bill debate in the House of Commons and Lords unveiled unambitious, unhurried air quality policy – with Government not expecting much improvement in the short term, finds Jack Pease

IAQM guidance for indoor air

With an increasing focus on indoor air, the Institute of Air Quality Management has released overdue guidance

Net zero frenzy is launched

Few can have avoided the COP26-fever and the Government’s warm-up act by way of setting out the UK’s pathway to becoming climate neutral. What are the implications for air quality, asks Jack Pease

Gas boiler reprieve in heat strategy

A mooted ban on gas boiler installation in 2025 has been replaced by an aspiration to phase out installation ‘beyond 2035’ in the Government’s heat strategy.

European air quality improves

Europe has produced its annual report on air quality across mainland Europe.


October 2021 Issue 186

WHO slashes NO2 to 10µg/m3

WHO air quality guidelines for NO2 drop from 40 to 10 and PM2.5 from 10 to 5.
l More page 5

Walley’s quarry: Agency told to get tough on odour

Permitting must take into account the most vulnerable residents in the vicinity of a process, says the High Court, and the Environment Agency must tell the operator how to cut emissions.
The Agency is appealing. l More page 8

Ozone alert

Widespread moderate ozone and particulates PM10 and PM2.5 were measured across London and the south-east of England on Sunday 5th September through to Wednesday 8th September.

Scottish struggle with PM

Scotland has extended a study on problematic ‘reference’ particle monitoring that has been giving large under-reads.
Bath restrictions leads to cleaner air

Bath's tight zone cleans the air

Despite having a highly targeted clean air zone, Bath is reporting reduced concentrations since restrictions were introduced.

Air quality in the Lords

Former Environmental Protection UK chairman Lord Whitty spotted a loophole in proposed air quality provisions in the Environment Bill currently passing through the Lords.

Local powers plea

UK local authorities and the City of London Corporation have tried again to get tough new powers to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and generators in the debate in the House of Lords on the Environment Bill.

London: all new buses to be zero emission

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announces that all new TfL buses in London will now be zero-emission, bringing forward by three years the previously announced deadline of a a 100% zero emission fleet to 2034.

Taxi exodus

Tougher emissions regulations are blamed for low demand for hackney cab licences in Nottingham.

DfT looks to cut train fumes

Research funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and conducted by RSSB, on six types of train, has found poor air quality on some diesel trains albeit within legal workplace limits.

Welsh on ozone

The Welsh Government is to rely on ozone machines to clean up indoor air. The machines are controversial as the cleansing impacts of ozone can also damage lungs.

Firmer evidence of Covid link

A meta-analysis commissioned by the Mayor of London appears to confirm that air pollution increases the impact of Covid. It includes more recent studies backing up earlier studies that suggested impacts.

UK updates air pollutant inventory

Pollutant inventories have been updated for the UK. Once again they show ammonia remains a problem pollutant.

More detail released on air quality grant

Defra has confirmed that air quality grant will be £7m this year and provided further details on priorities.


eptember 2021 Issue 185

Shipping warning for PM & NOx

An updated shipping emissions report commissioned by Defra suggests higher than expected levels of pollutants. Emissions pose a substantial risk for failing to comply with national emission ceilings.

Hydrogen strategy prompts AQ fears

Government has released its hydrogen strategy in a bid to reduce carbon.

WHO update soon?

A long awaited update to WHO air quality guidelines is expected to be released this month. The most likely outcome is that guidelines on PM2.5 exposure will be tightened further.

Clean air benefits spread

Claims that clean air zones worsen air outside their boundaries are dismissed in a new report by the Environmental Defence Fund.

Camden swamped by 250 sensors

Camden Council, Airlabs and Camden Clean Air Initiative have teamed up to install the “worlds densest network” of air quality sensors across the borough.

Ricardo reappointed

Ricardo is continuing its long-established partnership with the UK Government through its management of the UK’s National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI). It has had the contract for four decades.

More grant details

Further details have emerged for the increased air quality grant available to local authorities this year.

Low emission tyres trialled

Royal Mail is starting a trial in which emission-reducing tyres will be fitted to some of the company’s electric vans over the course of six to nine months. 

Further tyre tests underway

Real world testing firm Emission Analytics has repeated its warning about tyre dust in the air and carried out an analysis of tyre emissions.

Old vehicles down in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council has published its first monthly performance report for the clean air zone, which launched on 1 June 2021.

AQE remains virtual

This year’s Air Quality Exhibition (AQE) will remain virtual, organisers have announced.

Euro standards fail to capture low loads

Even the latest Euro 6 standards for trucks fail to capture all excess pollution.

Wildfire effects

Swiss firm IQair says that wildfires raging in America will lead to wider air quality impacts.

Postcode lookup

Air quality firm Earthsense is working with air and water purification specialist, Aqua Perfecta to provide air quality levels for UK postcodes and advise on air purifying solutions that reduce indoor pollution exposure.

City closure survives challenge

The High Court has allowed the City of London to make permanent an experimental closure justified on emission grounds.

Environment Agency strays into urban policy

The Environment Agency has reviewed urban air quality highlighting inequalities. The move is unusual as it is supposed to focus on industrial pollution and funding and political pressures have in the past led to it being told not to stray onto wider issues eg Heathrow Airport.

Cerc in the City

Consultant Cerc has modelled the City of London’s air quality progress.

Scottish Covid impact studied

Ricardo has carried out a detailed analysis of the air quality impacts of Covid lockdowns on air quality. As for analyses of England and Wales, the main impact has been on traffic-derived NOX and NO2.

Earthsense work with Sepa to educate kids

Monitor firm Earthsense is working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which is using Zephyr air pollution monitors to educate primary and secondary school children about air quality.

Greener shipping

Government has published as a draft the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) (Amendment) Regulations 2021

EU Covid impacts

The UNECE Air Convention Task Force met last month to discuss impacts of Covid lockdowns on air quality in the UNECE region

US warns on wildfire smoke

A new, first of its kind app launched today by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) shows Californians when and where controlled forest fires are being planned so they can prepare for potential smoke impacts.

Another attempt to tighten PM2.5 in USA

The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will reconsider the previous administration’s (Trump’s) decision to retain the 12µg/m3 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which were last strengthened in 2012.

Cenex warns of postcode lottery for charging

Alternative fuel vehicle promoter Cenex says chargepoint provision for electric vehicles is patchy.

£20m zero help

Winners of zero-emission vehicle competition have been announced.

1,000 charge points

Westminster City Council and Siemens have installed more than 1,000 on-street electric vehicle charging points in the City of Westminster, making Westminster the first local authority in the UK to reach this milestone.

Walley’s whiff goes to court

Frustration boils over in social media and the courts over the continued failure to cut landfill emissions in Staffordshire





August 2021 Issue 184

Walleys landfill kicks up a stink

Residents are at their wits end about inaction over odours and health concerns at Walley’s Landfill near Stoke on Trent.

Builders moot ‘safe haven’ guidance

Building firms have set out guidance to create air quality ‘safe havens’.

Fleming solo (again)

Peter Fleming is now operating as a specialist consultant dealing with all aspects of air quality monitoring, independent of commercial monitor firms.He aims to offer unbiased advice based on his over 30 years of experience. He is operating under the name “Peter Fleming Air Quality”

Silvertown probe

Three new sites measuring NO2 have recently been added to the LAQN, two in Newham and one in Greenwich.

Six week campaign at UK supersites

Researchers have started an intensive six-week measurement programme at air quality supersites across the UK, aiming to provide new insight into the formation of air pollution, and its impact on people.

Starbucks allowed at appeal

Harrogate Borough Council has lost an appeal against a Starbucks drive through with air quality objections overruled.

Research focus shifts indoors

Three new research projects will investigate how air pollutants (including outdoor-derived air) in indoor spaces can adversely affect the health of the people inhabiting them.

Aqeg needs seven

There has been large turnover at the Air Quality Expert Group which advises Defra on policy. It is seeking seven new members.

Free range chickens rejected

A planning inspector has rejected an appeal for a free range chicken extension 1.2km away from the River Wye Special Area of Conservation due to ammonia fears. The case hinged on where the hens poop.

Highways England struggles once again

Analysis of Highways England’s performance on air quality reveals that it continues to struggle to come to terms with its air quality commitments.

ULEZ launch

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says asthma attack findings justify launch of an expanded ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).

Bristol CAZ booted back a year

Bristol’s clean air zone has been delayed yet again – it is now planned in ‘summer’ 2022 despite having been directed to introduce it this October.

Further delays for Newcastle CAZ

Newcastle City Council has announced further delays and dilution of its clean air zone.

Healthy streets

The 2021 Healthy Streets Scorecard shows huge divergence in action among London boroughs on measures to improve streets during the Covid crisis.

Only way for Essex

Basildon Council and Essex County Council have been directed to comply with requirements to cut NO2.

City comparisons

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched the European city air quality viewer. Users can check how the air quality has been over the past two years compared to other cities.

Angus closures

SEPA is monitoring air quality levels around two Montrose schools and educating pupils about air pollution through SEPA’s ‘Learn About Air’ educational initiative.

Councils try to tighten bill

The Local Government Association, London Councils and the City of London have attempted to insert extra provisions into the Environment Bill.

Bristol Airport planning inquiry opens

The inquiry into the appeal by Bristol Airport Limited against the refusal by North Somerset Council to grant planning permission for an expansion of Bristol Airport opened last month.

Uttlesford objects

Uttlesford District Council has submitted its challenge to the High Court to overturn Stansted Airport expansion approved at appeal

Scotland finalises CAFS 2 strategy

Scotland’s lead over the UK in terms of air quality policy has narrowed of late – has Scotland got anything new to say?

PM2.5 limits: easier said than done

Adoption of PM2.5 targets within the Environment Bill is easier said than done, finds Jack Pease. Some good quality deep thinking has been taking place on what to do next now ambient air is so much cleaner.


July 2021 Issue 183

No to Ocado depot near school

Ocado has been rebuffed in its attempts to open a distribution depot near a primary school in North London.

Ricardo in non-exhaust emission probe

Ricardo, in collaboration with the Arup-Aecom consortium is supporting the DfT in developing a system for measuring non-exhaust emissions (NEE) of particles, under real-world driving conditions.

£8m grant this year

Defra will launch another Air Quality Grant Scheme this autumn for the 21/22 scheme year with £8m of funding available.
A key change is the majority of the fund is capital: £6m capital and £2m revenue. Details will not be released until autumn.

Hansell for Comeap

Professor Anna Hansell has been appointed as chair of Comeap, replacing ERG’s Professor Frank Kelly.
Hansell is Professor of Environmental Epidemiology, Director of the Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability and Director of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Environmental Exposures and Health at the University of Leicester.
Her research interests include the health effects of air pollutants and of environmental noise.

Paul Elliott CBE

Prof Paul Elliott, Director of the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, has been awarded a CBE in the latest Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to scientific research in public health. Much of work in previous years has been on air quality.

Bloomberg boost

Breathe London will now see more than 300 low-cost sensors installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations.
This improves access to high quality, reliable data for London’s community groups, charities, businesses, individuals, academics and boroughs for the first time. Community groups and charities will be able to access the service at a discounted rate. It is funded by the Mayor of London and supported by Bloomberg. 

2024 date for Edinburgh LEZ

Edinburgh will have a two year grace period for its proposed LEZ meaning enforcement will not start till 2024.

...and delayed start for Glasgow

A statutory public consultation has opened on the proposed scheme design for Phase 2 of Glasgow's Low Emission Zone, which when enforced from 1 June 2023 will apply to all vehicles driving into the city centre. It has a grace period much like Edinburgh (above).

Date set for Manchester CAZ

A promise of £150m of central Government funding has enabled Greater Manchester to announce its clean air zone will start in May 2022. It had been due to start this year.

Clean Waltham

Last year levels of air pollution across Waltham Forest fell below the legal limits for the first time since records began.

Oxford drops

Over the past year, air pollution levels in Oxford dropped by an average of 29% – achieving the lowest levels of air pollution since monitoring began in 1996.

Birmingham charging

Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone finally started in earnest on 14 June 2021 following a two week delay to enforcement.
Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards for the zone will be subject to an £8 (for cars, vans and taxis) or £50 (for HGVs, coaches etc) daily fee, unless a valid exemption is in place.

City comparisons

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched the European city air quality viewer. Users can check how the air quality has been over the past two years in the city where you live and compare it with other cities across Europe.
l themes/air/urban-air-quality/european-city-air-quality-viewer

25% of schools above limits

Research released to coincide with last month’s Clean Air Day suggests a quarter of English schools are located in areas above air quality limits.

Air hub takeover

The Air Quality Hub – previously run by the Low Emission Strategy Group – is now being managed by Bureau Veritas.

LAQM Portal

The LAQM Portal is now live. The Portal incorporates the previous Report Submission Website (RSW) and the Diffusion Tube Data Entry System (DTDES), providing all local authorities with a single access point to submit and maintain all relevant information regarding LAQM.

‘Outcomes indicator’ updated

A number of indicators have been updated in support of the 10 goals in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Ricardo reports

Ricardo has provided local authorities with air quality analysis reports in the face of lockdown restrictions.
Ricardo said: “For the first time, towns and cities can now see how their air quality would be affected month-by-month when there are significantly reduced numbers of vehicles on the roads.

German fail

Germany has been accused of persistently violating EU limits on air quality. The UK suffered a similar fate earlier this year (AQB April p1).

Defra sets out research plans

Defra has set out updated research thinking in a “collective high level updated research and innovation interest from across the Defra group for the coming years”.

Nitrogen puzzle for ecosystems

The UK is generally improving in terms of ecosystem protection but there remain some nitrogen issues.

Double deckers go hydrogen fuel cell

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched England’s first hydrogen fuel cell double decker buses. Single deckers have been about for some time.

Ozone event

London’s ERG researchers report widespread moderate ozone was measured across London and south-east England on Monday 31st May through to Wednesday 2nd June.

Aether on emissions

Consultant Aether reports that nearly 200 air quality inventory compilers, modellers and policy makers from around the world participated in the 2021 meeting of the UN’s Task Force on Emission Projections (TFEIP). Aether’s Chris Dore co-chaired the three day event.

Inquest response gives away little

A much anticipated response from the Government to the damning coroner’s report into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah proves a damp squib, Jack Pease reports.

25 years of LAQM: are we there yet?

On Clean Air Day 2021, Steve Moorcroft and Tim Williamson of Air Quality Consultants Ltd reflect on the changes in air quality and air quality policy over the last 25 years, and the challenges still with us.

IAQM mulls low cost v reference issues

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) recently organised a webinar in which Bruno Beloff from the company South Coast Science examined the thorny issue of whether low-cost air quality monitors are able to offer data of sufficient accuracy and reliability to be comparable with reference grade monitors.

June 2021 Issue 182

Air quality no bar to housing

Air quality is not an issue for a huge housing estate in Kent that had been to appeal and then called in by the Secretary of State.

30mph speed limit on trunk road to remain

A 30mph speed limit on a Highways England trunk road put in to improve air quality is set to remain. A Highways England air quality trial suggests there have been improvements.

Stansted yes

Stansted Airport has won an appeal to increase its yearly passenger capacity to 43 million people, despite huge objections from Uttlesford District Council which has been stung with costs for refusing permission on grounds including air quality.

Woodburning woes

IAQM heard from Merton EHO Davide Pascarella on the difficulties of new woodsmoke legislation.

School streets for Manchester

Greater Manchester has allocated funding to create 50 School Streets by March 2022.

Birmingham five emissions research

The University of Birmingham-led Transition Clean Air Network has announced it is funding five new research projects aimed at improving air quality by reducing harmful transport emissions.

US inequity

The American Lung Association says 4 in 10 people (135 million) in the U.S. live in high pollution areas, with black people were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people.

Phase out hard

The Public Accounts Committee says Government has set ambitious targets to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and for all new cars to be zero-emission from 2035, but with just 11% of new car registrations for ultra-low emission cars in 2020 it will be a “huge challenge” to get this to 100% in the next 14 years.

Khan re-election secures ULEZ

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been re-elected for a second term of office and quickly pledged to proceed with the expansion of the ultra low emission zone.

Birmingham CAZ hiccup sees two week delay

Within minutes of Birmingham’s clean air zone launch, the city council was obliged to grant a two week period of grace before fining non compliant vehicles.

Queen’s Speech

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment has welcomed the Queen’s Speech commitment to the Environment Bill.

Europeans support end to fossil fuel cars

Public support for an end to sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 is greater than previously thought, according to a new opinion poll commissioned by pressure group T&E.

Euro 7... followed by Euro 8

Real world emission specialist Emission Analytics says that Euro 7 emission standards are unlikely to be the last whatever the rhetoric of banning petrol and diesel vehicles.

Staffordshire to solve pollution with greenery

A small panel of greenery is being installed to solve air quality problems at a Staffordshire school.

Desmog blacklist

Protest group Desmog has published a database of 20 organisations who have publicly lobbied against clean air zones.

Portsmouth grant

Grants for businesses on the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth will be available in readiness for Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) launch in November 2021.

Directive revision process starts

The European Commission has published a timetable for the revision of the Air Quality Directive with consultation already underway. Even though the UK has left the EU, provisions of the directive will inevitably affect the UK, a key driver is to move closer to WHO air quality standards.

....and sets out snapshot of emissions

A new EU report presents an analysis of the prospects for the air pollution situation in the EU up to 2030 and beyond.

Schools survey

The University of the West of England is seeking help on school runs through on online survey

Vehicles no longer primary smog culprit

Aerosol products now release more volatile organic compound pollution than all cars in the UK, according to new research by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and University of York.

Odour and flies stop waste bid

A controversial waste depot in Bristol has been refused permission due to odour and flies. It is next to a day nursery

Council stumps up to fight fire to stop smoke

There has been a large scale fire at a chemical works in Telford leading to air quality warnings.

Remote sensing and cameras refine data

Ricardo and camera firm Vivacity Labs have released new data on remote sensing.

Smart city link

Sensor firm Earthsense is to partner with UK data analytics professionals, Proximity Futures, as a Zephyr sensor distributor.

Commons debate calls for regulator

With the Environment Bill back on the Parliamentary agenda (third time lucky?) – MPs have tabled a Private Member’s Bill to argue the case for an independent regulator.

Lords regulation debate draws policy criticism

Industrial reporting needs to be transferred from European law into UK law now the Brexit transition is complete.

Costs follow Stansted U-turn

Air quality was a key part of Uttlesford’s last ditch efforts to prevent expansion at Stansted. The council will pay dearly for its U-turn, finds Jack Pease

Ignoring officers’ advice leads to award of costs

It is the costs judgment where more subjective arguments can be found about whether Uttlesford was wise to defend the appeal. Short answer is that it was doomed, inspectors made it very clear Uttlesford has been unreasonable, with a full award of costs made against the council.

Earthsense award

Monitor firm Earthsense has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise following consistent 60% annual company growth over a number of years.


May 2021 Issue 181

Leicester CAZ loses funding

Leicester is the latest city to decide against charging dirty vehicles saying the Government will no longer fund a clean air zone.

Lawyers warn of legal pollution risk

Lawyers have warned that decreased air quality levels due to Covid could lead to home buyers being misled and making a legal claim.

£300k brain study

Queen Mary University of London researchers have been awarded a £300,000 grant to study the impact of air pollution on children’s brain function and mental health.

Comeap workload

Comeap has released a list of its current work programme. A paper on adverse birth outcomes is in draft form – and a report on cognitive decline and dementia is being prepared for publication.

MPs warn of ‘lack of ambition’

MPs on the House of Commons environment committee say the Government has ignored calls to change its Environment Bill to tackle vast health inequalities exacerbated by air pollution

Fidas under-read analysed in Scotland

Fidas particle monitoring equipment has been found to under-read compared to the FDMS particle monitors they replaced.

European study says 10,000 biomass deaths

European modelling has shown that wood burning emissions may be underestimated.

Jersey delays

Rollout of 300 Airsensa monitors in Jersey has been delayed, Jersey Parliament has been told.

Power points to cut canalside smoke

Camden Council has been awarded £65,500 from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions at a popular canal mooring location.

Car park dust leads to sanction

Rugby Borough Council has been told by the Ombudsman that it handled complaints of dust poorly.

Birmingham pre-empts CAZ with action plan

With go-live for the city’s clean air zone due within weeks, Birmingham, has updated its air quality action plan.

LAQM helpdesk reveals raft up updates

The local air quality management helpdesk has released the latest 2021 LAQM Report Templates and other updates.

Research studentships available

Imperial college has a PhD studentship opportunity looking at perceptions of air pollution, health and Covid in BAME communities

Woodsure compliance

Local authorities are being expected to enforce the Woodsure £500-a-year ‘dry wood’ certification scheme.

Agency cuts incident response

Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan has hinted that funds for enforcement will be tight – with air quality not even mentioned. Flooding appears to be taking centre stage.

CBI attempts to cost clean air zones

Analysis from CBI Economics, commissioned by Clean Air Fund, claims that UK clean air zones will make residents healthier and wealthier by reducing NO2.

Covid bounceback

Air pollution is returning to pre-Covid levels, satellite data suggests.

Reduced benefits

York University has confirmed the latest UK lockdown – less stringent than the first – has led to reduced air quality benefits.

Belgium to count particles

In a bid to stop the widespread removal of DPFs, Belgium is trialling a particle number check at the annual check.

Consultation to meet Stockholm Convention

Regulations on POPs are to be updated, a consultation states.

Damage cost from industrial pollution cut

Damage costs of industrial pollution has dropped markedly, a new report finds.

Building layout key to reducing pollutants

Surrey University has been awarded a £1.8m grant to lead a study on the effects tall buildings have on the urban environment

Metro mayor air pollution manifesto

With local elections imminent, the British Safety Council has issued a proposed manifesto for metro mayors.

Ammonia down

Ammonia emissions dropped slightly in 2019, the latest period covered by official inventories.

Tax electric vehicles

An OECD report warns of the growing relative contribution of non-exhaust particles to the urban mix.

Coroners report details failings

The coroner for the inquest into nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah provides a little more detail than the skeleton ruling earlier this year.

Government shrugs off committee criticism

Earlier this year the Commons Environment Committee criticised government air quality in the face of the Covid crisis. The Government has now responded.

First peek at CAZ evaluation

In perhaps the first public output from the Joint Air Quality Unit, a report outlines how clean air zones are developing and what the public thinks of them.


April 2021 Issue 180

Europe confirms UK breach

The highest European Court has confirmed the UK’s infringement of air quality directives.

GLA consults on air quality positive guidance

The London plan appears to encourage – but not require – ‘air quality positive’ thinking.

Bath starts

Bath introduced its charging Class C Clean Air Zone last month. Birmingham is next – a class D zone from 1 June.

Electric change

The Budget saw changes to UK car, van, and truck grants.

Diesel bus ban

overnment is consulting on the ending of the sale of new diesel buses.

Health cash down

The Health Foundation has responded to the announcement of public health grant allocations for 2021–22.

Bedford school street

Bedford Borough Council has announced plans to introduce a pilot of its School Street initiative around Cauldwell School in March 2021.

Another chicken farm rejected

Planning permission for a chicken farm in Suffolk has been quashed in the High Court on odour grounds.

Which english local authorities share newly allocated £5m grant

Local air quality grants in England have been near-doubled and relaxed to allow more varied initiatives.

Scappage starts in Coventry

A handful of motorists have taken advantage of a scheme to buy up their older polluting cars crushed in exchange for £3,000 worth of alternative transport voucher

Birmingham opts for new car grant

Birmingham City Council has partnered with a firm to offer people working in the clean air zone the chance to scrap their old car and receive £2,000 credit towards a compliant vehicle, or a mobility credit.

Principles mooted in Environment Bill

Government is consulting on environmental principles as it develops the Environment Bill.

2019 improvement

An annual report on emissions suggests a slight improvement in 2019, the latest data which is available.

Smart city link

Sensor firm Earthsense is to partner with UK data analytics professionals, Proximity Futures, as a Zephyr sensor distributor.

Oxford ZEZ draws nearer

Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone Pilot is set for approval, after further improvements were made following a final round of public consultation.

Formal start to new Breathe London network

The Mayor has launched the revamped Breathe London sensor network. It replaces a previous network of 100 AQMesh sensors (AQB Feb p4).

Longhurst heads Epuk

UWE’s Jim Longhurst is to become president of Environmental Protection UK, replacing Lord Whitty who had been president for the past four years.

Urea weak

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett says controls on urea fertiliser are not enough to reduce ammonia sufficiently.

Covid confounds ULEZ analysis

A fifth report into the impact of tight vehicle restrictions in London struggles to untangle lockdown impacts from ULEZ policies.

Keeping Covid benefits

AQC asked what policy measures would be needed post-lockdown to replicate the benefits seen in the lockdown.

Joint action helps

The renowned Stockholm Environment Institute says climate action can also improve air pollution and human health impacts

School streets closure may help

You’d imagine that closing school streets to traffic would have a dramatic impact. Seemingly not. AQC has had to look very hard to prove success, finds Jack Pease

Attitudinal survey yields extra data

TfL commissioned research to explore parents’ awareness, attitudes and any changes to their travel behaviour as a result of School Streets delivered by boroughs across London. The results are interesting and with conclusions relevant to other policy interventions.


March 2021 Issue 179

Manchester officers ‘failed’

Manchester Council officers “materially misled” their planning committee on air quality. Health impacts were also emphasised as material in a judicial review of the city’s approval of a car park.

MOT emission test failures increase tabled a freedom of information request revealing increasing emission failures at MOT tests.

Poultry planning permit problem

Powys Council is set to reverse planning permission for a 110,000-bird poultry farm.

Fuller a champion

Imperial’s Gary Fuller has been appointed one of three air quality champions, replacing Martin Williams who died suddenly last year (AQB October 2020 p5).
He will join the existing champions, Professor Sir Stephen Holgate and Dr Jenny Baverstock.

Stansted inquiry kicks off

With echoes of the huge Heathrow planning inquiries, air quality is being scrutinised as big-name consultants lock horns in the battle to expand Stansted Airport.

Warnings on latest public health shake up

The Royal Society of Public Health has called for public health to be central in proposed health and social care reforms. It was responding to Department of Health’s legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill.

Nitrogen challenge

Natural England’s advice on nitrogen is to be challenged indirectly by a pressure group.

Zephyr deal

Enviro Technology has renewed its partnership with Earthsense for a further two years.

AQMA thwarts Oxford housing

Air quality was a key reason to reject a 660-home development near Oxford. St John’s College wanted to develop the land east of Oxford but the 85 acre development was judged to lead to extra traffic and pollution in an AQMA.

Gas power tests importance of small impacts

A gas powered generating station has been refused at appeal for failing the air quality neutral test.

Roads NPS U-turn

Pressure group Transport Action Network appears to have prompted a review of the National Policy Statement on Roads.
Amongst papers supporting the a legal challenge to the NPS, it has emerged that transport secretary Grant Shapps ignored civil service advice that expanded road building plans were incompatible with environmental and air quality commitments.

Dry wood rules

Details have been released on the certification schemes for dry firewood.

Ricardo to analyse hybrid geolocation

Ricardo is to enhance transport location data so that hybrid electric vehicles can intelligently modify how they operate to help improve air quality in towns and cities

Modelling guidance

Modelling guidance last updated in 2004 has been revised by the Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Liaison Committee.

London schools get helpdesk

A helpdesk has been set up to help London schools improve local air quality and cut exposure.

...European schools also

The London initiative comes as more than 100 schools from eight European countries participated in the citizen science CleanAir@School initiative, organised by the European European Agency (EEA). The initiative saw school children measure pollution levels, learn about air quality and promote actions for cleaner air.

School Zephyrs.

Earthsense Zephyr air quality sensors have been deployed throughout a group of schools in the City of London.

Care homes in polluted areas

Lung health charities have commissioned CERC research showing that over half of people in England aged 65 and over are living in areas with high PM2.5.

Scottish air discussed at EPS event

Environmental Protection Scotland held a stakeholder event on the Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 (CAFS 2) consultation document.

Index expanded

Emission specialists have beefed up an independent real world index of vehicle emissions.

Scooter sensor

A new Voi scooter can now come with optional smart pollution sensors, as well as noise and light sensors, for the first time to help identify areas with poor air quality and high levels of noise pollution

MPs look at post-Covid air

MPs have scrutinised what air quality could look like after the Covid pandemic

Leicester upgrades

Leicester City Council is working with local firm Earthsense to carry out a detailed citywide study of the sources and concentrations of PM2.5 particulates and other pollutants and real time monitoring data.

Health Effects Institute to study Covid impact

The US Health Effects Institute says that emerging theories on air quality and Covid have prompted setting up of five new studies on the issues arising:

Who burns what and why?

Defra has snuck out a report on wood burning in response to growing concerns about the inexorable rise of domestic smoke emissions. Jack Pease picks over the report which contains some interesting thoughts.

CAA not used

Bristol answered a Freedom of Information request on how many actions it had taken under the Clean Air Act: “We confirm that no formal enforcement action was taken in 2020.

February 2021 Issue 178

 CAZ tier 5 to end Epping block

Charging motorists, even for petrol cars in a ‘tier 5’ scheme, could be a means by which to end a planning freeze in Epping Forest. No new development is allowed to reduce the impact of nitrogen on the special area of conservation (AQB March 2020).

Environment Bill delayed for third time

The Environment Bill has been bumped to the next Parliamentary session – its third such delay.

Bull leaves Arup

Following nearly 25 years at Arup, Michael Bull is on the move.

All buses now ULEZ

All buses in Transport for London’s (TfL’s) 9,000-strong bus fleet now meet or exceed the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards. The proportion of transport NOx emissions coming from TfL’s buses has reduced from 15% to 4%.

Reporting during lockdown

Defra and the devolved regions will give added flexibility to council air quality reporting requirements due to Covid difficulties. Advice on how to handle data and AQMAs is also given.

Action plan nag

Local authorities are being reminded to upload how their AQMAs are covered by air quality action plans.

Wandsworth installs £30,000 City Tree

Wandsworth has installed a City Tree in Putney High Street near its junction with Putney Bridge Road as part of a major ongoing improvement project for the town.

FoI reveals Stoke struggles with CAZ

A Freedom of Information request has unveiled behind the scenes struggles between local authorities and the Defra/DfT joint air quality unit charged with making councils put in clean air zones.

Cambridge rise

Air quality at some Cambridge monitoring sites was higher in November compared to previous years.

Heat pumps bad

Gas users warn that proposed phasing out of NO2 - producing gas boilers in favour of electric heat pumps will fail. UK will not have enough zero carbon electricity until 2040 to power the heat pumps.

Aqeg calls for indoor evidence

The Air Quality Expert Group is reviewing the topic of indoor air quality for Defra.

Lawyers reflect on Ella verdict

A group of lawyers have analysed the impact of partially blaming air pollution on a death certificate for a young girl who died of asthma.

Consultation on post-Brexit BAT

A consultation has been launched on a proposed Best Available Technique (BAT) regime can be set up in the UK. Brexit means the UK cannot rely on European guidance.

More ventilation required in new buildings

Covid has prompted increased focus on additional ventilation new buildings and internal CO2 monitoring may be mandated.

Agency unenforcement

Freedom of Information requests by The Times have unveiled correspondence suggesting the Environment Agency does not have resources to carry out enforcement work effectively.

Liverpool Five

Enviro Technology Services supply five “reference method” NOx/NO2 air quality monitoring stations to Liverpool City Council.

Sensor switch for Breathe London

Breathe London is turning its back on 100 (relatively) tried and tested AQMesh sensors in favour of a little known Californian tech firm with new-to-the-UK sensors.

Sensor certification clarified. None!

Defra has set out “details of the current status of certification schemes for sensor systems” – by saying there are none!

Euro 7 concern

The European motor industry lobby group ACEA has listed its gripes about the development of the future Euro 7 vehicle standard.

Brain effect evidence grows

Dr Ian Mudway of Imperial College has told the London Assembly of growing evidence that air pollution can affect brain health.

Beware of unintended impacts of electrics

Emission Analytics has warned of unexpected outcomes of the dash for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). It has previously warned that higher weights can lead to increased brake and tyre dust.

NI’s Hydrogen bus

The first hydrogen powered double decker buses have entered service in Northern Ireland.

Woodland value

A study has provided quantitative evidence of the natural capital benefits of planting new woodlands shows little air quality benefit.

Cremations cap

A cap on cremations has been suspended in California due to excess number of deaths from Covid.

Manchester minutes CAZ stresses

A detailed briefing for councillors throws a spotlight on the day to day stresses of attempting to comply with directions to create a clean air zone. Covid lockdown changes may mean even more money is needed.

Death numbers redone in London

An exhaustive analysis of current and future deaths has been revisited in London. Numbers have dropped dramatically.

White Paper for Welsh clean air

A new Clean Air Act is central to Wales’ plans for air quality going forward, Jack Pease looks at the new consultation

Leicester upgrades monitoring in the city

Leicester City Council is working with local firm EarthSense to carry out a detailed citywide study of the sources and concentrations of PM2.5 particulates and other pollutants and real time monitoring data.

Leicester upgrades monitoring in the city

Leicester City Council is working with local firm EarthSense to carry out a detailed citywide study of the sources and concentrations of PM2.5 particulates and other pollutants and real time monitoring data.

Covid analysis from Welsh expert thinktank

An independent panel of experts have analysed the impacts of Covid and what it means for Welsh air quality. Their conclusions hold for other parts of the UK.

Coal burn up

Soon after a record lull in coal burning, coal burning has risen, says a nuclear lobby group.


January 2021 Issue 177

Inquest blames air pollution

The re-run of an inquest into a young asthmatic girl has listed air pollution as a cause of death.

Chorley nursery block

Plans for a children’s nursery have stalled following air quality concerns reportedly prompted by the inquest finding (see left).

Hackney plan unilaterally adopts WHO limit

Hackney London Borough’s proposed new action plan will unilaterally adopt WHO air quality objectives at a time Government has yet to adopt a PM2.5 limit in a new bill.

Chair for new body

Dame Glenys Stacey has been selected as the Government’s preferred candidate to become the chair of the Office for Environmental Protection. The Office for Environmental Protection is the flagship body intended to replace the oversight role of Europe post-Brexit as contained in Environment Bill.

Lockdown impact benefit small

The air quality benefit of lockdown is not as widespread as assumed, a report from the Centre for Cities claims. Policy needs to be rebalanced to preserve effects.

Covid risk and air pollution re-studied

A new study has been launched to better understand the link between air pollution and increased risk of developing Covid.

Busy roadside school rejected

A hotly fought appeal has been dismissed for a school in a dense urban area on air quality grounds despite being below objective limits.

Heathrow abandons ULEZ and expansion back on

Heathrow is to bring in a vehicle access charge but has abandoned its planned ultra low emission zone, blaming a collapse in revenue due to the Covid lockdown. It argues the new policy is required to prevent a “car led” Covid recovery – it has recently abandoned its free bus policy around the airport.

Heathrow ruling ‘changes nothing’

Councils opposed to Heathrow expansion say a Supreme Court ruling allowing expansion changes nothing and called on the airport to abandon its bid for a third runway.

Environment Bill found lacking by lawyers

Environmental specialist barristers at 39 Essex Chambers have analysed last month’s passage of the Environment Bill.

Probe dropped

A police probe into manipulated air quality data in Cheshire East has been dropped.

Bradford presses on

Bradford is continuing with its plans for a clean air zone despite nearby Leeds abandoning its zone and the Covid lockdown.

Short term measures of little help

A wide ranging and well researched set of reports argue that short term measures may be attractive but may not be the solution to poor air quality

Local monitoring data now available

Defra has fulfilled a pledge to bring together local air quality data on its national data website.

Euro 7 fears

The European motor industry lobby group ACEA has listed its gripes about the development of the future Euro 7 vehicle standard.

Air pollution to blame for girl’s death

Campaigners welcome the ruling that air pollution can be put on a young asthmatic’s death certificate. The decision is popular – but is it scientifically and legally robust, Jack Pease dares to ask?

Comment: simon birkett welcomes landmark result

The coroner concluded that air pollution ‘significantly caused’ and ‘significantly contributed’ to Ella’s death. This has three important consequences

Editor’s comment: is the linkage stretching the science?

Any instances of poor science creeping into policy will play in to the hands of those seeking to resist the very obvious need to clean up air as much as possible.

December 2020 Issue 176

Norwich reversal features AQ

A huge residential scheme for 1,250 flats in Norwich has been refused by the secretary of state overturning the decision of a planning inspector.

Inquest ongoing

The inquest has started into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a young girl who lived alongside London’s South Circular Road and died of asthma.

Ammonia cuts proposed for farmers

Farmers face cuts in urea use in a bid to cut ammonia emissions. Defra launched a consultation that proposed banning of dry urea choosing the most draconian option despite an unfavourable cost benefit analysis.

Sprayed concrete cap too dusty

The Environment Agency has refused a permit for a firm that thought it a good idea to cap waste with sprayed concrete to reduce dust emissions.

Planning reforms fail to consider air

Clear Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett says planning reforms should take more heed of poor air quality.

Welsh clean air

The Welsh Clean Air Forum has been told of the timetable for a Welsh Clean Air White Paper.

Essex charge dropped

A scheme to relocate shared pedestrian and cyclist crossings could avoid the need for a charging clean air zone in Basildon.

Pow sinks clean air duty

The Environment Bill is progressing through Parliament and is being discussed in committee. MPs attempted to insert a clean air duty into the bill in a bid to increase protections.

MPs scrutiny reveals pressure on councils

MPs on the Commons environment committee have been grilling experts in their latest (the fifth) probe into air quality.

Bonfire night alert

Widespread moderate PM10 and PM2.5 was measured across London on Thursday 5th November. High PM10 measured at eight sites and four sites measured high PM2.5

Newcastle delay

A legal challenge continues to delay plans to introduce a clean air zone in Newcastle city centre, councils in Newcastle and Gateshead have confirmed.

Hybrids not as efficient as billed

Hybrids may have improved air quality where there is widespread take up but they are not as efficient as claimed, says pressure group Transport & Environment.

Fuel ban by 2030

Government is brought forward its 2040 target date to 2030 for a ban on the sale of pure petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Too-short stack plea rejected

A challenge against a short stack on an Essex Incinerator has failed.

Defra consults on PM2.5

The much flagged move towards a target for ambient PM2.5 comes a step closer with the Defra launch of a consultation on how a target should be set.

More help to clean up London schools

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has set up a helpdesk to help more London schools reduce air pollution impacts.

Covid studied in latest IAQM award

This year’s Ian McCrae award has been won by Melody Horan. Entrants were asked to write about the impacts of Covid on air quality.

Early Covid gains have been lost

Air Quality Consultants has updated its analysis of the lockdowns on air quality.

School run parents admit to idling

Despite attempts to reduce impacts of air pollution in children, car maker Renault says Covid may worsen exposure.

Emergency measures

GLA is part-way through releasing studies on whether short term measures can improve air quality.

Zero(ish) emission zone for Oxford

Oxford says its tiny proposed zero emission zone will be a pilot for a larger zone in a resumed consultation paused earlier in the year due to Covid lockdown.

No effect levels studied

Air Quality Consultants is working is looking at no-effect levels of pollutants on ecosystems. The issue is of added importance given NO2 impacts on habitats such as Ashdown Forest and the New Forest.

Local action key to achieving targets

Air Quality Consultants Ltd was also part of the project team which assessed the potential to control nitrogen deposition on conservation sites. The firm has become increasingly involved in developing deposition-related policy (see also news above).

Speeds report slipped out

Highways England has been dragged kicking and screaming into action to deal with emissions from its network. It has steadfastly refused to contemplate reducing speeds to cut emissions but having been shamed by Welsh success, has finally accepted the inevitable.

Four sites for Highways England air quality speed limit trials

Highways England has set out where it will use 60mph speed limit trials to improve air quality.

More consultation for Scotland

Five years after it went it alone, Scotland fleshes out its second air quality strategy

Northern Ireland has set out first strategy in a new consultation.

It lists a series of questions – below are some of the questions that don’t belong to the list of ‘usual suspects’ eg public education:

European air quality unpicked

The yearly European Environment Agency air quality report becomes more useful each year, this including rushed thoughts on Covid

Impacts of covid and air quality in other European countries

The report attempts to sum up latest impacts of Covid on European air quality: “Measures taken by governments across Europe in early 2020 to manage the outbreak had an impact on many of the upstream economic activities that drive emissions of air pollutants, thus affecting air quality. There is also early evidence to suggest that exposure to air pollution can influence human vulnerability and susceptibility to the disease.

November 2020 Issue 175

Free range hens breach limits

A free range chicken farm has been refused at appeal in Shropshire – an area where ammonia from farming is a particular problem. The judgment questions the controversial Environment Agency “1% significance” rule.

WFH could worsen heating NOx emissions

Air pollution, specifically NOX emissions from gas boilers, could spike over the course of a winter spent working from home, potentially compromising the UK’s ability to meet legally binding air quality targets, a new report finds.

PM kills infants

Particles kill half a million infants every year, says the newly released State of Global Air 2020 report on the global impact of air pollution on neonatal mortality.

NI air improves

Air quality in Northern Ireland continued to generally improve although progress on PM2.5, ozone and ammonia remained slow, says a new report.

Welsh speed limits cut pollution

A Freedom of Information request has revealed dramatic cuts in NO2 near Welsh motorways and trunk roads subject to 50mph limits.

LAQM to embrace ‘partners’?

A system of air quality partners could be introduced within local air quality management.

SEPA sets out online modelling tools

Sepa’s air quality modelling unit has created a set of online tools which have been used to visualise the impact of lockdown and the Glasgow low emission zone. Sepa has its own specialist unit to support its differing air quality strategy.

No Leeds zone is confirmed

Leeds City Council has formally confirmed that it does not need a clean air zone. It says that it has Government approval for this position first leaked two months ago (AQB September p1). However it wants to keep £6.9m of clean air zone funding.

Odours, but not health effects, in Southall

Community concerns about air quality near a former gasworks site have been investigated by Public Health England. A report warns that just because residents can smell chemicals such as naphthalene it does not mean there are health effects.

London tops social costs ranking

London has the highest social costs from pollution compared to any other city in Europe, a new report has found.

‘Simple’ health impacts guide

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution has attempted to simplify quantification of health effects – and plug growing inconsistencies between Comeap science and Defra practice

Schools monitored

Air Quality Consultants is using 30 AQMesh monitors to study traffic restrictions outside London schools.

Pollutant reporting

Defra is consulting on its draft UK Pollutant Release and Transfer Register: national implementation report 2021 national implementation report

BAT post Brexit

Government has set out how the Industrial Emissions Best Available Technique (BAT) regime would be affected from 1 January 2021 after Brexit transition period ends after next month.

MPs lay into JAQU and agency

A long and detailed debate on air quality in the House of Commons has unveiled widespread anger at JAQU and Highways England.

‘Bevgate’ looms

A rush towards purely battery electric vehicles may be counterproductive for CO2 and provide less air quality benefits than expected.

How to handle ‘post peak’ NO2

Academics tell MPs of new thinking on air quality – a rare chance to hear them unmuzzled, finds Jack Pease. They are not complimentary.

MPs hear concerns on environment bill

UCL’s environmental law expert Professor Scotford had much to say on the proposed new environment structure post-Brexit: “I note that your joint Committee report from last time recommended that there should be an enforcement mechanism that replaces the Commission, which is equivalent. In the Environment Bill, the enforcement mechanism is not equivalent to the function of the Commission. There are many reasons for that.

Green infrastructure

Natural England has looked at benefits of parks. It is assumed that green infrastructure (eg parks) are good for air quality – but it has found that the evidence is weak.

London progress continues apace

Even before Covid changed concentrations dramatically, London’s air quality is improving at a spectacular rate – a good news story for bleak times


October 2020 Issue 174

Burner goes to Judicial Review

Protesters are judicially reviewing the decision of the Environment Agency to permit an incinerator with a short stack.

Tyre particle collector wins award

A device to collect tyre particles has won a James Dyson design award.

AQC = Logika?

Air Quality Consultants is now part of the Logika Group – a holding company headed by AQC chief Chris Whall. Logika was registered at Companies House in December.` 

Scotland celebrates

Environmental Protection Scotland is throwing its weight behind Clean Air Day on 8th October 2020.

Legal challenge takes shape

Activist legal charity The Good Law Project is following in the footsteps of Clientearth and considering mounting a legal challenge on air quality.

Big boost from clean air

CBI Economics analysis, commissioned by the Clean Air Fund, says that the UK economy could benefit to the tune of £1.6bn a year if it were to achieve the guidelines set by the WHO for air quality.

£2m air grant

Local authority grant for air quality work in England has been pegged at £2m.

SO2 rise seen in Liverpool

A University of Liverpool study of air pollution in the UK during the first 100 days of lockdown has revealed that whilst NO2 levels were cut by half, levels of sulphur dioxide increased by over 100%.

London scrappage

he London Mayor has launched a new heavy vehicle scrappage scheme that gives small businesses and charities with heavy vehicles £15,000 to repla

Targets key to Environment Bill effectiveness

Establishing legally binding targets through the Environment Bill is needed, says the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)

Solent nitrate impasse solved: lessons for air

A mechanism has been proposed to allow new development to restart in Hampshire, currently stalled due to excess nitrate.

Lockdown bounceback

Air pollution is rising again as lockdowns come and go across the world.

Comeap hedges on non-tailpipes

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (Comeap) has been unable to conclude that non-tailpipe vehicle emissions are dangerous. Instead it calls for ‘more research’ and is only willing to say: “It is likely that there is some health risk associated with exposure to non-exhaust particles.”

Power demand up in lockdown

High levels of air pollution are forcing people inside to use more electricity, causing even greater environmental problems by increasing greenhouse gas emissions

Highways England spending broken down

In response to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Highways England, a breakdown of spending on air quality has been provided.

Sheffield stalls

Sheffield is to delay its clean air plans.

Air quality Champion dies

Ex Defra air quality boss and Clean Air Champion Martin Williams has died.

Waste guidance

The Environment Agency has launched a public consultation into new guidance for appropriate measures taking non-hazardous and inert waste for treatment or transfer:

Inspire survives

European Inspire Directive provisions for common data have been translated into UK law so they survive after the Brexit transition.

Oxford seeks 30µg/m3 NO2 target

Oxford says last month’s updated air quality action plan is a UK first in striving for a 30µg/m3 NO2 target. UK objectives are 40µg/m3 but Oxford believes health effects occur below this level.

Burners borough by borough

The impact of incinerator emissions across London has been assessed at borough level. Health effects are statistically small – nearly 15 deaths per year.

School to be monitored for air effect

The GLA has launched an air quality monitoring project to give an accurate indication of the benefits 430 new School Streets – where roads surrounding schools are closed to motor traffic at drop-off and pick-up times – across London.

Boiler ‘clearskies’ scheme launched

A new objective and independent emissions and energy performance certification mark for solid fuel stoves and fireplaces that aims to demonstrates appliance manufacturers’ commitment to improving air quality has been welcomed by government.

Zephyr network

The NEVFMA project was set up by Innovate UK and Highways England to investigate the impact of traffic management strategies on air quality on the strategic road network and A roads.

Scotland slows LEZs

Scotland is to delay introduction of its four low emission zones (roughly the same as English clean air zones).

...but money available

The Scottish Government has launched the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Mobility Fund, offering cash incentives and Travel Better vouchers, if non-compliant vehicles are removed from Scotland’s roads.

CHP consultation draws fire

A consultation on combined heat and power was slipped out in summer and was likely missed by many – but not in London where the problem first arose

Scottish hearts and minds

Public opinion is seen as crucial if air quality is to be improved. Scotland looks at the psychology behind attitudes and actions, finds Jack Pease

Citizens jury

Citizens juries are frequently proposed when all other ideas are exhausted, they are a high profile activity that politicians can throw their weight behind, appear to be seen to be doing something and then quietly let the matter die a death.

September 2020 Issue 173

Leeds to drop clean air zone

Leeds – which has led progress on clean air zones outside of London – is set to abandon its charging plans. It says the lockdown has led to pollution exceedences disappearing and believes these are unlikely to re-emerge. Bristol drops charging

Bristol is following Leeds and looking to drop charging plans for dirty vehicles.

Air quality damage costs updated

Air quality damage costs have been revamped. The updated document forms a bible for those seeking to put a cost to air quality improvements or worsening as a result of interventions or development.

Watchdog needed

A recruitment campaign has been launched for the inaugural chair of new Office for Environmental Protection. 

Incinerator challenge

Protesters are seeking legal advice to challenge a permit granted to the Rivenhall Incinerator in Essex by the Environment Agency.

Traffic rising

Scottish ministers have noted: “Traffic levels are now at an average of 2.5 trips per person per day, which is the highest recorded average trip rate since lockdown.

Ancient woodlands damaged

65 homes in Devon have been refused at appeal due to air quality impacts on nearby ancient woodland. Usually habitat refusals are caused by heathland or other sensitive areas eg Ashdown Forest and the New Forest..

Recent heatwave sets of network ‘highs’

Kings College London has been monitoring the prolonged heatwave, with sustained temperatures over 30 deg C.

Activist toolkit

The US Lung Association has produced new resources for teachers, activists and community members to guide conversations on health, climate change and air quality through the Healthy Air Activist Toolkit.

Red tape defence

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency has defended regulation. Boris Johnson has long promised to cut what he calls red tape – the latest is his push to streamline the planning system.

CHP omission

Air quality is mentioned just once in a government consultation on combined heat and power.

Planning: less ‘red tape’, more growth

As has been widely anticipated over recent months, Government is consulting on streamlining the planning system.

PHE to be abolished

Public Health England will be abolished and replaced with the National Institute for Health Protection

Air and noise in Oxford

An air quality and noise study will help inform Oxford City's future environmental policy approach

County cuts

Cuts will be made to plans to create a zero emission zone in Oxford.

EPS co-chairs

Environmental Protection Scotland has announced that Dr Iain McLellan from the University of the West of Scotland and Jennifer Simpson of consultant Sweco have taken over as co-chairs of the expert advisory group on air quality.

Government response lacking

Dramatic air quality improvements in London are because of local action, not local action, claims London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Wales analyses Covid effect

Wales has carried out an assessment of Covid impacts on air quality. Findings have been incorporated into a new strategy released last month (see p8).

Real world biofuel emissions up

Real world emission specialist Emission Analytics says biofuels may worsen vehicle emissions.

Epuk MPs’ demands

Environmental Protection UK has set out demands on air quality to MPs scrutinising air quality for the fifth time in as many years. It says little has been achieved by government to date.

Lockdown emissions remain low in London

Lockdown emissions have remained low despite traffic increases.

Covid link weaker than thought

Government statisticians have compared Covid incidence with air pollution and believe the link is weak and was distorted by initial high infection rates in highly polluted London.

Target setting for green Bill

New targets are a key part of the Environment Bill currently stalled in Parliament. Air quality metrics are part of that.

£3m Indoor probe

UK Research and Innovation has awarded £3 million to support six research networks that will investigate solutions to air pollution.

Wales ploughs ahead on air

Wales has released a final clean air plan which shows that some forward thinking is still taking place in the middle of a pandemic

English LAQM updates

Many guidance notes for LAQM have been updated including:


August 2020 headlnes    Issue 172

Underspend again on roads

Highways England has once again been criticised for failing to spend its ring fenced budget on air quality.

AQMA declared in Swale – including for PM10

Swale Council has had to declare an air quality management area for PM10 due to road traffic. This is rare – other PM10 AQMAs have been prompted by industry.

Background too low

Air Quality Consultants has updated correction factors for NOx and NO2 background maps.

Aboutair upgrade

ADM Ltd is now providing NWP (Numerical Weather Prediction) hourly meteorological data for any worldwide location for a grid resolution of less than 5 km for dispersion modelling.

New Forest DC weakens plan

New Forest DC’s local plan will allow more development despite habitats concerns.

Electric double decker for West Midlands

National Express has introduced its first electric buses to its network in the West Midlands.

School street

Schools streets are also to be introduced in Birmingham, having become established in London boroughs such as Croydon and Hackney.

CHP consult

Local air quality does not feature highly in a consultation on CHP.

Sources unpicked

European modelling body Fairmode has produced a thinkpiece on source apportionment.

Stronger ozone limit

In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to maintain the current National Standards for ozone, top medical bodies such as the American Lung Association, have demanded more action.

Manchester lists road concerns

Manchester has set out its reasons for delaying its clean air zone until 2020 – revealing much frustration that local authorities are required to take action on air quality but Highways England is not.

Manchester warns of post-Covid worsening

The widely-held view that the Covid crisis will improve air quality with a permanent switch to home working may be incorrect, Manchester authorities reveal.

Backtrack on crem stack height

Surrey consultant David Harvey has forced a second council to retreat on air quality. Recently he challenged a chimney-less crematorium.

Permitted development rules extended

Permitted Development Rights have been extended in England in a raft of planning changes intended to ‘kickstart’ development. There will be new freedoms to add extra stories to buildings, and convert shops and offices into accommodation without the usual planning safeguards for air quality or collecting developer contributions to local infrastructure.

Zone website

Government has set up a website aiming to inform motorists on the progress of clean air zones. It reveals none will be ready this year with some, such as Manchester, now pushed back to 2022.

Cycle boost

Boris Johnson has launched plans to boost active travel – particularly cycling. A new plan also aims to reduce van traffic in town centres.

Gatwick impacts diminish

Air quality data presented to the Gatwick airport committee showed that objectives had been met in 2019 due to wider air quality improvements in the fleet.

Heathrow pollution drops during lockdown

Protesters have analysed air quality data near Heathrow.

VOCs studied by Aqeg – solvents remain

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are below current limits but may need to come down further to meet future standards, says a report by the Air Quality Expert Group. Solvents now dominate the mix.

Nerc grant

A team from Cranfield University will be leading a rapid study of air quality throughout the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc.

Generator approved

A standby generator in Exmouth has been allowed at appeal having been refused by East Devon planners.

European NECD progress lags

Most EU member states are not on track to reduce air pollution and its related health impacts by 2030, claims a new report

Emissions across Europe drop

While future emission reductions may not be enough, current emissions across Europe continue to drop, the European Environment Agency reports.

Clean vehicle gaps in data fixed?

A private sector solution to solving gaps in DVLA data could mean clean air zones could be implemented without further delay

Scholars on schools

The University of Surrey has published guidance on tangible measures that can be taken to improve the air children breathe in and around schools.

Harrogate Zephyrs

Harrogate Borough Council will use Earthsense Zephyr air quality sensors for NO2, NOx, ozone and PM2.5. Data will provide visual insights into air quality before, during and after interventions. This will enable the council to assess the effectiveness of their pollution mitigations and highlight whether alternative methods are needed.

Net zero plans risk to AQ

Last month was a busy one for the Air Quality Expert Group which released a raft of reports, including on plans for net zero.

Bill progress and newt news

Environment Secretary George Eustace says he will ‘shortly’ be publishing the much-delayed Environment Bill.

Intervention analysis from Aqeg

A guide on how to carry out simple evaluations of air quality impacts of interventions suggests it isn’t that simple, finds Jack Pease

July 2020  Headlines       Issue 171

Parcel tax to cut emissions?

DfT advisors have proposed a mandatory charge for home deliveries to cut emissions.

Early findings from Aqeg Covid probe

The Air Quality Expert Group has released a summary of findings from its hurried review of Covid and air quality (AQB June p1).

The Air Quality Expert Group released a raft of other reports in June. They cover:
l Estimation of changes in air pollution emissions, concentrations and exposure during the Covid outbreak in the UK;
l Trends Report 2020: Trends in critical load and critical level exceedences in the UK;
l Assessing the effectiveness of interventions on air quality;
l Impacts of Net Zero pathways on future air quality in the UK;
l Non-methane Volatile Organic Compounds in the UK.

Scottish delay

Scottish Parliament has been told of delays to its four low emission zones.

Manchester delay

Greater Manchester is to delay its clean air zone for a year, joining other authorities such as Leeds and Birmingham.

Fifth MPs inquiry on air quality

A fifth inquiry into air quality in as many years has been launched by MPs on the House of Commons Environment Committee. Four previous inquiries have been held into air quality, each time providing recommendations that were largely ignored until Clientearth took the Government to court.

...and audit committee looks at greening

Meanwhile MPs on the powerful Environment Audit Committee are looking at greening the post-Covid recovery – including preserving air quality benefits.

MPs plea to Government on lowered pollution

90 MPs have demanded that government try to preserve air pollution benefits seen during the Covid lockdown.

Cars bad

Lord Rennard has told Parliament that encouraging car use in the face of the Covid pandemic is a bad idea.

New data provider

Air Pollution Services Ltd (APS) is now supplying fully licensed meteorological data in ADMS format downloadable instantly from its website. Data in other formats are also available.

Zephyr for Oxford

Zephyr sensors are to be deployed in Oxford, where a zero emission zone had been planned but has now been delayed due to Covid.

MPs plea to Government on lowered pollution

90 MPs have demanded that government try to preserve air pollution benefits seen during the Covid lockdown.

Lockdown pollution discussed

Consultant Ricardo recently held a webinar looking at Covid and air quality.

High pollution

A brief heatwave in late June, with temperatures over 30 deg C, led to a pollution episode.

Croydon dust

Brighton based South Coast Science, in partnership with EMSOL, is supporting Croydon Council to manage the impact of construction machinery and traffic on local communities. The Praxis/Urban was selected for its ability to establish where pollutants are reaching harmful thresholds.

Fast track clean air measures

DfT is supplying emergency funding for English councils to put in place local transport improvements – with air quality a key factor.

CO2 rising due to larger vehicles

European Environment Agency data shows average CO2 emissions of new vehicles is rising again.

Roads challenge

Transport Action Network (TAN) has applied for a judicial review of the transport secretary Grant Shapps’ decision to go ahead with £27 billion Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), road building programme.

ADMS major update

There’s been a major new release of ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads & ADMS-Airport.

Air quality sinks Reading HMO

Reading Council has refused an 8-bed house of multiple occupation on air quality and noise grounds. Work is already underway at the former guest house. The site is within an air quality management area.

Congestion charge toughened to preserve air

Driving in central London will cost more in a bid to preserve lockdown benefits on air quality.

Central Beds gets new sensors

UK-based Westcotec in partnership with manufacturer Airly (a Polish air pollution monitoring company) installed a network of laser-based 24 air pollution sensors which have now been activated across the Central Bedfordshire Council region, as part of a coordinated plan to improve air quality for residents.

Business advice

A Business for Clean Air initiative has been launched to help large companies undertake a greener recovery, in response to public demand for businesses to do more to avoid the return of excessive pollution.

Clean trucks

The California Air Resources Board adopted a “first-in-the-world” rule requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California will be zero-emission.

Airspeck assesses Covid impact

Air pollution monitors have been installed near Imperial College London to measure pollution during and after the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Lung relief

The British Lung Foundation says better air quality during lockdown has improved the health of those with lung conditions.

New Manchester sensor network shows drop

New ‘smart’ air quality sensors installed across Manchester city centre suggest that levels of pollution remain high despite decreases associated with the Covid lockdown.

Technology has air downside

Emissions Analytics and RDW, the Netherlands Vehicle Authority, say self driving vehicles could worsen some emissions.

Hydrogen plea

The hydrogen industry is demanding parity with battery electric interests claiming hydrogen is being left behind. They claim air quality benefits from hydrogen fuel cell buses which emit only water.

Construction extension

Construction firms will be able to apply for a six-month exemption from new London low emission zone standards for off road construction plant due to Covid.

Rail firms play catch-up

A new air quality framework for the rail industry suggests it is playing catch up on its emissions footprint, finds Jack Pease

NO2 worsens Covid risk

US researchers believe that increased exposure to NO2 leads to higher Covid-19 risk.

Covid virus on PM

Italian researchers have collected particle samples in Northern Italy in the area hardest hit by the Covid virus. They found the virus clinging on to particles.

Stove exchange schemes fail

Subsidies for stove replacement may not work.

June 2020  Headlines       Issue 170

Kelly sets out Covid similarities

Comeap chief and head of King’s ERG Frank Kelly has been quizzed by Parliament about the health impacts of Covid when associated with air pollution.

Moderately clean

2019 air quality indicator statistics have been released.
Rural stats, dominated by ozone exceedences, were high compared to previous years – but less than last year’s spike.

Woodstoves galore in National Park homes

Plans for 210 homes in the South Downs National Park will see 140 of them fitted with wood burning stoves. This is despite growing evidence of the harm and nuisance caused by domestic woodburning

Farming advice

Natural England has set out how it intends to advise farmers on cutting ammonia issues.

AQE show rethink

The Air Quality and Emissions Show has been postponed.

Pig people revamp emissions

With the focus shifting to ammonia for UK’s emission reduction targets, the pig industry is hoping to revise emission factors downwards.

Deaths avoided reach 11,000

The newly formed Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air claims that reduced air pollution has led to 11,000 fewer people dying of air pollution in Europe since the virus hit. 1,752 of these are from the UK.

Highways England refuses to show its working

Highways England is refusing to release appraisals for the 48 road schemes in Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) saying it is too costly.

Northern Ireland air quality improving

Air quality is broadly improving in Northern Ireland, suggests the latest annual report for the area.

Ozone up

From Wednesday 6th May through to the end of Sunday 10th May, London and south east England experienced widespread air pollution with a large number of monitoring sites breaching the threshold for moderate ozone, Kings College London reported.

E-scooters trial

E-scooters are set to appear on streets in a trial aimed at reducing congestion while the public is advised not to use public transport. It is also intended to improve air by avoiding a traffic rise once the lockdown is ended.

M4 speed limits cut NO2

Robust monitoring has confirmed air quality improvements besides key roads in Wales subjected to speed limits to cut emission

Bonfires abound causing nuisance and smoke

Newcastle City Council is asking local residents not to light bonfires during the coronavirus lockdown to help protect their health and save lives after a spate of incidents and call outs for the fire service.

Dudley – 500% rise

Complaints about bonfires in the borough have rocketed by more than 500% since households were locked down due to the coronavirus, it has been revealed.

PCM underestimates

The PCM model continues to underestimate pollution – by as much as 48%.

CERC on health

ADMS specialist Cerc is leading a major new and ambitious project, MAQS-Health, which will provide a high resolution prediction capability for outdoor air quality, to support research on personal exposure and health impacts.

Saddleworth Moor fire analysed

In June 2018, large wildfires broke out on Saddleworth Moor. The fires burned for roughly three weeks, 100 firefighters and the army attended and smoke from the fires spread widely across the northwest of England.

Cargo bike boost

Eight local authorities will share funding from the £2m Energy Saving Trust eCargo Bike Grant Fund.

Sepa loses patience on Mosmorran flaring

Sepa is to prosecute Exxon Mobil for continued flaring at its Scottish Mosmorran petrochems plant. The flaring has caused complaints both on air quality and noise grounds.

Optare plans fuel cell double decker bus

Manufacturer Optare is to produce a fuel cell double decker

Where are we on Covid?

Covid has provided a unique intervention that is proving fertile ground for air quality experts analysing the impact of the massive drop in traffic emissions.

Covid cocktail worsens risk

Italian researchers say air pollution could have worsened the high toll of virus deaths in Northern Italy, a highly polluted area.

Covid prompts more ambition

Westminster Council has revealed its thinking on what it needs to do with its emerging air quality plan

Covid Experiment

The Covid lockdown is proving to be a useful experiment, says an academic.

Cerc uses ADMS to assess effects

Modellers at consultant CERC have analysed recent measured air quality data from across London using modelling (that combines measured air pollution concentration data with CERC’s ADMS-Urban) to derive an estimate of the underlying road traffic emissions that caused the measured concentrations.

Closedown push

The covid lockdown is providing a cover for local authorities contemplating permanent road closures to preserve air quality improvemen


May 2020  Headlines       Issue 169

Virus (continued!)

Most readers are working from home due to the current virus lockdown, do email us if you wish your copy of AQB to be sent to your home address, or for a temporary period, to receive electronic copies.
We thank you for your continued support at this difficult time.

Clean air plans delayed

Clean air zones will be delayed until after January 2021 due to the virus – despite a court order to introduce them “as soon as possible”.

Highways £100m ring fencing abolished

Highways England’s embarrassment at being unable to spend a promised £100m on air quality over the last five years will be eased with the announcement that the ring-fenced fund has been abolished.

Aqeg assesses Covid evidence

The Air Quality Expert Group (Aqeg) last month put out a rushed call for evidence on air quality and Covid virus. While there are positive impacts on air quality from the lockdown, there are increasing amounts of suspect conclusions from studies being reported on the ability of particles to carry viruses.

Kings switches to Imperial

The Environmental Research Group (ERG) at King’s College London is to move to the new Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub at Imperial College London’s White City campus.

Cut indoor exposure

The C40 grouping of cities has urged the public to avoid burning candles, incense or wood fires and open windows to reduce the health risk from indoor air pollution.

Monitors show fall

Alphasense Ltd, a UK manufacturer of sensors (10,000 a week), says customers are noting falls in air quality: “Our air quality sensors are built into the monitoring instruments manufactured by hundreds of companies spread all over the world, and they tell us that their equipment is reporting similar improvements in air quality since the start of the Covid pandemic.

NO2 worsens Covid

NO2 may be linked to virus deaths, say researchers.

Natural capital requirements

A natural capital committee report has strong advice on government to avoid silo working. Natural capital valuation is being mooted as away of reaching net zero carbon by 2050 with obvious implications for air quality

Members warned on spreading ‘misinformation’

IAQM members have been warned not to spread misinformation about the virus.

Welsh appointment

Claire Holman was appointed the Chair of the Welsh Government’s Air Quality Direction Independent Review Panel in March.

Bradford confounded by smoke

Bradford Council has been criticised over delays investigating smoke from a neighbour’s chimney.

China smog returns

The European Environment Bureau has posted a series of excellent animations showing how air pollution is returning to China since its lockdown was eased.

Politicised particles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing its proposal to retain, without changes, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) including both fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10).

Covid guidance for LAQM activities

The local air quality management helpdesk has provided advice for how to continue local air quality management duties while Covid restrictions are in place.

London air quality improves

A formal analysis – framed as a response to Aqeg’s call for evidence (see p1) – has set out changes in air quality in London due to the Covid shutdown.

Scotland PM rise

The Scottish Air Quality Database carried out back- trajectory analysis to explain why fine particles rose in recent times despite drastically reduced local activity.

After Covid

“The enjoyment people are getting from this low t

ULEZ keeps clocking up reductions

A ten month progress report has shown yet more emission reductions resulting from the central London ultra low emission zone. Experience of the ULEZ in London is being watched by authorities outside of London who are supposed to produce clean air zones.

Clean air zones delayed

The virus has prompted a directive that clean air zones are delayed until at least January next year. What is happening around the UK asks Jack Pease

Clientearth call

Clientearth has been formally told of the clean air zone delay. Having won its court order on NO2, Government is in effect answering to Clientearth.

School filtering unpicked

Before the virus, a detailed study reported on the impact of mechanical filtering in London schools. We take a deeper look as there is much to learn.

April 2020  Headlines       Issue 168

Virus special

Most readers are working from home due to the current virus lockdown, do email us if you wish your copy of AQB to be sent to your home address, or for a temporary period, to receive electronic copies.
We thank you for your continued support at this difficult time.

Dramatic London improvements

GLA has confirmed dramatic reductions in air pollutants across London, confirming ad hoc data released over the years at air quality conferences.

LEZs postponed

The flu virus has been blamed for postponement of clean air zones.

Chinese particles carry viruses?

Chinese researchers (pre-Covid) have found airborne particulate matter accommodates rich and dynamic microbial communities, including a range of microbial elements that are associated with potential health consequences.

Filtration is partially effective

Classroom filtration may improve particle loads on children but is less effective for gases.

Blueair ‘feeling’

Blueair indoor air filters in schools has led to a “feeling” that there is less pupil and staff illness

Canterbury relief

A challenge against Canterbury’s local plan, on air quality grounds, has been abandoned.

‘Electric Avenue’

Siemens has unveiled a half mile length ‘electric avenue’ fully converted to cater for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

£5bn benefit from London ULEZ

The London ultra low emission zone will save the NHS around £5bn over the next 30 years in avoided health costs. One million hospital admissions will be avoided.

Shisha squashed

An application for a back yard shisha bar has been squashed by Herefordshire Council.

Air day postponed

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Global Action Plan (GAP) has announced that Clean Air Day 2020 will be postponed to Thursday October 8th.

Schools closure

Videalert has won a contract to install CCTV enforcement cameras as part of the ‘Redbridge School Streets’ pilot programme.

Scotland updates strategy

Scotland is on its way to updating its clean air strategy, last month’s Scottish Air Quality Database conference was told.

Enviro Technology validates Zephyrs

EarthSense and Enviro Technology Services have installed an air quality reference site at its Zephyr manufacturing facility to boost efficiency and scalability of sensor distribution.

Bill stalled

The Environment Bill 2019-21 was being considered by a Public Bill Committee but due to current circumstances, the sittings of the Committee have been suspended until further notice.

North East Direction

Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council have both been directed to bring forward their full business case and to implement their local plan for NO2 compliance.

Citizen science

The European Environment Agency has assessed citizen science air quality reporting.

Air quality fears fail to sink Hounslow KFC

A drive through takeaway in Hounslow has been allowed at appeal despite worsening air quality.

Another Uber warning

European pressure group Transport and the Environment has once again warned against the rise of Uber and similar ride sharing platforms.

EIA ‘nit picking’ challenge fails

The High Court has rejected a challenge over a development near Pontefract. Objectors claimed air quality and other issues should have required and EIA and not be screened out. Judges were clearly short tempered at what they saw as ‘nit picking’ and inappropriate use of the law.

‘Cured’ model redundant as factors improve

Defra emission factors are now sufficiently accurate not to need corrections, says Air Quality Consultants.

A macabre natural AQ experiment

The lockdown prompted by the flu virus will form an important lesson for future air quality experts. Well publicised air quality improvements are taking place around the globe, finds Jack Pease

Epidemic Analysis from Ricardo’s David Carslaw

David Carslaw of Ricardo has carried out what is perhaps the most detailed analysis of UK air quality during the epidemic.

AQC reanalysis finds growing effect

Early analysis by Air Quality Consultants found little effect of traffic reductions on air quality – but more recent analysis confirms emission reductions.

NASA releases satellite data revealing impact

NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China. There is evidence that the change is at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Air pollution worsens burden

Polluted air is likely to worsen the outlook for flu sufferers, says a thinktank.

Covid trends in Europe

The European Environment Agency, which collects monitoring data from across Europe, has released observations following the virus lockdown. These include:

Copernicus warns of satellite flaws

European air quality experts, part of the Copernicus grouping, warn that satellite observations of miraculous pollution reductions due to flu lockdowns may be misleading.

Flu jab protective

The flu jab may be protective against air pollution.

March 2020  Headlines       Issue 167

Loss of one species acceptable

As details emerge of the update to DMRB, it appears that habitats species may be expendable. Calculations suggest the loss of one species is not significant when assessing highways schemes or developments.

Heathrow stalls as NPS found lacking

The planned expansion of Heathrow has stalled following a court warning.

Epping habitats prompt further limbo

Epping Forest council says it continues to be hamstrung by failure of Natural England to approve building near the nitrate sensitive Epping Forest.

Environment Bill still weak

Government has made cosmetic improvements to the Environment Bill but not strengthened air quality provisions.

Cases warning

Greenpeace is warning that environmental cases already underway will be affected by Brexit.

‘Clean’ asphalt

Hanson is marketing a reduced emission asphalt to help minimise the impact of asphalt production and laying on local air quality.

Coal to go?

The government will consult on bringing the deadline for ending unabated coal forward from 2025 to 2024, part of its drive to go further and faster on decarbonising the power sector, as it works towards net zero by 2050.

Newham parking fee

Newham is using parking charges to improve air quality and CO2.

Model clash fails to stop burner

An incinerator has been approved despite air quality modelling concerns which fill out most of a 40 page planning appeal.

First breach in London is for PM10

Provisional data from the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) at King’s College London has shown that the Vauxhall Bondway Interchange has become the first place in London to breach objectives for 2020. This breach is for PM10 particulate – in previous years it has been NO2.

PDR in Parliament

An extension debate has taken place in the House of Commons on the problems of PDR conversions of offices into homes. MPs noted that the policy was leading to substandard housing.

Drive thru fumes

Coventry University and the BBC collaborated to measure air pollution levels outside drive through restaurants.

Eustice in

George Eustice has replaced Theresa Villiers as Environment Secretary as part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet purge. He was previous a farming minister.
Villiers had been in place since July 2019.

Wales brings AQ into planning

Wales continues to shake up its air quality policy. Its latest move is to consult on bringing air quality thinking into its TAN planning guidance.

More directions

Sheffield, Rotherham, Bradford and Coventry are the latest councils to receive ministerial directions on the need to comply with the NO2 plan.

Defra checker

Defra has released on online checker to support clean air zones outside of London.

Particles up

The latest UK emissions statistics reveal a rise in coarse and fine particles – but ammonia is down, breaking years of continued rises.

Tree frenzy

Government has endorsed a report pledging to plant two million street trees within five years.

Spending bonanza extends to bus services

The Go-Ahead Group is rolling out its ‘Air Filtering Bus’ nationwide to help tackle pollution in UK’s biggest towns and cities.

Electric double deck buses spread further across London

London’s 94 bus, operating between Acton Green and Piccadilly Circus, became west London’s first all-electric double-deck bus route.

Ammonia shock to the system?

Just when it seems air quality is sorted, someone spoils the moment and comes up with a new problem – ammonia.

CREAM calculator for roadside ammonia

AQC has released an easy to use emissions factor tool (Calculator for Road Emissions of Ammonia (CREAM)) so that others can test its thinking.

Regulation chosen to cut smoke

Government has chose regulation of sales rather than regulation of use to bear down on smoke from domestic premises, finds Jack Pease

Stove makers’ plea

Stovemakers have once again highlighted what they see as flaws in assumptions on damage caused by domestic burning.

February 2020  Headlines       Issue 166

Wealden spat rumbles on

Wealden Council has been criticised for failing to cooperate with nearby councils and being over cautious with attempts to prevent air pollution from damaging the sensitive Ashdown Forest.

Agriculture Bill includes air quality

The Agriculture Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech and includes a commitment to link air quality with farmers’ payments – however there is no detail.

Eco stoves ‘solution’

Ecostoves and woodburning are being touted as a ‘solution’ to the PM2.5 problem.

Natural capital calculator for AQ

Air quality is a key part of a new online ‘natural capital’ calculator

Tory sentiment

Bright Blue, a think tank for liberal conservatism, and Opinium, have published analysis of polling providing a snapshot of the immediate public expectations of the new Conservative Government.

ACCON acquired

Air quality and noise consultant ACCON UK ended 2019 becoming become a partner company of the Austrian company iC Group.

Idling prompts drivethru refusal

Idling and extra traffic have contributed for the repeated refusal to allow a Starbucks at a busy junction in Harrogate. Councillors on the planning committee defied advice that the development would not harm air quality.

Sandwell rejects concrete sleeper plant

Sandwell Council has rejected proposals for a concrete sleeper facility at Bescot with the developer accused of providing insufficient information on air quality.

DMRB savings

New wording of DMRB is purported to cut £25–50m in red tape costs.

Charge boost

Government funding will be doubled to £10m for the installation of chargepoints on residential streets next year. This could fund up to another 3,600 chargepoints across the country and make charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space.

200 London schools audit plan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that current plans to tackle air pollution at 50 London schools will be expanded to 200.

Clean Air Bill

The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill has had its first reading in the House of Lords.

Epping saga rumbles on

Idom Merebrook Ltd (IDOM) has been appointed by the City of London to work on a project assessing the air quality of Epping Forest..

Unitaries lag on air action

Unitaries are much less likely than Metropolitan councils and London boroughs to consider taking action on air quality as ‘extremely or very important’, the latest quarterly New Local Government Network leadership index survey has found

Cities progress LEZs and ZEZs

Oxford’s ZEZ

Oxford’s is consulting on modest zero emission zone plans for its city centre.
The City and County councils have published final draft proposals for what it believes is the UK’s first city centre ‘red’ Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), to be introduced later this year.


Bath is to introduce a £9 daily fee for high-emission vans and £100 for HGVs and buses – private cars will be excluded.

York bus zone

Ahead of the launch of a clean air zone in York city centre later this month, City of York Council has awarded more than £1.6 million in funding to five bus companies to help them to make their vehicles more environmentally-friendly.

Birmingham ban

Birmingham has released a draft plan that will see road closures and parking restrictions to cut private car use.

No charge Cardiff

Cardiff will not be charging dirty vehicles to enter its city centre.

Newcastle not cars

Cars will not be charged under clean air plans in the North East of England.

NOx – the continued UK fall

Analysis from Air Quality Consultants suggests there is yet more evidence that modern engines have finally reduced roadside NOx.

Welsh joined up thinking

An intriguing study commissioned by Welsh Government looks at how air quality and noise can be better joined up

Williamson to AQC

Former National Society for Clean Air campaigner and ex Defra air quality man Tim Williamson is to join Air Quality Consultants in its London Office.

mapping of air and noise together?

There are several areas where greater levels of coordination can lead to improved consideration of air quality and noise/soundscape.

Heathrow ultrafines in London

London has a high proportion of ultrafine particles, many airport related underlining increasing fears that aviation ultrafines are underestimated.

January 2020  Headlines       Issue 165

New network for NO2 monitoring

Diffusion tube data is to be included in a new national NO2 monitoring network.

Monitoring unpicked at 2019 AAMG meeting

Experts gathered for the annual AAMG monitoring conference held by the RSC in London last month. No surprise that low cost sensors dominated the two day conference.

Noise as proxy

A Belgian researcher is suggesting monitoring noise as a proxy for air pollution.

Stop stop start?

Mark Packham of Cambustion reiterated fears that stop-start technology and no idling rules can be counterproductive for pollutants.

Airport ultrafines

Aircraft engines have traditionally been seen as ‘clean’ however there are growing concerns about ultrafine particle emissions. Brian Stacey of Ricardo has found increased ultrafines near Heathrow and Leon Hibbs of Reigate and Banstead Council has found raised ultrafines downwind of Gatwick.

London sensing network

Rod Jones of Cambridge University is involved in the Breathe London network of AQMesh sensors. “These have had their challenges but are now working well.”

‘Microplastics’ warning for air in London

Researchers have warned that Londoners are breathing in resuspended ‘microplastics’.

Wade sentenced

Waverley Borough Council’s former air quality officer Ann-Marie Wade has been sentenced having been found guilty of falsifying air quality readings (AQB Sept p1).

Queen’s Speech

Air quality was specifically mentioned in the Queen’s Speech: “To protect and improve the environment for future generations, my Government will present a bill to enshrine in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets, including for air quality.”

Budget date

There will be a Budget on March 11th.
Boris Johnson has commissioned a spending review that promises to “slaughter sacred cows”. It will report before the Budget.
Johnson needs to make savings to fund spending on the NHS. Last year it claimed to have “put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality at the roadside”. Much of this is to fund clean air zones, consultants have received lots of money for these but very little spending has begun on the ground.
LAQM is also vulnerable, while it costs little it has been overshadowed by the NO2 plan.

Incineration BAT

The European Commission has published the Best Available Techniques (BAT) reference Document (BREF) conclusions for Waste Incineration.

Ashdown Forest prompts habitats headache

An important planning appeal near Brighton has ducked the issue of impacts onto a neighbouring authority’s SSSI.

Nitrogen arguments rejected

An important legal challenge has failed against Guildford’s local plan.

Zero emission street draws closer

The Corporation of London intends to turn Beech Street – much of it beneath the Barbican Estate raft – into a zero emission street by Spring 2020.

Brexit Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill weakens air quality law, says Clientearth.

Jail possibility

European courts have endorsed the principle of public servants being jailed for failing to heed court orders to improve air quality.

European air

While European environment and climate policies have helped to improve the environment over recent decades, Europe is not making enough progress and the outlook for the environment in the coming decade is not positive, according to the huge 500-page European environment — state and outlook 2020 (SOER 2020) report.

Air directive survives fitness check

Two EU air quality directives have had a qualified endorsement from an important fitness check which has found them ‘partially effective’.It also acknowledges not all their objectives have been met to date, and that the remaining gap to achieve agreed air quality standards is too wide in certain cases. 

Fuller looks forward on air quality

Gary Fuller reflects on recent events and finds reasons to be cheerful amidst the doom. He shares his New Year thoughts with AQB....

New thoughts from Fuller’s re-released pollution book

“Several important issues that should alarm us all are currently being debated. Within Europe we have a precautionary principle at the heart of the environmental legislation.

Fuller’s Invisible Killer book is widely available in all good bookshops, including Waterstones, support your local bookshop!
You can buy on-line from the Guardian bookshop catalogsearch/result/?q=invisible+killer

Wales goes its own way

Wales is following Scotland’s lead and diverging from UK air quality policies. A new draft air quality strategy is out, finds Jack Pease

Noise and air linked as ‘airborne pollution’

Wales – through its Wellbeing Act – now has embedded joined up thinking so it is no surprise that noise has a surprisingly large chunk within the draft Welsh Air Quality Strategy.

children and human right to breath clean air

An interesting ‘take’ on the Human Rights Act is that of children, and their right to breath in clean air. The Welsh draft strategy introduces some thinking that could pave the way for future legal challenge given Brexit will remove the ability to take court cases to Europe.

WHO underestimates deaths

Researchers say WHO global burden of disease calculations underestimate actual worldwide air pollution deaths.

December 2019 Headlines       Issue 164

Post-Brexit fears aired

Experts gathered in Birmingham to discuss air quality at Environmental Protection UK’s annual conference.
Gary Fuller of Kings College London opened the conference and repeated his optimism that engine technology was delivering real world air quality improvements. However he repeated his claim that at the current rate it will take 193 years for London to comply with air quality limit values at all sites (AQB January 2018 p3).

Progress warning

Steve Moorcroft of Air Quality Consultants – the architect of the exposure reduction concept and targets subsequently adopted by Europe – told the conference: “If we remain fixated on meeting limit values and don’t replace them with laws that keep the air clean, then there is a danger of progress grinding to a halt. 

Divergence fear

"To a much greater degree than at any other point for the last 45 years, environmental regulation will not simply be a standalone issue but a factor in trade negotiations. If we are closely aligned with the EU what may that do to trade with the US and vice versa? To influence air quality outcomes in any way we need to learn the language of international trade and environmental regulation, or make alliances with those who speak it.”

Vans are far dirtier than previously thought

Real world testing of vans suggests they are far dirtier than expected. Van mileage is increasing disproportionately in urban areas due to the growth of online shopping.

Air quality PPG sees slight strengthening

Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on air quality has been updated with slight hints of a strengthening. PPG is an online ‘wish list’ for planners which replaced the more details PPG 23 on air quality.

Firework emissions ignored in public debate

Air quality should be considered in the fireworks debate, say air quality experts

EU compliance models compared

A pan-European expert modellers group has compared various models used to demonstrate compliance with EU air quality directive limits.

Not plugged in

Fleet management experts warn that plug in hybrid cars will not deliver emission savings if they are not plugged in.

Trustee plea

A number of the trustees of Environmental Protection UK are due to retire soon so EPUK is now inviting applications of interest for this role.

19,000 ULEZ notices appealed

Freedom of information requests show that 19,000 penalty charges issued for driving in the London ultra low emission zone have been successfully appealed.

Aqeg update

Speakers from the Air Quality Expert Group are among those presenting at the annual AAMG conference on Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th December 2019

Nottingham approval

Nottingham is the first local authority to have its air quality proposals approved as part of the government’s wider £3.5bn air quality NO2 plan. It does not include a clean air zone.

Uber is bad for air pollution

Shortly before being threatened with losing its licence in London for passenger safety infringements, Uber was criticised by environmental group T&E on its environmental record.

Smart Slough sensing

Ricardo is working in Slough to assess the extent and causes of poor air quality close to schools

Brighton wired

More than 200 new electric vehicle charging points are set to be installed across Brighton over the next few months.

80% above WHO levels says Breathe London

Air pollution on track to exceed limits at four out of five Breathe London sites.

Tyre dust revealed by weighing

Vehicle emission specialists Emission Analytics has weighed tyres in a bid to establish tyre wear emission rates.

Vehicle taxation can cut emissions, evidence suggests

A report has suggested the tax system can be used cut emissions.

‘Statements’ to popularise impact

Researchers have attempted to produce a series of simple statements to popularise the impacts of air pollution.

Leicester plan

Leicester has set out plans for a clean air zone.

Green number plates planned

Green coloured number plates could be used to flag up zero emission vehicles. The reannouncement (green number plates were first announced in 2018) has now been backed up with an actual consultation

Toxic fears

MPs released a report on toxins – and Grenfell Tower – before Parliament was dissolved.

France in the dock

France has suffered a defeat in the courts on air quality. The ruling by the European Court of Justice is likely to have a similar impact as the Clientearth judgment has had in the UK

Election – environment sidelined?

The election and Brexit dominate the headlines. If the air quality and the environment is at the top of your agenda, who should you vote for, asks Jack Pease

Diesel ban agreed in Bristol

Bristol’s decision to opt for a diesel car ban in its central core comes despite modern diesels often being cleaner than petrol cars

All in a day’s work

Marius Barbulescu has been a service engineer at Air Monitors for over four years. We look at the many functions of a service engineer....

November 2019 Headlines       Issue 163

Epping freezes new development

Habitat concerns have led to Epping Forest District Council refusing to allow any new homes.

Appeal endorses Epping freeze

Epping’s freeze on housing on air quality grounds (see p1 and below) has been vindicated by an appeal inspector.

Emissions cut by one third due to London ULEZ

The central London ultra low emission zone has cut emissions by a third, a sixmonth
update reveals.

£2m grant

Local authorities were given a month’s notice to apply for this year’s air quality grant.

Heathrow appeal

Heathrow expansion judicial review hearings have begun in the Court of Appeal.
Litigants who lost a Judicial Review of the Airports National Policy Statement (AQB September p1) are seeking leave to appeal.

Fraud charge

Former Waverley council air quality officer Ann-Marie Wade has been charged with offences relating to air quality at a Guildford Magistrates Court hearing last month.

Speed limits cut Welsh NO2

Early monitoring suggests speed limits on Welsh trunk roads have cut NO2 emissions. Updated PCM modelling shows worse than expected M4 pollution.

ICCT: Euro-standards should be fuel neutral

Recommendations for post-Euro 6 standards for light-duty vehicles should mirror the US and require diesel cars to meet the same standards as petrol. Diesel vehicles in Europe were given laxer standards in a bid to boost European car manufacturers who had invested heavily in diesel technology.

Private Environment Bill laid

As the Environment Bill is being considered (or was being considered before the election was called!), efforts continue to strengthen air quality legislation through private bills.

Business taskforce

Eight businesses (Philips, Uber, Engie, Octopus Electric Vehicles, Blueair, Ricardo, Canary Wharf Group and BP Chargemaster) are working with Defra and marketeers Global Action Plan have created a Business Clean Air Taskforce (BCAT).

London could meet WHO PM2.5

Extra effort would allow London to meet World Health Organisation PM2.5 levels. London was the first ‘megacity’ to commit to meeting WHO PM2.5 limits by 2030.

London car scrappage fund returns

Scrappage grants have returned to London, despite misgivings about their effectiveness.

Dundee sets out shape of low emission zone

Dundee City Council is consulting on plans for LEZs.

Scotland prepares

Brexit threatens to have a negative impact on environmental protection, according to responses to a Scottish Government consultation.

Scottish funding

A new funding scheme has been announced to help prepare for the introduction of LEZs in Scotland’s cities.

School run exposure 5x higher

The school run exposes London children to five- times worse air pollution than in the classroom.
In one of a raft of studies emerging from the London Mayor coinciding with increased political efforts to tight air quality aspirations, results were published on the use of ‘wearable’ sensors such as backpack monitors.

NO2 bias change

The local authority air quality helpdesk has set out how councils should handle NO2 tube bias if they change tube supplier.

Graduated charge

Emission Analytics and the AIR Index welcomes the Irish Government’s new plans to introduce a tax based on a vehicle’s NOx emissions, replacing the current 1% diesel surcharge – but cautions that such a system can only be truly effective if it uses NOx data based on the real on-road emissions.

Grenfell Tower: minimal fallout

The Grenfell Tower fire appears not to have led to soil contamination from airborne pollution.

European air quality burden updated

The European Environment Agency has updated its annual air quality report – and made a stab at estimating the health improvement should directive limits be met.

Parks fail

One in four of London’s green spaces breaches air quality safety limits, claim Imperial researchers.

Fracking risk low, costs high

Environmental risks are low from fracking, says the National Audit Office. Even so, political appetite to support fracking appears to be waning leading to companies scaling back plans.

Boris questioned

Before the dissolution of Parliament, MPs asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson for views on air quality – and received a curious reply.

Environment Bill – in the balance

As AQB goes to press it was uncertain whether the Environment Bill would make it to the statute book before Parliament shuts down before an election.

Bus zones cut NOx but NO2 sluggish

Bus LEZs in London have had a dramatic impact on NOx emissions but NO2 concentration are reluctant to follow 

October 2019 Headlines       Issue 162

Truck emissions 8-fold too low

A high level review of Bath’s preparations for a clean air zone questions the assumption that truck emission factors are underestimated eight-fold.

Cars included in an A10 clean air zone

Cars are set to be included in a clean air zone focussed on a suburban road.

Spending splurge

As part of the raft of spending pledges made by the Government, air quality has been promised a boost.

No Government Bill...

A Clean Air Bill was not included in the long list of Government aspirations outlined at the Conservative Party conference.

... Private Bill attempt

While the Government is not highlighting any plans to bring forward a bill on air pollution, an MP has proposed a Private Members Bill. These rarely become law.

Leeds confirms delays to CAZ date

Leeds has confirmed delays to the introduction of its clean air zone.

Newcastle softens proposals

Newcastle and surrounding authorities have toned down plans to charge car drivers to drive in the city.

MappAir expansion

Leicester based Earthsense has expanded its MappAir high-resolution map of air pollution, with new features and improved scalability from global down to 10 metres or street level.

Disbanded US experts regroup

A group of air quality experts disbanded by Donald Trump have regrouped independently.

Aqeg shale gas report delays criticised

The three year delay in releasing Aqeg’s shale gas report (AQB Sept 2018 p3) has been criticised.

ACOEM continues shopping spree

ACOEM – fresh from buying up Air Monitors (AQB July p1) – has now bought DynOptic Systems.

New City of London strategy

The City of London agreed a new air quality strategy. The 2019-24 strategy was brought forward a year due to increased interest in air quality.

Ministerial reshuffle

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey has become work and pensions secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd. Theresa Villiers takes her place. Rudd had herself taken over from Michael Gove.

Crowdfunded air appeal

Objectors are resorting to crowdfunding in a bid to fight a developer on odour and air quality grounds.

LEZs cut NO2 by 32%

A review of low emission zones suggests they can be a success – but need to move to zero emissions.

Lewis to Aqeg

Professor Alastair Lewis takes over from Paul Monk as head of the Air Quality Expert Group.

First truck SCR accreditation

The first selective catalytic reduction (SCR) retrofit solution for conventional heavy goods vehicles has been accredited under the UK’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS), ahead of the introduction of clean air zones in Birmingham and Leeds in 2020.

Driverless cars could double emissions

Driverless cars could double emissions under an unplanned growth scenario.

Paris sensing confirms emission faults

Remote emissions testing in Paris has confirmed many of the problems found in the UK, a report for the ICCT says.

Planetary health

MPs on the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee have looked at planetary health and have called for air quality improvements.

House prices

A firm claims to have mapped the impact of air pollution on house prices in London.

Experts warn on brain damage

The Institute of Air Quality Management Routes to Clean Air conference has become a useful fixture in the air quality calendar. Jack Pease reports with the best coming last – King’s Ian Mudway warning of brain damage.....

Martin Williams, ex head of Defra air quality, opened the IAQM Routes to Clean Air Conference tasked with predicting the future. But he warned: “Attempting to predict in a post-Brexit world is a fool’s errand.” But he had some useful thoughts.

ULEZ four months in

Early data from the central London ULEZ shows how dirty vehicles are being squeezed out.

Appeal Court blocks Swale homes

Air quality must be considered in local planning says the Appeal Court. The ruling massively boosts the importance of air quality for new housing, finds Jack Pease
Housing in Kent was first blocked by a local authority. This was overturned by an appeal inspector. Then it went to the High Court and now the Appeal Court has overturned the inspector and confirmed that the housing cannot go ahead because it failed to properly consider air quality.

September 2019 Headlines       Issue 161

Gatwick expansion fuels fears

Plans to open up a second runway at Gatwick Airport have reawakened air quality fears near the UK’s second largest airport – including ultrafine particle risk.

Sheffield boasts of huge CAZ response

Sheffield City Council’s air quality plans have attracted 12,000 responses – it boasts this is far more than other cities.

AQ officer charged

A Waverley Council officer has been charged following allegations that air quality data was incorrect. The employee was arrested earlier this year (AQB January p1).

Heathrow appeal

The Court of Appeal has granted the claimants against the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow permission to appeal their claims in a hearing beginning on 21 October 2019.

More warnings for Bristol and Bath

Bristol City Council has had a second warning letter from Government concerning slow progress on setting up a clean air zone. Bath has also had a letter.

Permit will not stop nuisance

A North Yorkshire digester application has been refused at appeal due a flawed odour assessment.

Vegetation PM2.5 calculator

A new interactive online tool is set to encourage tree planting initiatives across the UK. It calculates how much pollution would be removed by planting trees in local areas, as well as the corresponding public health cost savings

Scottish upgrade

A new (and improved) air quality in Scotland App has been launched.

First hourly breach – latest ever

Several months later than usual, the hourly NO2 objective has been breached in The Strand in London. Usually it breaches just days after the New Year (AQB August p3).

Scottish air strategy endorsed

An independent review of the Scottish air quality strategy has been endorsed in an independent review.

Air pollution risk

Air pollution is the fifth largest risk to public health worldwide, the State of Global Air 2019 from the US Health Effects Institute suggests.

Agency to regulate Heathrow?

Air quality at Heathrow will be overseen by the Environment Agency, the London Assembly Environment Committee has been told.

Breathe go live

A duplicate monitoring network has gone live in London.

Response sets out objections

Based partly on its scrutiny (above), the London Assembly has responded to the consultation earlier this year set up by Heathrow Airport Ltd on its proposed expansion (AQB July p8).

South London inernet of thngs

The South London Partnership (SLP), a group of five boroughs, has been awarded £4 million by London Councils to create an Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring system.

Ammonia worsens critical loads

Critical areas prompted by ammonia pollution have risen in recent years.

‘Tredges’ tested by Lancaster University

Air quality benefits of ‘Tredges’ (trees managed as hedges) are being carried out in Manchester

Hospitals in hotspots

Local authorities claim that a quarter of hospitals are in polluted areas.

NHS warning

The Urban Transport Group – a coalition of city region transport authorities – is lobbying to require the NHS to consult with transport authorities when making decisions on healthcare locations to minimise negative impacts on health, the environment and communities.

Statistics: could do better

An audit finds good and bad practice amongst Defra’s considerable air quality data gathering operation

Kelly counters the deniers

Just as there are climate change deniers, so there are air quality deniers who are making waves. Jack Pease reports.

UK has its own contrarians

The UK has sceptics of its own. Historically former Comeap head Professor Anthony Seaton has openly questioned whether health impacts of air pollution are overblown (AQB July 2016).

LAQM thinkpiece looks ahead

The thinkers behind Welsh ‘wellbeing’ based air quality policy have turned their minds to English LAQM. It is mooting ‘HAP-RAP’ whatever that is......

Exciting times ahead at Air Monitors

The takeover of Air Monitors heralds a new era for the monitoring firm created by Jim Mills.



Aug 2019 Headlines       Issue 160

Odour quashes poultry farm

Planning permission has been quashed for a huge poultry farm in Shropshire.

‘Plastics’ research for non-exhaust emissions

Industry is being asked to develop standardised methods for measuring emissions from tyre and brake sources, leading to a new United Nations backed international standard for tyre and brake wear.

Monitoring direction

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled on air quality monitoring locations.

Nursery rejected

A 70-place school nursery has been rejected partly on air quality grounds

Supreme Court blow for Shirley

A prominent campaigner in Kent has lost her bid to challenge planning permission for homes in a Canterbury air quality management area.

Boiler failure

The London Mayor has halted a £10 million boiler cashback scheme as only two projects got off the ground.

Pollution and deaths come down

Policies to improve air quality in the UK over the past 40 years have led to significant reductions in pollution and associated mortality rates, researchers claim when looking at the dramatic improvements between 1970 and 2010.

Maritime aspiration

Government has released its aspirations for cleaner shipping. It includes no fixed targets.

Dudley Zepyhr

Dudley MBC has purchased multiple Zephyr air quality sensors from Enviro Technology Services in a bid to find out just how polluted the air is around a number of the local schools.

Air quality problem solved?

London boroughs EHOs attending the London Air Quality Network conference held last month could be forgiven for thinking their task was complete

Roads spend hinges on barriers

A massive Highways England underspend on air quality may not be corrected by the end of the accounting period, says the government roads regulator.

Height, not shape, is key

Highways England has released a study suggesting height is more important than shape for tall air quality barriers.

Not feasible

Highways England has released a further study suggesting that air quality barriers are not feasible at many Highways England air quality hotspots.

Technology trials start on air quality

Highways England has outlined a series of 11 trials aimed at improving air quality

12 cities five years on

A new European Environment Agency report analyses the implementation of EU air quality legislation at the urban level and identifies some of the reasons behind persistent air quality problems in 12 European cities.

Lords fear post-Brexit law gap

Before the parliamentary recess, Lords discussed environmental regulations needed after Brexit.

Commissioner-enforced bus LEZ for Oxford

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are seeking to introduce a new low emission zone (LEZ) for buses to be a minimum of Euro 6 enforced through Traffic Commissioner licensing.

PDR warning

English Councils have warned that homes created using permitted development rights are a potential threat to people’s health and wellbeing, with the most vulnerable people in society being more at risk.

Glasgow schools

Schools near Glasgow have been monitoring air quality as part of a project aiming to reduce the levels of pollution emitted by vehicles as they drop off and collect children.

Black cab update

1,250 TfL grants of £10,000 for taxi drivers ditching older, polluting cabs have been awarded. This has led to nearly 2,000 electric taxis now running on London’s streets

Timings sinks CAZ

Last month demolition of houses was chosen over a clean air zone. What does that say about CAZs, asks Jack Pease?

More evidence that air pollution hits the poor

A paper from the University of the West of England provides further evidence that air pollution disproportionately affects poor people.

Heatwave event

London and most of the South East suffered a widespread moderate ozone pollution episode for the days of July 23rd, 24th and 25th. The cause being record-beating temperatures over 30 deg C, a feed of air from central Europe and light winds resulting in poor dispersion.

The slow decline of PM2.5

Defra has snuck out a curious thinkpiece on PM2.5, perhaps suspecting that it might otherwise sink without trace.

We still know so little on PM

Despite decades of research into air pollution generally and non-exhaust emissions specifically, finds Jack Pease

New technology to the rescue?

A central feature of UK policy is the encouragement of electric vehicles and the key issue here is how regenerative braking and the changing mass of vehicles will affect non-exhaust emissions, says the Aqeg report.

Microplastics  terminology

Last year’s air quality strategy contained a forward from the secretary of state talking of microplastic emissions from vehicles.
Coining this new term might be more sexy and concise than non-exhaust emissions but experts are not entirely sure it is the correct use of the term.

No such thing as zero emissions

Aqeg has taken against the term ‘zero emission vehicle’ as there is no such thing, at best there may be a zero emission engine. It took the unusual step of warning experts not to use the term pointing out it is misleading (AQB December 2018).

Sensor technology advances

The challenges with electrochemical NO2 sensors in outdoor air monitoring

July 2019 Headlines       Issue 159

Government fail delays CAZs

The failure by central government to sort out a clean vehicle database will delay clean air zones. Leeds and Birmingham councils have delayed introduction of their zones because they cannot enforce them without the database.

Air Monitors sold

Jim Mills, MD and ‘face’ of Air Monitors – has sold the firm to ACOEM (not to be confused with Aecom).

£5m homes demolition plan in Wales

Caerphilly Council has agreed to spend £5m paying off residents from a polluted street then demolishing their homes.

Permanent speed limits in Wales

Speed limits in Wales to improve air quality will be made permanent following a trial (AQB July 2018 p4).

Net zero will help air quality

UK will move to net zero by 2050. A statutory instrument amending the Climate Change Act 2008 has been amended accordingly.

5,000 SCRTs

UK-based emissions reduction specialist Eminox Limited has reached a major milestone with more than 5,000 fitments for its SCRT technology.

Festival peak

A pollution spike in Hounslow has been blamed on temporary plant used to set up a music festival.

Ambient air an occupational health problem

The British Safety Council has revealed initial exposure data from Canairy, the charity’s new mobile app, shows workers breathing air that regularly exceeds levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Employers are reminded they have duty of care obligations and immediate action is required.

Clientearth targets motorways

Highways England’s failure to spend more than a tiny fraction of the £100m allocated to air quality may prompt legal action.

Hampshire nitrate pollution halts development

Hampshire planning authorities will block additional housing planning permissions due to excess nitrates.

2018 ‘uplifts’ released for background maps

Air Quality Consultants has updated analysis on how much official estimates underestimate future NOX and NO2.

Cruise claim

European pressure group T&E claims a single cruise operator emits 10 times more air pollution than all of Europe’s cars.

Ammonia advice

Natural England has released a raft of advice note aimed at cutting ammonia from farming.

£6m more for London projects

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has invested £6m into 15 new air quality projects.

Hounslow tackles canal boats with byelaws

Hounslow is introducing new byelaws to control ‘houseboat mooring, Such boats have been blamed in areas such as Cambridge and Islington for causing smoke pollution from their coal and log stoves for local residents

Idling funding

The City of London Corporation has been awarded £1,000,000, from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund, to deliver joint projects with the London Borough of Camden and the Cross River Partnership to improve air quality across London.

Central supersite

The University of Birmingham is launching an air quality research supersite.

Ammonia discussed by IAQM

IAQM met last month to discuss ammonia – the one regulated pollutant where emissions are going up, not down.

House prices and air quality linked

An estate agent has analysed air quality and house price data.

Nitrogen persists

While sulphur-derived acid damage to UK habitats has improved dramatically, nitrogen deposition has been less successful, a new report suggests.

IAQM tackles habitats impact

The thorny topic of handling air quality impacts on conservation sites is covered in a new IAQM guide. Jack Pease reports.

Heathrow mitigation set out

The recent court challenged led to air quality calculations for Heathrow expansion being aired – now mitigation is outlined as the airport releases its masterplan. Jack Pease reports.

Aeroqual sensors tested in co-location study

A new sensor – the AQY Micro – is proving itself in south east London. Campbell Associate’s AQY Micro model is a sensor-based solution to practical monitoring problems.

June  2019 Headlines       Issue 158

 Pizza oven refused at appeal

A pizza oven in Essex has been refused planning permission at appeal due to smoke nuisance.

Cenex has carried out a novel real-world comparison that shows greater potential environmental benefits of switching to two-wheeled electric transport.

Death certificate

A mother has won her battle to reopen the inquest on her daughter who lived next to a busy road and died from an acute asthma attack. She hopes to have air pollution declared the cause on the death certificate.

May’s namecheck

Theresa May’s resignation speech made reference to air quality in an unexpected twist. She listed action on air quality as one of her achievements.

Watchdog needs stronger teeth

MPs believe that a proposed post-Brexit environment watchdog needs stronger teeth.

Lack of burning condition deemed OK

Canterbury City Council has fended off criticism from the local authority ombudsman that it failed to include a condition preventing waste burning.

Epuk lists air quality Environment Bill ‘asks’

Environmental Protection UK has set out 12 air quality ‘asks’ for the proposed Environment Bill currently being considered by Parliament.

More low emission bus zones

Three new low emission bus zones (LEBZs) are being set up in Lewisham, Stratford and Edmonton in London, covering more than 1,330 buses across 79 different bus routes.

Hydrogen double deckers to hit London

The “world’s first” hydrogen double decker buses will be introduced on three London bus routes next year.

New Street pollution remains high

Diesel pollution at the semi-enclosed Birmingham New Street station remain very high despite the recent £708m rebuilding programme.

PDR removal

Westminster City Council has made an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for changes of use from offices to dwelling houses in its core zone.

Low odour bitumen

Shell has launched a new bitumen product that can help reduce the impact of asphalt production and paving on local air quality.

Test cycle fears live on

Emission Analytics has found loopholes in new test cycle standards. The firm has been instrumental in uncovering real world emission discrepancies and says reliance on Euro 6 standards will not guarantee improved air quality (AQB December p1).

‘Confusion’ in South Lakes

South Lakeland has been found wanting for ‘confusion’.

Dramatic improvement

Emissions of all five key air pollutants in England have fallen over the latest 18 years, Defra claims in its latest progress report on its 25 year environment plan.

Sent to Coventry

Coventry has been issued with directions to implement a clean air zone.

74% compliance

A new report examines the initial impact of the ULEZ throughout April, the first month since its launch. Its key findings include:

Climate action helps air quality

The Committee on Climate Change has launched a high profile report demanding a move to ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.

EU law-dodging costs €55bn a year

A European Commission report says failure to abide by EU directives is costing €55bn a year – half due to air quality failures.

12 cities five years on

A new European Environment Agency report analyses the implementation of EU air quality legislation at the urban level and identifies some of the reasons behind persistent air quality problems in 12 European cities.

Particles Plus

Air Monitors has launched a new range of monitors to improve the flexibility with which measurements can be undertaken.

IAQM turns its head to monitoring

IAQM decided to give its annual DMUG modelling conference a rest this year – and instead focus on monitoring. Jack Pease reports.

Air parked at Heathrow inquiry

Those hoping for scrutiny of air quality impacts of Heathrow will have to wait until the planning inquiry commences after the collapse of a judicial review

Research boost

A new “systems research programme” will look at some of the UK’s pressing environmental issues to inform and shape key future policy decisions.

End of a long Storey?

The ‘face’ of the Environment Agency is retiring. Jim Storey has been a fixture at air quality conferences for decades. Jack Pease debriefs him on his retirement

Air pollution monitors – the next generation

Campbell Associates’ range of environment monitors now includes two new monitoring systems – AQY Micro and the AQS 1 Mini. The new technology delivers live, accurate data for ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels straight from the box

May 2019 Headlines       Issue 157

ULEZ shows early effect

The central London ultra low emission zone is finally upon us.

Hydrogen may worsen NOx burden

A government review says NOX may be worsened if hydrogen is used to replace natural gas for heating.

Spectacularly dirty year recorded

2018 was an exceptionally dirty year in terms of ozone, the annual air quality indicator has revealed.

London asthma burden unpicked

King’s College London researchers have attempted to carry out a ward-level assessment of asthma in London.

Barriers: further details emerge

More details have been released by Highways England on its proposed air quality barrier project.

Green infrastructure warning from Mayor

The London Mayor has warned that green infrastructure (trees and hedges) must be used selectively if it is intended to improve air quality.

Grants for biomass and sensors

English grant funding for local authorities is to focus on domestic smoke nuisance and sensors.

Ashford s106 taxis

Ashford (Kent) has introduced a new Green Taxi Scheme to encourage the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Good weather prompts pollution

Unseasonably warm and sunny weather has prompted widespread pollution alerts for NO2, particles and ozone.

Pollution drops during London protest

Air pollution dropped rapidly during road closures due to the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.

Red diesel on hold

Treasury says it will consider responses to possible changes to red diesel taxation.

Global risk ranked

The International Council on Clean Transportation has compared transport pollution health impacts across the world. London is high on the list.

Northants biomass rejected

An appeal inspector has backed South Northamptonshire Council’s enforcement notice against a biomass boiler which now much be removed.

Child deaths to be centrally recorded

A “world-leading” system which will provide a major boost to children’s health and safety has been launched.

Domestic boilers given real world tests

Aecom has tested 12 domestic gas boilers to see their real world emissions.

More action needed

More action needed to protect Europe’s most vulnerable citizens from air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures, a new report suggests.

2050 target date

The EU has set a date of 2050 for ‘net zero’ emissions.

Hooley tests highways resolve

Highways England said it would do more on air quality but experiences at the north end of the M23 in Surrey suggests otherwise

NICE told ‘already undertaken’

Last month NICE released its air quality standard, we’ve now got time to unpick some of the feedback gathered while the standard was formed. A key message is ‘we already do that’ and a lot of home truths are aired.

Lewisham penalty

Lewisham is the latest to consult on CO2-banded car parking charges with an additional diesel penalty.
The plans to tackle air pollution by targeting vehicle emissions and parking costs are similar to those adopted by other boroughs in South London, such as Kingston-upon-Thames.

Fracking fail

Oil and gas firms are regularly breaching the planning and environmental conditions placed on them with little consequence, despite repeated reassurances that 'gold standard' regulations govern the industry. Green Party politician and MEP for the South East, Keith Taylor claims.

PCM and risk dominate Heathrow

Detail from transcripts of the Heathrow judicial review centre on the risk of directive default – and the need to define what default is, finds Jack Pease

Apr 2019 Headlines       Issue 156

Heathrow judicial review starts

Air quality is a key ground in the current high profile judicial review of the decision to approve expansion at Heathrow Airport.

Natural England unlocks Wealden housing

Housing developments near the sensitive Ashdown Forest look set to become far easier to bring forward under Natural England’s diluted policies.

ULEZ looms

The Central London ULEZ begins on 8 April 2019. It covers the central London area covered by the congestion charge (as opposed to the wider greater London area covered by the existing low emission zone).
It will introduce the “toughest emission standards of any world city”.

More directions

Government has issued directions to more local authorities requiring them to carry out feasibility studies as part of the UK NO2 plan. Many authorities have fallen behind deadlines for complying with the plan.

PM10 breach

Kings College London has announced that London has breached EU limit values – due to daily PM10. Usually breaches are due to hourly NO2 (yet to occur this year).

NICE finalises ‘standard’

NICE – which sets guidelines and standards on health – has finalised its air quality ‘standard’.

14 share £25m

14 local authorities will share £25 million from the Clean Bus Technology Fund.

NPPF habitats

The revised National Planning Policy Framework was updated on 19 February 2019 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied

All councils given legal warning

Clientearth has warned 38 local authorities of the legal consequences of not tackling air pollution. Election purdah is not an excuse for inaction, Clientearth warns.

20mph limited impact on air quality

A comprehensive review of research on the impact of 20mph limits has been released.

£56m research pot

A £56 million research programme has been launched on public health.

CAZ acceptance

A car finance firm has found “worrying” public confusion over clean air zones just days ahead of the introduction of London’s low emission zone. But most accepted the need for zones.

Schoolkids wear air backpacks

Primary school pupils will carry special backpacks with novel air quality sensors on their journey to and from school in London.

Ten London hospitals will be monitored

 Ten London hospitals in polluted areas are to receive new air quality monitors – also part of the Breathe London project (see news above).

Committee will have teeth says Gove

A proposed post-Brexit environment watchdog will have teeth, claim environment ministers Michael Gove and Thérèse Coffey.

Clean Air Act

London Councils has been working on developing new clean air legislation proposals with the boroughs since last year.

MEPs urge action

The European Parliament has backed a motion supporting a tightening of EU air quality laws.

Herts and Beds

A new ‘Herts & Beds Air Pollution Alert System’ website and notification service will be run by Ricardo.


Two roadside sites exceeded annual mean NO2 objectives in Northern Ireland in 2017, the Northern Ireland annual report just released notes.

NO2 bias prompts Scots probe

Air Quality Consultants has studied diffusion tube bias changes that were thought might flatter pollution findings

Five day episode sees multiple highs

A five-day particle pollution episode affected London and most of the UK. The UK recently breached its PM10 daily allowance limit allowed under the directive (see p1).

Basildon speed

Basildon has rejected introducing a charging clean air zone – but will use speed limits to tackle pollution hotspots on the A127 in Essex.

Ammonia inventory

Defra has released ammonia inventories for 2017 and 2016 as required under EU reporting rules.

Zones reported

The UK has set out zones that pass and fail under EU air quality reporting rules for 2016 and 2017.

Barrier evidence builds case

News that Highways England is considering £80m air quality barriers has prompted huge interest. Jack Pease finds evidence that suggests more modest barriers can do some good

Smog stopper?

Steve Barnes of Gramm Barriers is promoting Smogstop as an effective barrier. It has a double wall to act as a baffle which directs polluted air over photocatalytic coatings to increase the impact.

Barriers webinar

Researcher John Gallagher has been behind many of the studies on air quality barriers and is now at the University of Dublin.

PHE rambles on about benefits

In the latest attempt by medics to tell air quality professionals how they should do their job, Jack Pease wades through 263 pages plus annexes of Public Health England’s rather-too-late advice on air quality interventions

Clean stoves may be unclean

Even clean woodburning stoves may not be clean if used badly, researchers suggest.

Mar 2019 Headlines       Issue 155

Canterbury appeal dashed again

The Appeal Court has rejected once again attempts to block a development near Canterbury that would adversely affect an air quality management area.

Highways England to “revolutionise” roads and driving

Two competitions have been launched by Highways England to encourage innovative ideas to “revolutionise” roads and driving.

£80m on air quality barriers?

Highways England has launched a competition for a mind boggling £80m air quality barrier project.

Zephyr deal

Enviro Technology is to partner EarthSense to market Zephyr sensors to UK local authorities.

Epuk plea

Environmental Protection UK is seeking a volunteer who can spare them four to six hours a week to act as Epuk’s secretariat. l Contact Christopher Fry, head of trustees for more details cchfry@btinter for further info.

UK councils join forces with plea

UK100 city leaders and environmental groups met last month and are calling for the Government’s proposed Environment Bill to be renamed the Clean Air and Environment Bill.

Scottish fire ban?

MSP Roseanna Cunningham was asked in Scottish Parliament question time if the Scottish Government would consider banning domestic wood burning.

Bus on call

On-demand bus services are set to be trialled in Sutton in south west London.

Reading rapped over woodsmoke

The local authority ombudsman has criticised Reading Borough Council for failing to fully investigate domestic smoke nuisance.

London van scrappage cash now available

A £23 million scheme is now operating to help London’s microbusinesses and charities scrap older, polluting vans and minibuses.

Monitoring pledge

Government is still being pressed to reduce its reliance on modelling.

More PQs

Government was asked by MP John Cryer what action on air quality is being taken.

Bristol answers back

Bristol has explained why it is late in putting forward its clean air zone. It was heavily criticised last month (AQB Feb p1).

Taxi registration underway for clean air zones

Defra has released basic details of the outcome of a consultation on identifying taxis accessing clean air zones.

HS2 gets tough on emissions standards

HS2 – set to be UK’s biggest and most ambitious infrastructure project – will insist on strict emission standards for construction plant.

NECD rebadged

Government is consulting on the UK National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP). This is required under the updated NECD.

Costs explainer

Thinking behind new and increased damage costs (AQB Feb p1) has been released.

London breaches ever later

King’s College London has analysed data and notes that breaching the EU hourly NO2 objective is becoming later and later in the year – it used to happen one week after the New Year.

Data reveals mixed success for pollutants

Data for 2017 – the latest official statistics available – suggest mixed improvements for pollutants in the UK.

Parliament discusses Brexit regs

Bills are currently being scrutinised in Parliament setting out the shape of post-Brexit environmental regulations.
Environment (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will set out regulations post Brexit.


Cerc’s ADMS-Urban model is providing air quality forecasts for Manchester

Diesel test case

The European Commission has announced that it will likely appeal an order from the Court of Justice of the European Union on diesel emissions tests.

More calls for scrappage cash

There have been yet more calls for scrappage schemes to accelerate introduction of clean cars despite official concerns about their effectiveness. Jack Pease reports.

Research on scrappage success

Canadian researchers warn that scrappage programmes may actually delay replacement in a new paper currently in press.

Focus shifts to schools

Targeting schools is an increasingly popular theme in the fight to reduce exposure to children. A timely academic paper reviews good practice.

Filtration for schools?

The London Mayor has announced a scheme whereby some nurseries will install filtration systems to improve air quality (AQB January p3).

How London improvements will help the vulnerable

Last month consultant Aether analysed how London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Environment Strategy (LES) plans would make dramatic improvements to exposure in coming years (AQB February p1).

Filter Cubes could help to avoid driving bans

German firm Mann & Hummel has made the suggestion that filter cubes could replace the need for driving bans.

Filtration studied by Kelly

Indoor air filtration has been studied by King’s College London’s Frank Kelly.

Feb 2019 Headlines       Issue 154

Bristol: alarmed, astonished...

Bristol – formerly a leading player on air pollution – has been sanctioned by environment minister Thérèse Coffey for slow progress on progressing its clean air zone to comply with the NO2 plan.

Air pollution damage costs rise substantially

Official air quality “damage costs” appear to have risen nearly tenfold.

‘World’s largest’ monitoring network

The London Mayor has launched what he claims is the ‘world’s largest air quality monitoring network”.

Dustscan self owned

Dustscan has become an employee owned business!  All company shares are now owned by an Employee Ownership Trust (DustScan Trustees Ltd) and all staff now have a say in the direction of the business.

Uber clean fee

Uber riders in London must now pay a 15p per mile ‘clean air’ surcharge. The money is intended to help drivers afford new ultra clean electric vehicles.

Office audits air metric revamp

The National Audit Office has scrutinised Defra plans to revamp environmental metrics post-Brexit.

Inquest into girl’s death may be reopened

An inquest is likely to be re-run in a bid to blame air pollution for the death of a young girl in 2013.

Plume leads to Ombudsman rap

Halton Borough Council has been criticised by the Local Authority Ombudsman for failing to properly investigate complaints of steam from an incinerator.

North east councils reject CAZ charging

Charging has been roundly rejected by Tyneside councils. They say that no options would reduce air pollution below limits and despite the reporting deadline having passed, have told Defra that further analysis is needed.

Oxford zero emission zone diluted

The much feted Oxford zero emission zone has been watered down

Southampton no

The rejection of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Southampton is a “boost to the port as well as local businesses”, according to the Freight Transport Association.

Inequality will reduce in London

A detailed analysis suggests that planned air quality improvements in London will benefit the poorest. All primary and secondary schools exceeding NO2 limits will drop from 453 in 2013 to zero by 2025.

Wireless EV charging to be tested

UK Power Networks Services will work with UPS, High Speed 1 and WMG on an innovative new project to assess the feasibility of using wireless charging to support the use of electric vehicles in commercial fleets on London’s roads.

York chooses zone

York is set to invest £1.6million in a ‘voluntary’ clean air zone (CAZ) in the city aimed at improving exhaust emissions from local bus services.

LEZ explainer

A comprehensive, cartographic overview of diesel bans and low-emission zones across 350 cities in eight countries has been released.

Tube dust probe inconclusive

Comeap has drawn a blank with its bid to assess the health risks of tube dust compared to ambient particles.

Leeds go ahead

Leeds City Council has been given final approval and more than £29 million in funding from the government to implement a clean air charging zone in the city and support businesses affected.

Scotland settles for LEZs

Scotland has finalised its National Low Emission Framework – eschewing Defra’s clean air zone definitions

Scottish two-tier models

The Scottish National Modelling Framework (NMF) is a key strand of the Clean Air For Scotland strategy which will develop a national, two-tiered modelling approach for air quality within Scotland. The NMF aims to standardise data collection requirements, analysis processes and presentation of outputs to provide local authorities with information required to appraise measures for improving urban air quality.

New air quality strategy: unchanged forward plans

England has released its final strategy – a bit of a damp squib as much of it is unchanged, give or take a burst of enthusiasm on LAQM. Meanwhile Scotland does not like Defra’s idea of clean air zones (see facing page)

LAQM: first look at proposed new form

A four-line glancing mention of LAQM in the draft strategy has become three whole pages in the final strategy. Effectively the Government did not consult on LAQM but it has now made recommendations on LAQM that may lead to important changes.

Responses suggest some disapproval

As is customary Defra has released its summary of responses to the consultation which ran from 22 May to the 14 August 2018.

Breathe London launched

Air Monitors designed and installed the network of AQMesh pods, as well as the analysers in the Google Street View cars. 

Jan 2019 Headlines       Issue 153

Arrest made

A council air quality specialist has been arrested by Surrey Police following publishing of an erroneous 2016 air quality progress report.

Naughty step!

Environment secretary Michael Gove has been questioned by MPs as part of an enquiry into Defra.
(On Derby’s refusal to go for a clean air zone): “It will be the case, unless things change, that there will be some local authorities that we will be critical of and issue directions to. They may change their approach, but until we have concluded those conversations I would not want to put anyone specifically on the naughty step yet.

London taxis to pay charge

The powerful London taxi lobby has protected taxi drivers from punitive emissions legislation for decades but now will be subject to charges.

Precautionary principle sinks Peel Hall

Air quality has been a central argument in further rejection of plans for 1,200 dwellings near a motorway.

Means testing for Birmingham

Means testing will apply to Birmingham clean air zone charges – if the Government funds it.

Health impacts for tyre fire assessed

A huge waste tyre fire did not cause any significant impact on the local population.

Harker move

Graham Harker has left Peter Brett Associates and joined Ramboll in Birmingham where he will be working to build up their air quality team.

Green Budget?

MPs have scrutinised Treasury and other departments on whether the recent Budget delivered any green benefits.

Nursery filtration plan in London

20 children’s nurseries in London will have air quality audits with five of them becoming test beds for air quality filtration.

CO2 benefits debunked

Diesel has been encouraged despite its impact on air quality in the belief that it yielded CO2 benefits. This is challenged by German researchers.

Small firms eligible for van scrappage grant

The London Mayor has launched a modest van scrappage scheme asking central Government to match the £23m of London money.

Electric buses for Guildford

Transport operator Stagecoach is set to introduce nine new fully electric, zero emission buses on its Guildford Park & Ride services. The deal is worth over £3m.

Fleming returns

Peter Fleming has joined Campbell Associates, supporting the Aeroqual range of air quality monitors in the UK.

Cities overturn emission limits

The ability for vehicle manufacturers rely on relaxations in real driving emission limits has been questioned by a lower EU court.

Earthsense updates MAPPAIR pollution map

Earthsense has further developed MappAir, the nationwide map of air pollution, to include historical emissions data.

House checker

Air quality data for householders is being offered by the European Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

Glasgow zone

Signs have been erected on main routes into Glasgow as it met its target to start its phased implementation of a low emission zone by the end of 2018.

Truck study

TRL has won a Highways England study into zero emissions HGV technologies
TRL’s role will be to identify and appraise the potential zero emission HGV technologies that can potentially make a positive effect on climate change and air quality.

Preston struggles with smoke

Preston City Council has been unable to tackle persistent smoke nuisance – but has been vindicated by the Local Authority Ombudsman who said the council could do no more.

EU sets out external costs of transport

Air quality is a large part of external costs of transport, a new EU calculation reveals.

Aggressive driving worsens emissions

Aggressive driving on average increases pollutant emissions by 35% in rural driving and by around five times on the motorway, according to testing of the latest passenger cars by Emissions Analytics on its EQUA Index programme.

Aviation strategy lists air quality actions

Government has released its proposed aviation strategy for expansion to 2050 for consultation. It proposes “sustainable growth” which meets rising passenger demand.

Brexit – air quality implications

Brexit is dominating the news. That analysis focuses on the enormous changes that Brexit will bring – a detailed analysis take a closer look at air quality.

Gove’s new Environment Bill sets out post-Brexit framework

Environment secretary Michael Gove is consulting further on the shape of environmental policy post-Brexit. He has also released responses to last year’s consultation on the 25 year environment plan, plans for safeguards and plans for an oversight body.

December 2018 Headlines       Issue 152

No-charge Nottingham ....

Nottingham City Council is the first ‘first wave’ local authority to have its clean air zone approved. No charging is proposed.

... justifying further no-charge CAZs?

Freight industry lobby groups argue that Nottingham’s approved no-charge zone (see above) shows that charges elsewhere are unnecessary.

Euro 6 standard for LEZs won’t work

Nick Molden of Emission Analytics issued a stark warning at last months two day IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference held in Birmingham: “Our very latest tests are showing that the latest real time emissions compliant new diesels are genuinely very clean indeed.Just at the moment the UK is gearing up for urban restrictions on diesels, super- clean diesels are emerging and petrol sales are increasing.

20mph emission fears noted

DfT has released a comprehensive review of the impacts of 20mph limits.

Woolly response to post-Brexit regulation

MPs have described as woolly government plans for environmental regulation post Brexit.

PDR criticism

The Local Government Association says permitted development rules allowing offices to be converted into housing without planning permission should be scrapped.

Brexit instruments

Draft statutory instruments have been published setting out changes necessary post- Brexit.

Bonfire bounce

Widespread moderate PM10 and PM2.5 was measured across the London air quality network on bonfire night due to early morning European import and evening firework displays.

News from Iapsc/AQE exhibition held at Telford last month

Sensors improve, says Stacey

Monitoring expert Brian Stacey of Ricardo told the Iapsc audience last month of improvements to sensor technology.

Vegetation – redistributes not reduces

The Iapsc conference heard yet more evidence of the limitations of assuming green infrastructure (GI – trees etc) can reduce air pollution.

MOT emission fails double

Following changes to the MOT test in May, more than 744,592 cars have failed the emissions test – a doubling – and an even more dramatic 450% increase in van failures.

Pods on docks

AQMesh pods have been used in a project at the Port of Kiel, Germany, to measure emissions of NOx and PM2.5 around the port’s cruise ship terminal.

Avoid ‘zero emission’ term

Experts are warning against the misleading use of the term “zero emission”

More low emission bus zones in London

Five new ‘clean air’ bus zones with 1,440 vehicles are now in operation in London.

Non tailpipe probe

Government is seeking organisations to apply to develop new solutions to reduce air pollutant emissions from road vehicle brake or tyre wear, non-road mobile machinery used in construction and transport refrigeration units.

Dust update

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has published updated Guidance on monitoring in the vicinity of demolition and construction sites. It is aimed at developers undertaking construction works and the local authority regulators dealing with dust and PM emissions.

Hovis goes electric

Hovis, the first supermarket business to deliver bread via an all-electric vehicle, is trialling two 7.5 tonne FUSO eCanter trucks for bread deliveries in London – the first delivery will take place at Tesco’s Rainham store.

Cardiff air: Third time lucky

Detailed modelling of Cardiff has revealed that both the Defra PCM model and LAQM have got it wrong.

Welsh councils update air quality progress

The Welsh Air Quality Forum held its annual conference in Caerphilly recently.

More money plea

Mayors and city leaders want a further cash injection into the Clean Air Fund. They say the £220m Clean Air Fund is ‘inadequate’ and its needs to be raised to £1.75bn.

Epuk: Monk warns on wood

President Lord Whitty could add no more to momentous Brexit news as Epuk’s annual conference took place

Clientearth tightlipped

Clientearth’s Katherine Nield updated delegates one where litigation is on air quality - or rather she was unable to!

Scottish clean air strategy reviewed

Scotland has launched a review of its Clean Air for Scotland (CAFS) policy.
For once Scottish policy is to follow that made in England – the review will consider whether wider issues such industrial emissions and agriculture should be included, as is the case in England (AQB June 2018 p8).

Plain speaking on pollution

Gary Fuller is one of the most enlightening speakers on the conference circuit so it is no surprise he’s written a book. Jack Pease reads it.l The invisible killer: the rising global threat of air pollution and how we can fight back, Gary Fuller, £12.99 – 288pp

London LEZ unproven effect

A study has shown that London’s low emission zone has improved air quality but lung damage has not abated.

Pellet SOx

A comparison of both pellet and forest biomass residue energy supply chain in terms of atmospheric emissions was performed to inform Portugese biomass policy.

Premature aging

Air pollution can lead to premature aging, a review suggests.

November 2018 Headlines       Issue 151

Future declines challenged

An important European court case is set to challenge the almost-universal acceptance that future emission reductions will bring concentrations below limits.

Shoreside power for Islington canal boats

The Canal & River Trust and Islington Council are creating an ‘eco-mooring zone’ for canal boats to reduce impacts in a smoky hotspot.

Next year’s grant

Local authorities in England can now apply for 2018/19 air quality grant. It has been held at £3m.

Bath beats Bristol

Bath has beaten its larger neighbour Bristol to finalise clean air zone plans. Bath is to charge dirty cars £9 adopting the tightest class D zone. Bristol, which has in the past been a pathfinder on air quality, remains locked in discussions about the severity of its zone.

Taxi database

Government is consulting on the setting up of a central database of taxis and minicabs.

Coatings push by industry body

The Environment Industries Commission is claiming that the benefits of photocatalytic coatings have been underestimated and that large scale studies should be set up.

EEA beefs up European analysis

The European Environment Agency has released its 2018 annual report and included new data. For the first time, the Air quality in Europe report presents information on concentrations for most air pollutants at country level for all of the EEA-39 countries (the 33 member countries and six cooperating countries.

Limited feedback to 3rd wave

Defra has released a summary of feedback from its consultation on action for ‘3rd wave’ councils told to fix NO2 hotspots (AQB June p1).

Derby: turkeys didn’t vote for Christmas

Three quarters of the public in Derby voted not to have charges as part of the city’s proposed clean air zone.

Urban tree manual sets out pollution effects

Government has published an ‘urban tree manual’. It provides advice on selecting the right tree for the right place in towns and cities for air quality, noise, wellbeing, CO2 and heat reasons.

Austerity laid bare

Minutes expose how austerity is hitting councils.

Ammonia up

Ammonia stands out as a problem pollutant in the latest official emissions inventory for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

PM2.5 effect remains ‘likely’

Comeap has updated findings on cardiovascular diseases and air pollution but struggled to strengthen the evidence beyond “likely”. It has ruled that long-term exposure to current levels of air pollution is likely to affect cardiovascular illness.

Scotland sidelines PCM model

Scotland is advising the use of a new Scotland-specific methodology rather than the UK PCM model used to show compliance with the EU directive.

Future of ‘do no harm’ mantra

Brexit may dilute the precautionary principle embedded in current EU law.

Parents’ action

A group of parents has called on the UK government to release funding for emergency measures to clean up “illegal” levels of air pollution around schools and nurseries across the country.

Road closures to aid air quality

The City of London is consulting on its first draft transport plan largely driven by the need to improve air quality.

Business group slams standards hotchpotch

The initial proposals for the City of London transport strategy have been met with apprehension by the Freight Transport Association.

Who bad air warning

“Every day around 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk”, says the World Health Organisation.

Pregnancy effect

A new study presented to the European Respiratory Society International Congress adds to existing evidence on the dangers of pollution for unborn babies and suggests that when pregnant women breathe polluted air, sooty particles are able to reach the placenta via the bloodstream.

Directions and money in NO2 plan

Defra has released a NO2 plan supplement that sets out third wave action

2040 petrol and diesel ban not good enough

MPs on the House of Commons business committee say the target to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2040 is vague and unambitious

Plug in explainer

The Government’s Plug-In grant scheme provides direct support towards the cost of buying an electric vehicle.

Report reveals CHP spikes

GLA has just released two reports on CHP plants in London. Emissions are shocking, finds Jack Pease.

King’s looks at two sites

Two sites were studied in the King’s study – Bloomsbury, in central London, where the GLA identified eight small combustion-based CHP engines (each below 1MW) within close proximity and a small-scale CHP plant (200 kW – electric) in an unnamed suburban London.

Analysis by measurement

The five borough-study establishes scale of London problem. While the Kings’ report (above) looks at the impact at two specific sites – Ricardo’s report for the GLA takes a broader view attempting to look at impacts cross five boroughs: Camden, Enfield, Kensington & Chelsea, Southwark and Westminster. A total of 376 CHP sites were identified in these boroughs.

Consultation suggests withdrawing RHI from urban ban areas

Government is consulting on removing grants for installing biomass plants in urban areas served by gas.

October 2018 Headlines       Issue 150

More warnings for late plans

Derby and Southampton have been instructed to hurry up with action on clean air zones.

Dementia impact uncovered in London

Findings that air pollution causes dementia are the latest to hit popular press front pages.

Air quality back at Court of Appeal

A legal challenge focussed on air quality has been heard by the Court of Appeal – a decision is due in a few weeks.

No deal Brexit notes released

Government is releasing increasing numbers of ‘no Brexit deal’ guidance notes. The notes cover topics including industrial emissions and environmental standards.

Auditors slate European directive progress

European auditors have scrutinised air quality action across Europe and suggest the directive is not strong enough and enforcement too weak.

One third exposed

A total of 2.5 billion people – a third of the global population – were exposed to household air pollution in 2016 from the use of solid fuels for cooking and heating, according the US Health Effects Institute.

Vehicles up

The number of vehicles on England’s clogged roads has risen by nearly two and a half million in the last five years, councils say.

Kitchen flue guidance (for sale)

Emaq – Ricardo’s air quality training arm – has updated odour and noise guidance for commercial kitchen extraction equipment.

Agriculture bill laid before Parliament

Government has set out the shape of a new Agriculture Bill.

Ammonia ‘experts’ take office at Defra

A new team of “experts”, backed with £3 million of funding, have been appointed by Defra to help farmers reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture.

Emission cartel?

The European Commission is investigating collusion between BMW, Daimler and the VW group over emission technology.

NICE consults on ‘standards’

NICE – which sets advice for the NHS – is consulting on air quality ‘quality standards’.

Earthsense brings forward apps and sensors

Earthsense has announced that its state-of-the-art Zephyr air quality monitor, an industry-first in small sensor technology with replaceable cartridge system, will go into mass production.

...and an app

A new app being developed by Earthsense will allow users to find the least polluted routes when walking, running or cycling.

Environment statistics

The Office of National Statistics has released its latest annual report on environmental expenditure and taxation.

Cancer burden up

The global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018 says the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Strategy: thin and little detail

The draft England air quality strategy consultation has been overshadowed by the rush to put in place clean air zones. Feedback is lukewarm, finds Jack Pease

Comeap NO2 – rift revealed

Last month Comeap broke the impasse on NO2 deaths by ruling on numbers – with a substantial disclaimer. Jack Pease reports

September 2018 Headlines       Issue 149

Deaths: 32,000 replaces 29,000

Government advisory panel Comeap has ended years of argument and agreed to disagree about how many people NO2 kills.

IAQM early response

The IAQM has responded to Defra’s consultation on the draft Clean Air Strategy .

NPPF updates Para 124 to become Para 181

The new National Planning Policy Framework has been finalised. Air quality mentions are updated to include new terms such as Clean Air Zones.

Aqeg analyses ultrafines

Aqeg has released a report on ultrafine particles (UFP).

Green spaces valued for pollution benefits

A government statistics body has ‘costed’ the benefits of green space. The value associated with living near a green space is estimated to be just over £130 billion in the UK.

Green belt help

The London Assembly has mounted a probe into green belt within London.

City index

BRE has launched a Healthy Cities Index.

Roof garden paves way for M’way flats

Flats near the M4 motorway have been approved at appeal despite air quality objections. Hounslow had objected to the scheme because of air quality and noise and following rejection the matter went to appeal.

Two to AQC

Air Quality Consultants Ltd has made two high level appointments to complement its growing team.
Dr Denise Evans has been appointed as an associate director and Nigel Bellamy has been appointed as a technical director.

IAQM on dust

IAQM Guidance on monitoring in the vicinity of demolition and construction sites has now been updated and in draft form for final consultation.

Fracking impacts totted up

A long-delayed report into emissions from fracking has been released

Woodburning controls

Defra is consulting once again on controls on sales of firewood and solid fuels.

Goalposts moved

After breaching national air pollution limits, eleven governments have asked the European Commission to effectively raise their ‘emission ceilings’.

Ozone record

King’s College London has issued interim thoughts on the summer heatwave.

Unicef plea

Unicef UK says young children and babies in the UK are being disproportionately impacted by PM2.5.

Wycombe plan streetwork curbs

Wycombe District Council has produced an air quality action plan. It contains the usual non-policies (eg lobbying central government for cleaner vehicle standards) but also some unexpected nuggets.

London boroughs tighten up diesel surcharge

Westminster City Council is consulting on whether to extend its 50% surcharge of dirty diesel parking across the borough.

City of London action

Meanwhile the City of London Corporation is introducing a “ground-breaking parking solution” – RingGo’s emissions based parking cashless parking app, which will target high polluting transport with higher charges while rewarding drivers of low emission vehicles with lower tariffs.

Heathrow fightback commences

Six challenges have been tabled to the national policy statement that enables Heathrow growth.

Heathrow NO2 claim

Pressure group the Airportwatch claims NOX emissions from Heathrow planes are over twice that of local traffic.

European ammonia

Air pollution: agriculture and transport emissions continue to pose problems in meeting agreed limits. Three reports have been released by the European Environment Agency.

Cheat checks

The European Joint Research Centre says it has been testing cars for emissions conformity. Diesels tended to exceed NOx limits by a factor of eight but performed better than petrol for other pollutants.

Lorry emission cheats are targeted

DVSA enforcement staff have started to check lorries for emissions cheat devices.

ICCT analyses costs of cleaner engines

Three reports have been released by the ICCT on cleaner engine emissions.

CAZs: Nottingham says no

Nottingham is trying to stand up to Defra and say no to a clean air zone

Trees: tread carefully says Aqeg

In a bid to nip a bandwagon in the bud, the Air Quality Expert Group warns against assuming greenery will solve air quality problems.

Conclusions for urban tree planting policy

The effects of realistic planting schemes to alleviate air quality problems by enhancing deposition to the surface with vegetation in cities are small.

Pollution removal potential tool is released

Despite Aqeg’s scepticism about the benefits of trees as an air pollution device in urban areas, a statistics tool has been released that tots up pollution both nationally, regionally and in a local area.

Ammonia tops policy fears

Ammonia concentrations continue to remain stubbornly high. This is despite new controls on farming and a reduction in emissions.

Environment Agency releases good practice guide

The Environment Agency has issued a ‘state of the environment guide’ and advice for farmers on ammonia.

Clean car costs

Health costs of cars and vans have been itemised in a study by Oxford researchers.

‘Hyperlocal’ air network for London

Air Monitors is taking a key role in a novel project with AQMesh psds and Google mappng cars

Car-free Cardiff cuts bad air by 69%

Banning cars on a single day allowed impacts to be measured in Cardiff by Air Monitors

Urban Observatory monitors Newcastle with new sensors

Air Monitors is playing a key role in the UK’s first Urban Observatory which has been designed to provide a digital view of how our cities work. The company has supplied air quality monitoring equipment which has been deployed across Newcastle and Gateshead in conjunction with other instruments for monitoring parameters such as air and water quality, noise, weather, energy use, traffic and even tweets.

August 2018 Headlines       Issue 148

Plea to reopen girl’s inquest

Lawyers are seeking to reopen an inquest into a young girl’s death in a bid to have pollution named as the cause of death.

Highways England: Air quality money unspent

Highways England has failed to spend money destined for air quality. It has spent just £3m of £75m pledged in 2015.

Barbecue settlement in Islington

A legal challenge to barbecues in Highbury Fields park in London has been settled out of court. Islington Council has agreed to restrict BBQ usage.

Poultry odour challenge fails

An attempt to challenge granting of planning permission for a large 210,000 bird-poultry farm has failed.

No to Nottingham clean air zone

Nottingham City Council is rejecting calls to adopt a clean air zone. It is one of the five ‘first wave’ authorities required to consider a zone.

Clean Air Bill: another attempt launched

Activists have made a further attempt to get a clean air bill through the Parliament.

Safeguards needed

The Government should establish a new independent oversight body—the Environmental Enforcement and Audit Office (EEAO) — modelled on the National Audit Office (NAO), to ensure that the governance, enforcement, oversight and policy functions currently carried out by Europe are not lost.

Burners underreported

Pressure group UK Without Incineration says emissions are being under-reported.

Shoreham Ikea: ‘negligible’

A new Ikea near Brighton will have a negligible impact on air quality, developers claim.

Heathrow challenge

Councils near Heathrow have served notice that they intend to launch a legal challenge on a third runway.

Chargepoint laws

A small Bill has been enacted to accelerate installation of a charging network for electric cars.

Knightsbridge plan retains air

Air quality has been weakened in a groundbreaking neighbourhood plan – but the most important provisions remain making it one of the strongest air quality planning aspirations in the country.

Enderby s106 threat

Greenwich Council believes it may be in a position to tighten up safeguards for a controversial cruise ship terminal in east London.

Better Bankside

Better Bankside BID is funding a Clean Air Mini Neighbourhood with £36,500 through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

Fracking shake up takes shape

Moving decision making on fracking planning applications to a national level contradicts the principles of localism and would likely exacerbate existing mistrust between communities and the fracking industry, MPs say.

Shale planning

A consultation has been launched on whether to deregulate shale exploration.

Lancs go ahead

Cuadrilla has received final hydraulic fracture consent DBEIS for its first horizontal shale gas exploration well at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire

Birmingham targets cars for its CAZ

Analysis has now been released on Birmingham’s clean air zone – a type D zone that will target cars.

Dramatic London reductions

London’s worst polluted sites have improved most, Tim Baker told the Londonair conference last month.

First ‘enforcement undertaking’ for odour

The Environment Agency has agreed its first odour enforcement undertaking four years after complaints started.

Road to zero?

The much awaited catch-all clean vehicle strategy – dubbed The Road to Zero – has been launched.

Hybrid power pack

Off Grid Energy, has installed its largest and most powerful temporary power hybrid unit at Kennington Tube station.

Glasgow ambition

Last month we questioned whether Glasgow’s low emission zone plans were ambitious.

Silvertown: dry run for Heathrow?

In early Summer the Silvertown tunnel got the go ahead following exhaustive arguments on air quality that are likely to form a template for Heathrow arguments. Air quality monitoring and mitigation: conditions are set out

London leads LEZ charge

Now the dust has settled, what are the arguments for and against tightening London’s low emission rules?

Truck firms warn against low emission zones

Truck operators have come together to warn that “pricing trucks out of towns” is not the way forward.

LAQM ‘unambitious, counterproductive’

A paper has analysed the UK LAQM system and found it a failure of unambitious and counterproductive national air quality policy.

July 2018 Headlines       Issue 147

Councils muster to fight runway

Heathrow may have won a Parliamentary vote by a landslide – but a third runway is still by no means certain.

Superinquiry response concedes little

Government has responded to the MPs’ ‘superinquiry’ on air quality. The unprecedented joining-up of four Commons committees led to a critical report (AQB Jan p6) and Gov-ernment has now responded.

Bigger London ULEZ

Phase two of the London ultra low emission zone will expand up to (but not including) the North and South Circulars – not all the way out to the M25 as some had hoped.

London ‘Hyperlocal’ air mapping

London will have ‘hyperlocal’ air quality mapping with smart sensors and Google Street View cars

Mayor launches child health study

Over 3,000 primary school children in polluted areas of London and Luton will have their lung health monitored over a four-year period in a new international study looking at LEZs led by Queen Mary University of London and launched by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

NASA satellite view of moor fire

Smoke from the Saddleworth Moor peat fires as seen by NASA satellites

Manchester report

A new report suggests more action is needed in Manchester. Manchester defied logic when it was omitted from the first wave authorities required to produce a charging zone, and will not make public current thinking on whether or not it will charge.

Aether decade

Consultant Aether has celebrated it’s 10th ‘birthday’.

News roundup from the Iapsc conference held in London

Biomass takes centre stage

Paul Monks warned of the current contradiction in policy on biomass at last month’s IAPSC conference in London.

Councillors refuse incinerator against advice

Councillors have ignored officers and voted down an incinerator in Sowerby Bridge.

Deaths halved?

A new European Commission report shows that the number of premature deaths due to air pollution in 2030 could be reduced by more than 50%, if member states applied NECD policies on air pollutant emissions, climate and energy.

Speed cut for immediate benefit

Wales is championing the use of speed limits to reduce emissions immediately. England has tended to avoid speed restrictions – or play them down – for fear of annoying motorists despite clear benefits (AQB Feb p1).

Wales costs integrated approach on air

Public Health Wales is arguing for an integrated approach to reduce the air pollution burden on public health.

Scotland LEZ Bill

Scotland has published a transport bill which paves the way for forthcoming low emission zones

Council CAZs take shape

While the deadline for completing CAZ plans is not till autumn, councils must consult on them and many must do so now to meet the deadline. What are councils proposing?

Cheat loophole gone

The loophole that has let carmarkers off the hook in the UK for cheat devices has been closed.

Brexit amendment

The House of Commons has passed a government amendment about environmental principles and a new green watchdog in the EU Withdrawal Bill, which could weaken protection for the environment in the UK, claims Clientearth.

CAZ difficulties spelled out to Lords

Council officers are usually muzzled so cannot spill the beans. But in front of MPs they can and do tell it like it is on the difficulties with Clean Air Zones.

Heathrow expansion

Six pages of analysis on Heathrow

Government response to NPS consultation

As part of the package the Government released its response to the National Policy Statement consultation has been released. Having considered these responses, this is its considered response but note this is different to the Government response to the Transport Committee recommendations

June 2018 Headlines       Issue 146

Strategy toughened

Government is consulting on a new air quality strategy for England.

Road hump removal solves NO2?

The latest batch of local authorities required to reduce pollution have been told how – removing road humps is a tabled as a serious suggestion.A supplement to the national NO2 plan tells ‘third wave’ authorities that they should not attempt to create charging zones to cut pollution – rather cut pollution by soft means such as education, junction improvements and removing road humps.

Silvertown go ahead ends guidance gap?

The Silvertown Tunnel will go ahead. A Development Consent Order has been issued ending protracted arguments on air quality (whether IAQM trumps poor DMRB guidance).

Doctors’ guidance

Public Health Wales has produced air quality guidance for the NHS.

Low emission buses

English and Welsh authorities can bid for ultra low emission bus funding. Guidance has been issued on how to do it.

Fracking rules set to dilute local safeguards

Shale gas regulation is set for a shake up in a bid to rationalise environmental issues such as air quality and noise which have plagued planning applications with long delays.

Post-Brexit governance spat

Environment secretary Michael Gove has set out his vision for an environmental watchdog mechanism post-Brexit.

Strategy toughened

London’s environment strategy has reached ‘final draft’ and includes slightly tougher air quality aspirations.

Air quality prompts crime wave

Bad air quality prompts increased crime, academics claim.

Euro court threat accelerates

UK is among seven countries now referred to the European Court in Luxembourg for air quality breaches.

Red diesel probe targets off road machinery

A consultation has been launched on red diesel. The much-heralded review has been prompted by fears that low duty diesel undermines attempts to encourage use of cleaner fuels.

NPPF changes unpicked by Epuk

Environmental Protection UK has tabled an early response to the recent consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.

Edinburgh inconsistent

People are concerned about air quality but not enough to act on it, an Edinburgh City Council study suggests.

Gothenburg progress

The government has a further step towards ratifying the 2012 amendments to the Gothenburg Protocol.

Van tax revamp

Proposals to tax vans in a similar way to cars have been released for consultation.

London school exposure detailed

A forensic analysis of emissions, exposure and possible action has been revealed in 50 detailed audits of London schools.

Outdoor NO2 worsens indoor school exposure

A review with case studies reviews schools in London with adverse air quality.

AQC is 25

Air Quality Consultants (AQC) is celebrating 25 years of providing expert support on air quality matters.

Inventory award

Ricardo has the ‘most complete’ inventory for UK emissions reporting
It was judged the most complete emissions inventory within a field of 40 by the United Nations Task Force on Emission Inventories and Projections (TFEIP).

Benzene guide

International air quality monitoring specialist, Duvas Technologies, has launched the industry’s first global guide to benzene.

Local illness costing now possible

A new tool has been introduced that allows local authorities to cost improvements (or no improvement) in pollution on local scale

Strategy tightens PM2.5 ambition

We unpick the consultation on the new 2018 air quality strategy in this month's feature

May  2018 Headlines       Issue 145

TfL in cross border taxi plea

TfL is lobbying Government in a bid to limit cross border hiring of taxis.

LEZs will do nothing for particles

Speaking to the IAQM DMUG conference last month, Scott Hamilton of Ricardo once again pushed the firm’s fledgling Rapidair model which has been used to test scenarios of low emission zones in Scotland. He said: “LEZs will reduce NO2. New iterations of Euro 6 are expected to deliver substantial reductions of NO2 emissions and concentrations should drop.

Gove goaded

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee is taking evidence on the Government's 25 Year Plan for the Environment.

Wales consults

Wales is consulting on a Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales, and Cardiff is starting work on its LEZ feasibility study.

Class D for Bath to share pain

Bath is considering three options for clean air zones – including a Class D zone that will involve charging car drivers to share the pain. Diesel cars make up and average 49% of emissions within Bath.

US weakening

Car standards are being weakened in the US as part of President Trump’s promise to dilute environmental regulation.

Aviation pledge

The Government has released a think-piece on the future of aviation calling for evidence.

Clean again

2017 has been confirmed as another clean year in terms of air quality statistics. This was flagged up by our own AQB yardstick in January.

Vehicle ammonia builds up

Ammonia from vehicles is not being properly treated, warned Air Quality Consultants Ben Marner at the DMUG conference.

Silvertown arguments

TfL has submitted further air quality arguments in support of the east London Silvertown road tunnel. TfL claims it meets legal requirements.

Lorry charges

Lorry charges – the HGV levy – will be adjusted to encourage cleaner trucks.

National Mappair map now includes PM2.5

Mappair, which describes itself as the “first ever high resolution nationwide map of air pollution” – now includes PM2.5. at a claimed resolution of 100m.

More ammonia inventory woes

“There is a bit of a problem with emission inventories in the UK at the moment”, experts at the Dispersion Model User Group were told.

Euro-reasoning suppressed

The UK Government is refusing to release its arguments to the European Commission justifying its record on air quality.

App launched to help Bristol action planning

Bristol has launched a smartphone app to help with air quality action planning.

Maritime strategy

Parliament has debated what is to be done about cruise liner emissions when at birth in UK ports.

Ultra low buses

A new Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme aimed at cutting emissions and ensuring cleaner and greener journeys has been launched by the Government.

Wealden makes lonely stand

Wealden is digging its heals in and taking a tough line on cumulative impacts

Deaths updated

WHO has updated its own assessment of worldwide air quality related deaths – 7m – and its database for the Europe – half a million.

Burden reaches 7m

Seven billion people, more than 95% of the world’s population, live in areas of unhealthy air, according to a new global study by the Health Effects Institute.

Euro 6 bus mitigation accepted

While the appeal failed on other grounds, a developer was prepared to pay £1m for low emission buses to get housing near an AQMA. If you need £1m for buses, study this judgment carefully and get your bus bung!

Wales consults on new framework

Wales has rushed out supplementary plans to reduce NO2 having been caught out by Clientearth’s court case.

Wales plans judged to be lacking by Clientearth

Lawyer Clientearth claims Wales’ plans ‘lack clarity’ and are in danger of falling short of legal requirements.

Cardiff rushes to catch up

Cities across the UK are rushing ahead with feasibility studies in a bid to comply with the UK NO2 plan – whether they were in the first tranche or more recent tranche dragged in by Clientearth’s most recent court case. That court case dragged in Cardiff which is now having to play catch up.

April 2018 Headlines       Issue 144

Funding packages set out

Government has set out more details of funding of air quality plan measures.

Resignations follow weak Scottish plans

Environmentalists in Scotland have resigned from a government low emission zone steering group claiming there is a lack of ambition.

Derby once again admonished

Derby is trailblazing – by testing Government on what it will do to authorities that are not doing as they are told on air quality.

Woodsmoke triggers ‘high’ days

Moderate and high particle pollution was measured throughout London and the south on Friday 2nd to Saturday 3rd March 2018, and also across large parts of the UK and western Europe, says King’s College London.

Cambridge continues to target buses

Buses remain the focus in Cambridge City Council’s latest air quality action plan. While taxis and trucks will be affected, the bus focus is despite disappointing results having targeted buses in the first action plan.

Direct action targets London City Hall

Activists have targeted City Hall in London in their latest high profile wheeze.
Clean air defenders from Stop Killing Londoners have repeatedly sprayed City Hall with graffiti last month, unsurprisingly many were arrested. They say they are prepared to go to prison unless Mayor Sadiq Khan does more.

NPPF consultation

Westminster is consulting on a new English National Planning Policy Framework.

Emissions ahead

An emissions inventory trumpets the rapid drop in UK emissions in recent decades – but last year ammonia went up.

ET win

Upgrade of the automatic monitoring network (AQB Feb p5) has led to further wins.

Scrappage rejected in NO2 plan

Government has published conclusions and a summary of responses to the consultation on the NO2 plan. A national scrappage scheme has been ruled out.

Clean air fund

Linked to the above is more details on how councils can get money out of the Clean Air Fund over the period of 2018/19 to 2020/21: “It is our intention that successful local authorities will receive the funding award from the Clean Air Fund at the same time as they are awarded funding from the Implementation Fund.

Brighton loses with tucked-away monitors

Brighton councillors have written to Government claiming national modelling assessments has left the city behind in the national push to improve air.

LEZ responses

A new report samples responses to the Building Scotland’s low emission zones consultation which sought feedback on the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce LEZs in Scotland.

Emulator fine

Another truck operator has been disqualified for systematic fiddling of emissions.

New PM sensor

Alphasense has launched a new version of its optical particle counter.

Overheating – beware of sealed windows

Acousticians have put together a guide on sealed-up windows and the need to avoid overheating.

English air quality grant released

One week before the end of the 2017/18 financial year, English authorities get to hear who officially wins 2017/18 funding.
This year’s grant totals £2.4m – last year the total was £3.7m (AQB March p13).

New planning policy for Wales

Wales’ Wellbeing Act is full of good intentions – it will be through planning that they can be realised, finds Jack Pease

Chief medical officer wades in

The chief medical officer has published an annual report which focuses on air quality (and noise). Jack Pease reports

Heathrow damage costs dominate

Transport committee MPs have carried out an unusually technical examination of plans to expand Heathrow contained in the Airports NPS.

Superinquiry demands more action

The MPs ‘super-inquiry’ has concluded. Like the numerous MPs’ committees’ reports before it, it wants more action, finds Jack Pease

March 2018 Headlines       Issue 143

Clientearth wins for third time

The Government has been beaten for the third time in the High Court. 36 more local authorities must now do more to show they are planning to reduce NO2.

Further fines from Traffic Commissioners

More commercial vehicle operators are facing Traffic Commissioner sanctions having been caught with faulty emission control equipment.

Birmingham censured for CAZ foot-dragging

Birmingham City Council joins Derby on being censured for not moving quickly enough with developing their clean air zones.

Success for school green screen

An ivy-coated fence has been shown to cut air pollution at a school in Enfield, north London.

More road closures near schools

Another London borough is closing roads near schools to reduce air pollution and traffic.

ULES (sic) in east London

A new term can be coined to go along side ULEZ – ULES.

London breaches – but later than usual

London has breached hourly NO2 exceedences for 2018 – but at the end of January rather than at the beginning. The year’s allocation of breaches are usually on the sixth day.

Channel toxic cloud remains a mystery

Scientists have been unable to explain a ‘toxic’ cloud of gas that hit the Seven Sisters cliffs near Brighton in August last year.

Train clean up

Diesel-only trains are set for cancellation – eventually.
Government has announc-ed a new “ambition” to take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040. It describes this goal as “ambitious”.

DPF warning

DfT has stiffened its warnings to motorists who disable or remove pollution clean up equipment.

Nitrogen analysis

A new report provides an overview of critical loads, deposition data, and exceedence calculations and metrics, followed by summaries of the trends in critical load exceedences for acidity and for nutrient nitrogen, by habitat and country.

Fracking probe

The Commons Communities and Local Government Committee is to examine whether guidance for local authorities taking planning decisions on fracking applications needs to be updated or improved.

Defeat devices to be penalised

DfT is consulting on tougher penalties to deter sale and use of emission defeat devices.

London guide to low cost sensors

The GLA has published guidance in a bid help the public monitor air pollution using low cost monitors.

Battery electric dustcart to serve City

The UK’s first fully electric refuse truck will be trialled in the City of London next month as part of an initiative to drive down air pollution in the Square Mile.

NERC funds three supersites

Three new urban air pollution research laboratories – so called supersites – are to be set up in London, Birmingham and Manchester by the end of 2018

Odour ‘n drone

Enviro Technology is to market three Scentroid devices including the Scentinal SL50 compact air quality and odour monitoring station which provides odour emission monitoring based on ppb level detection of gases such as H2S, ammonia, VOCs, SO etc.

Clean bus funding promised

The latest chunk of clean bus funding has been announced.
Funding will be awarded to 20 local authorities as part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which was launched in 2017 and is run by the Joint Air Quality Unit.

News from the Ricardo Scottish database seminar in glasgow

Scottish sceptics bite back

Health impacts and low emission zone benefits have been questioned by officials in Scotland.

Scottish models and forecasts

Speakers at the Scottish database meeting (see facing page) went on to provide detail of forecasting and modelling changes.

Aqeg appointments

New members have been appointed to the Defra Air Quality Expert Group.

£10k burning fine

A South Derbyshire resident has been fined £10,000 after illegally burning commercial waste on his land and exposing residents to potentially high levels of pollution.

Police probe

Another air quality data dispute has prompted a police probe. This time dodgy air quality data has been referred to Surrey Police while police are still investigating the legalities of manipulated data in Cheshire East (AQB October p1).

Cheshire challenge

A High Court judge has backed Cheshire East’s Local Plan for shaping future development in the borough by throwing out an appeal from a developer which claimed dodgy air quality data rendered the plan invalid (AQB Oct p1).

Guidance for the few

AQB carried out a freedom of information request in a bid to view guidance given to clean air zone authorities. After some tortuous filibustering and breaching of legal time limits, the Joint Air Quality Unit has finally come clean.

Logburning under scrutiny

Defra has rushed through a mini consultation in a bid to stem the rise of fireplace emissions. Jack Pease reports

66% break woodburning laws

We report on a London Assembly probe on woodburning over Christmas

Woodburning reports show threefold underestimation of emissions

Two reports have been released which form the background to current consultation.

February 2018 Headlines

 Knightsbridge plan pushes air

Developers in Westminster look set to have to comply with tougher air quality conditions as part of a new-style neighbourhood plan. The Knightsbridge neighbourhood plan will have statutory standing once approved.

NHS cost calculator could be misleading

A Public Health England-funded project has asked Imperial College to model the health burden of air pollution on local and national health boards.

PM2.5 strengthening

Comeap believes evidence on the health effects of fine particles is increasing.

M1 speed limit U-turn

Variable speed limits are being used to reduce air pollution despite an earlier veto by ministers. The precedent creates opportunities elsewhere. 

Emissions worse than expected

Nitrogen dioxide is not falling as quickly as Defra believes.

Slow speed errors

A vehicle emissions report completed in 2014 but only just released reveals that emission factors are so high at low speeds that modellers have been told to ignore them.

Hourly NO2 drop

Kings researchers are scratching their heads following dramatic drops in hourly NO2.

Brixton clean-up

Brixton has been named as the second London low emission bus zone. A further ten are promised to target hotspots caused by bus emissions.

VW fixes compared

Modifications required by US regulators to VW diesel engines designed to cheat emissions tests are more stringent and more effective than in Europe, says the International Council on Clean Transportation.

One in 10 new homes was a former office

New analysis by the Local Government Association reveals nearly one in 10 new homes over the last two years was converted from an office.

Fracking court case fails

A High Court challenge against fracking has failed.

Systematic fiddling in trucks

Roadside tests have found that there is systematic fiddling of emissions in UK fleets.

Operator claimed Adblue ignorance

A truck operator ran trucks for years without topping up the anti pollution additive.

The naughty nine are summoned by Europe

Nine member states have been summoned to Brussels to explain why they continue to breach air pollution limits.

Shipping change leads to emissions leap

Use of accurate shipping data has led to a leap in UK shipping emission data.

AURN ‘passes’

Data collection from the automatic monitoring network met targets in 2016, the latest annual report notes.

Fry to Ramboll

Chris Fry has joined Ramboll as a director, he was previously managing director of the Temple Group. Steve King leaves RSK to join Ramboll’s Manchester office.

SEA guidance

The RTPI has published new guidance on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). It lists four “tips for success”:

New Clean Air Bill tabled

Clean Air in London’s Simon Birkett has drafted a Clean Air Bill which he believes Parliament could approve if supported. It aims to plug any regulatory gaps on air quality should the UK leave the EU.

Another Bill

Meanwhile MP Geraint Davies already has a separate Clean Air (Private Members) Bill due for a second reading imminently.

Plug in record

2017 was the best-ever year for 100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle registrations, up 27% year on year with sixth consecutive annual rise. The total number of plug-in cars on UK roads has passed 130,000 and Go Ultra Low says 2018 registrations could reach 60,000.

Cheating continues

The Environment Audit Committee has written to government demanding to know why a third of VW cars with cheat devices remain unfixed.

Online help for low cost sensors

The Air Quality Expert Group (Aqeg) has rushed out an online guide to low cost sensors.

Sensor output shows London hotspots

Results emerged before Christmas based on the mass use of low cost air pollution sensors in London.

1,000 sensors

London will trial a £750,000 air quality sensor system to boost capital’s fixed air pollution monitoring systems from over 100 to up to 1,000 locations.

Big win

Monitor firm Enviro Technology Services (ET) has been awarded part of a large contract with the Environment Agency to supply new and replacement particulate monitors for the AURN.Meanwhile  Air Monitors has won the buik of the contract to provide particle monitors.

Leipzig success

A low emission zone in Leipzig has led to a significant decrease of black carbon and ultrafine particles in urban air

Welsh MPs’ consensus on air

Welsh Assembly MPs appeared to reach a rare consensus on the need to fix air quality in Wales.

Defra issues advice on woodburning

Defra has responded to concerns about growing wood burning pollution by issuing an advice note.

Bonfire ban closer

Croydon Council has approved a plan to further consult on a ban on bonfires between 6am and sunset.

Port consults

The Port of London is consulting on an air quality strategy.

Heathrow consults on expansion

Heathrow has launched a consultation on how it intends to expand the airport. Is there anything new on air quality?

Fanfare for 25 year strategy

The long promised environment strategy is out. Was it worth the wait, asks Jack Pease?

Aether analysis

Aether analyses the warm words of the 25 year plan

January 2018 Headlines

New Act demanded by EIC 

The Environment Industries Commission has released a detailed blueprint on how air quality should look post-Brexit.

Woodsmoke clampdown could be imminent

A consultation is shortly expected shortly from Defra that will look at excess woodsmoke.

Wales reacts following unwelcome spotlight

Wales has announced four initiatives on air quality. It is currently in the dock in Clientearth’s legal action for failing to mandate any clean air zones despite Cardiff having poor air quality.

Leeds leads with car-friendly CAZ

Leeds City Council has announced the proposed shape of its clean air zone – it does not intend to include private motorists.

AAMG monitoring conference held in London last month

Aqeg raises more biomass fears

Residential woodburning is getting worse, suspects Alison Tomlin of the Air Quality Expert Group (Aqeg).

Next stop for Aqeg: assessing interventions

Aqeg committee member David Carslaw revealed the direction of the committee on a new report on assessing air quality interventions.

London: 193 years to comply

Kings College London’s Anna Font outlined a study comparing air quality improvements in London and Paris.

Molden: Don’t incentivise dirty vehicles

On vehicle emissions testing, expert Nick Molden of Emission Analytics warned that it is essential to look at actual vehicle emissions – and not just Euro standards – when designing clean air zones.

Shipping update

Aqeg also reported on shipping emissions in 2017 albeit based on old data. Mathew Heal updated the report (AQB September p2).

Waste fires studied

A poster at the AAMG conference in London reviewed the potential health effects of waste fires.

Welsh waste fire guidance

New guidance published is aimed at operators to take the right actions to reduce the risk of fires at waste sites in Wales.

Odour rap

Odour and noise have led to a costs decision against Herefordshire Council.

2017 another clean year

AQB’s rough and ready ‘yardstick’ suggests 2017 was a slightly cleaner year – maybe the ‘cleanest’ ever – which will please the ministers. Using unratified

Permit fees shake up

The Environment Agency has announced a massive shake up of permitting charges. A new structure will be introduced this April and will include extra ‘first year’ charges intended to align permit costs to the work carried out by the regulator.

News from the iapsc meeting held in Birmingham last month

Driverless cars worsen emissions

Driverless cars could worsen air quality, last month’s Investigation of Air Pollution Standing Conference (IAPSC) was told.

Legal analysis from specialist barrister

“We are so obsessed with EU law that we forget that UK law is already doing a lot for air quality,” commented barrister William Upton.

MPs sink teeth into ministers

This may be yet another Parliamentary inquiry which goes nowhere – but the joint MPs scrutiny has unpicked the current state of air quality in eyewatering detail, finds Jack Pease

December  2017 Headlines

Diesel surcharge defies UK plan

Islington is stepping up its efforts against diesels by introducing a diesel surcharge – expressly defying warnings within the UK NO2 plan that councils must not do this.

Defra fund will ‘ideally’ improve air

The £220m Clean Air Fund announced in last month’s budget will “ideally” improve air quality.

Court action #3 launched

Clientearth has launched a third Court challenge to Government plans on air quality.

£220m clean air fund and tax to raise it

The annual Budget announced a new Clean Air Fund in support of the National Air Quality Plan. It will be worth £220m

Challenge to Edinburgh planning approval

A campaigner has failed to overturn a planning approval for an Edinburgh Old Town development.

Nearby AQMA is material consideration
A High Court case has confirmed that a housing scheme in Kent can be refused if it affects nearby AQMAs.

Noise from AQC

Air Quality Consultants Ltd has launched a sister company dealing with noise.
Noise and vibration expert, James Trow, will be MD.

Odour eliminated

Defra has pulled guidance on the control of odour from commercial kitchens first released in 2005. It has not been replaced.

Treasury knew

BBC freedom of information requests have shown that the Treasury was warned that diesel caused health effects but chose to ignore it.

Oxford St plans

The Mayor of London and Westminster City Council are consulting on closing part of Oxford Street.

Bristol extends delays to mull legal warning

Bristol’s air quality plan is now to be delayed by months.

News from EPUK conference held in Birmingham last month

Further Brexit fears from Whitty

Deregulation is a huge risk to environmental protection post-Brexit, chairman Lord Whitty told Environmental Protection UK’s annual conference held in Birmingham last month.

Gove promises environment regulation body

Environment secretary Michael Gove claims he will create an independent environmental body to replace the European watchdog role post-Brexit.

Waverley withdraws NO2 reports

Waverley Council has accepted it used incorrect bias factors for its NO2 diffusion tubes.

Brexit preparations

Environment secretary Michael Gove has provided some more detail on how environmental legislation will be dealt with post-Brexit.

Epuk county offer

Local authority members of a county group can now join Environmental Protection UK for £125 each, provided that all members of the group join.

Wildfire increase

The EU Joint Research Centre’s annual forest fires report confirms a trend towards longer and more intense fire seasons in Europe and neighbouring regions, with wildfires now occurring throughout the year.

Demolition plan criticised

Cornwall Council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for publishing an air quality plan that included the possibility of demolishing an identifiable house.

Mayor brings forward date for ULEZ

The “world’s first” Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will operate from 8 April 2019 in Central London – 17 months earlier than planned.

ET assesses Opsis PEMS equipment

Opsis – marketed in the UK by Enviro Technology – has developed a portable emission monitoring system for testing vehicle emissions in real time (real world emissions).

Silvertown delay

Air quality arguments have prompted a further delay – six months – to a decision on the Silvertown tunnel in east London.

Putney plummets

Provisional 2017 data suggests that new buses have eliminated hourly NO2 exceedences in Putney High Street.

McCrae award

This year’s IAQM award in honour of former TRL consultant Ian McCrae has been awarded to Laurence Lovell of Arup.
Laurence wrote about the importance of particulate matter and how in the future air quality professionals will be able to quantify health effects in addition to air quality impacts.

Wealden prepares its case

Wealden has taken a stand against new housing on habitats grounds.

NAO peeks at JAQU activity

The National Audit Office scrutinises air quality in advance of the Parliamentary “superinquiry” which is currently underway (full report next month).

Tables turned in Kent appeal

Air quality is the central argument in an important Gladman v CPRE high court appeal case centred on housing in Kent near an AQMA

Four 'Kent' cases

There are four legal issues going on in Kent at the moment on air quality:
l Shirley & Rundell vs SoSCLG for failing to call in a large Canterbury planning application on air pollution grounds;
l Resident Emily Shirley is also challenging the Canterbury local plan on air pollution grounds and awaiting to hear if there is permission to appeal;
l The Gladman case was brought by CPRE but uses the same air pollution expert as the ‘Shirley’ cases;
l And then there is Wealden (Not strictly in Kent! – see previous page).

Humble action plan assumes planning significance

One of the curiosities of the judgment is the weight given to a throwaway line in Swale Council’s air quality action plan.

More legal arguments on damage costs

Defra assessment methodology encourages councils to go away and work out how much a development will ‘cost’ in terms of extra pollutants.

November  2017 Headlines

Court threat to authorities

Public authorities failing to produce action plans that deliver results may receive legal threats from Clientearth, Andrea Lee told last month’s IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference.

2030 PM2.5 WHO target for London

The London Mayor has pledged to meet the PM2.5 10µg/m3 WHO guideline by 2030 in a bid to improve London health. It is the headline measure within the Mayors draft Environment Strategy which is currently out to consultation

T-charge now in

The London T-charge (toxic charge) is now in force. Older more polluting cars accessing the central London congestion charge zone must pay a £10 a day charge (on top of the £11.50 congestion charge) or face fines.

News from the IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference

King: ‘too little too late’

Former government chief scientific advisor Sir David King gave the keynote speech to the IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference held in Birmingham last month: “Action on air quality is too little too late.

Leeds reveals real-world CAZ stresses

Leeds City Council’s Polly Cook revealed what it was like for a local authority under the cosh of the Defra/DfT Joint Air Quality Unit and day to day constraints on clean air zone-planning such as local election purdah.

Is planning being taken seriously?

Rose Grogan of law firm 39 Essex Chambers analysed whether air quality was being taken seriously by the planning system.

Kelly: no NO2 death numbers yet

Head of Comeap Frank Kelly once again had to explain why the expert group had failed to finalise numbers on NO2.

Real world performance hopes and fears

David Carslaw of Ricardo/York University reviewed NO2 and NOX trends in London: “There is an apparent trend in London that NO2 is rising but this is because we are adding new sites in polluted locations. People need to take extreme care when drawing trends on this monitored data because of this – we do need to look after our long term sites.

Aviation revision

Release of the UK NO2 plan has contributed to the need to re-consult on the aviation national planning statement. The NPS is the parliamentary device that will precede a planning application for expansion of Heathrow (AQB March 2017).

Tubes ranked

Diffusion tube laboratory rankings have been published. Fewer local authorities continue to offer testing services with some struggling to meet consistent accuracy standards.

Europe snapshot

The European Environment Agency has released its yearly update on air quality across the EU.

Legal bill

Freedom of information requests have revealed Government costs of defending action against Clientearth. “Clientearth #1” in 2015 cost Defra over £80,000 in fees and costs, the more recent court case cost Defra over £280,000.

Inquiry relaunched

The Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health, and Transport Committees have re-launched their joint “superinquiry” into improving air quality.

News from the Welsh Air Quality Forum conference

Speed cut yields big benefits

Public Health Wales believes speed reductions can provide huge benefits for pollution.

Excess NO2 at Welsh ‘demolition’ hotspot

Remote sensing has been carried out at the Hafod-yr-ynys hotspot in Wales. The site has made the news as one of the policy options is to demolish the houses to reduce exposure (AQB Sept p4).

Formal compliance statistics are released

The UK has published EU Directive compliance assessment information for 2016. There have been few changes.

World medics unite

An international grouping of medics has been pulled together by The Lancet commenting on air pollution and climate change. It uses WHO statistics to highlight widespread air pollution problems in UK and the wider world.

Feasibility studies commissioned

Local authorities across England are signing off contracts for feasibility studies to comply with the UK air quality plan.

Metal box AQ garden

Bankside business improvement district in Southwark is trialling portable gardens mounted in skips in a bid to improve air quality.

Research wish list

NICE is working with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to encourage targeted research into air pollution.

Glasgow first

Glasgow has confirmed that it is the first of four Scottish cities to bring forward a low emission zone (AQB October p1).

Nuisance clarification

A local authority may bring summary proceedings (prosecute) a person who contravenes, or fails to comply with an abatement notice without reasonable excuse.

Councils poll

Research commissioned by London Councils shows 47% of 1,000 respondents felt that their health had been impacted by London’s air.

Fracking banned in Scotland

Jack Pease questions the quality of policy making behind Scotland’s decision to ban fracking.

Zero emission zone for Oxford?

Oxford claims a ‘world’s first low emission zone’. Is it as ambitious as it claimed?

Regulation for zone enforcement remains unclear

It seems remarkable that despite years of questioning whether there are sufficient powers to implement low emission zones, councils remain uncertain on what powers they can use.

Zero emission zone conflicts with clean air zone

Ricardo’s report explains the differences between the proposed zero emission zone and government-favoured clean air zones (for those areas affected by the UK plan which does not include Oxford). Oxford does not appear keen to adopt a clean air zone.

October  2017 Headlines

Police called in to Cheshire East

The police are investigating fiddling of LAQM results in Cheshire East.

Broadcast plea

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has encouraged leading TV and radio broadcasters to work with him to help inform Londoners about poor air quality through their news and weather bulletins so they can take action to protect themselves from its harmful effects.

Scotland consults on LEZ framework

The Scottish Programme for Government – much like Westminster’s Queen’s Speech – has pledged to introduce four low emission zones by 2020. The first is set to be Glasgow.

Edinburgh moots diesel penalty

Edinburgh is considering introducing a surcharge for parking diesel vehicles.

Limited hours no safeguard for STORs

The Institute of Air Quality Management is warning that mini generating stations should not be exempted from pollution regulations just because they work for a few hours a year.

Jenkins moves to Phlorum

Nigel Jenkins has joined Phlorum Consultants based in Brighton as a principal air quality consultant.

Helpful limit lifted

A speed limit imposed to improve road safety had the effect of improving air quality in Dover. But Highway England is removing it in favour of intermittent controls.

Highways info

Several months later than required by law, Highways England has responded to AQB’s freedom of information request on its claimed monitoring and air quality performance.

Highways info

Several months later than required by law, Highways England has responded to AQB’s freedom of information request on its claimed monitoring and air quality performance.

Canterbury local plan case fails

A Canterbury resident has failed in her attempt to challenge the local plan and an urban extension. She applied for a Judicial Review claiming the plan and development failed to properly take account of air pollution.

Dartford in limbo due to plan modelling errors

Despite having high pollution levels, and expecting to be included in the list of authorities required to introduce additional measures, Dartford has not been told to take further action.

Airport modelling

The US Transport Research Board has released guidance for selecting and applying dispersion models to study local air quality health impacts resulting from airport-related emissions.

Wellbeing in

The Welsh Wellbeing Act has become law.

Diesel eroded

The CO2 benefits of diesel over petrol are overstated, says Transport & Environment (T&E).

Schools chosen for audits

The London Mayor has re-announced his plans for 50 air quality audits of polluted London schools. He first announced the policy earlier this year (AQB February P4) but has now outlined which schools are included.

School no-go zone

Croydon has taken the draconian step of introducing a no-drive zone outside two of its schools.

Taxi emissions

The High Court has struck out a claim for judicial review brought by the Bristol Blue Licensed Taxi Association against Bristol City Council’s decision to introduce a new policy that imposes more stringent emissions standards on licensed vehicles.

Uber over?

Uber’s news that it intends to move towards low emission vehicles has been over shadowed by TfL threats to suspend its licence.

Highbury Fields BBQ action draws nearer

Islington residents continue to complain about smoke from barbecues on Highbury Fields in London. They say a private nuisance action could start soon.

More NO2 for Sheffield Tinsley

Despite high profile arguments against building of a traffic-generating Ikea near Sheffield’s polluted Tinsley AQMA, the council has now approved a £300m extension to the Meadowhall shopping centre.

ICCT meta-analyses conformity factors

The International Council on Clean Transportation has carried out an analysis of more than 500 Euro 5 & 6 cars to compare them with standards.

NPL relaunch

NPL is to relaunch with an increased focus on air pollution and climate change. It recently pulled out of noise measurement.

Aarhus rethink

Clientearth, RSPB and FoE have won a favourable High Court ruling on costs for environmental cases.

LEZs not clean air zones

Scotland is consulting on the shape of low emission zones which it hopes will delver clean air.

glasgow set to be first low emission zone

Chicken and the egg. Scottish Government has pledged to have an LEZ in by 2018 – but needs a local authority to put itself up for that with uncertain funding. Who blinks first?

Schools front air quality concerns

Polluted inner city schools are increasingly being used as weapons in the war for hearts and minds on air quality.

September  2017 Headlines

‘Deliberate manipulation’ of data

Cheshire East has admitted air quality data has been deliberately manipulated

Defra (and councils) told not to screen out expensive options

Clientearth has written to the UK Government and local councils warning them not to screen out policy options simply on cost. Bristol is the first council affected and has had to rethink its air quality plan as at the eleventh hour.

NO2 ‘Direction’ is published

Legislation has been published requiring councils to prepare action plans as set out in the recent NO2 plans document (AQB August p1)

Caution urged on road hump removal

The eyecatching policy suggestion in the Government’s NO2 plan to remove road humps has attracted criticism from road safety groups.

AQEG looks at land impact of shipping

NOX from shipping is projected to rise – but PM10 and SO2 are set to fall by 2020, the Air Quality Expert Group says.

Plant limits set

Polluting power stations have four years to meet newly agreed EU standards.

Aqeg search

Due to natural turnover, the Air Quality Expert Group is seeking five new members.

Biomass needs data

Aqeg says lack of monitoring data makes it hard to assess the impact of biomass in the UK.

Leeds hosts geofencing trials

Leeds will be the testbed for a consortium hoping to prove that geofencing can improve air quality. Geofencing involves sending signals to hybrid cars to switch off the internal combustion engines when in the most polluted streets.

Car makers offer their own scrappage bungs

Faced with Government reluctance to fund a nationwide scrappage scheme for private cars, manufacturers appear to have taken the initiative with their own scrappage schemes.

Further £11m green bus cash allocated

Local authorities and bus companies in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire will share £11m funding under the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme to help them buy 153 cleaner buses.

IEMA calls for end to EIA ‘obesity crisis’

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) is calling for the uptake of proportionate approaches to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to drive improved practice and support future decision making

LAPC refuseniks

More councils have failed to disclose LAPC results.

Permitting fees set to rise by 4.5%

Defra says it will allow local authorities to charge more for LAPC permits.

Caerphilly mulls demolition

Demolishing a row of terraced cottages in Hafod-yr-ynys in south Wales is the most cost effective option to solve problems in an AQMA

Retrofit accreditation scheme launched

With local authorities expected to deliver clean air zones in the shortest time possible based on restrictions on polluting vehicles, a retrofit accreditation scheme has been launched in a bid to ensure that conversions are actually clean.

Diesel decline not at the expense of CO2

CO2 targets can be met even if diesel share drops due to air quality restrictions, a report claims.

Heathrow U-turn

Having appeared to support the expansion of Heathrow before the recent General Election, the Labour party now appears to have changed its mind.

Planning shake up?

Experts are arguing that the planning system needs another shake up.

Aviation tax cut

Environmental groups and MPs are questioning the environmental side effects of Scotland’s desire to halve flight taxes.

Air quality positive for London

The Mayor of London is consulting on a new environment strategy. Air quality is top billing alongside other issues such as noise, green infrastructure and climate change, all combined for the first time

Highways strategy looks weak

Jack Pease struggles to review Highways England risible efforts on air quality with its laughably thin ‘strategy’ released last month

What is happening in Waverley?

Trouble is brewing in Waverley which is also accused of understating NO2 results. Just like Cheshire East, the authority has had to withdraw reports to correct them – unlike Cheshire East, there is no suggestion of deliberate manipulation.

August  2017 Headlines

£40m – now get on with it

Local authorities have been told that £40m has been immediately made available to them to get on with studies to reduce NO2 near roads.

NO2 backtrack undermines case for action

As flagged up by AQB two months ago, the business case for tackling NO2 has collapsed.

France ban

Some weeks before a similar pledge within the UK NO2 plan, France has pledged to ban sales of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
Meanwhile Volvo has said that it will cease development of new internal combustion engined cars from 2019.

Councils write to Gove

Leaders of six councils have taken the step of writing to environment secretary Michael Gove saying air quality plan proposals do not go far enough.

Clean surge

The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on British roads has reached the 100,000 milepost.
108,641 ULEVs are registered in the UK – nearly double the 2015 number.
In the first quarter of 2017, ULEV registrations were also up 17% year on year.

Short term NO2 sinks STOR

A diesel powered generating station in Bristol has been turned down due to potential breaches of one hour NO2 standards.

Cold start headache for new technology

Emission Analytics says cold starts could thwart the ability of new Euro standards to clean up emissions.

Combustion outcome

Government has released a summary of responses to a consultation on how it intends to transpose the Medium Combustion Plant Directive.

Battery van boost

The Government is consulting on allowing heavier electric vans to be driven on an ordinary drivers licence. Electric vans are heavier than their conventional counterparts.

Aviation strategy pre-consultation starts

Pressure for further aviation growth has prompted a pre-consultation on a new UK aviation strategy.

Fleming relaunch

Peter Fleming has returned to air quality as Air Quality Monitoring Consultants specialising in providing independent advice on all

Agriculture guide

Defra has produced a guide for English farmers to reduce their environmental impact, including emissions to air.

Gatwick prompts worsening

Increased air pollution appears to undermine a key argument used by Gatwick Airport in bidding to host a new runway.

AQ directive to receive fitness check

The European Commission is to carry out a ‘”fitness check” of EU air quality directives 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC which sets standards and monitoring protocols.

New remote sensing LIDAR

Enviro Technology has formed a partnership with US firm Sigma Space and has been busy trialling a new micro-pulse LIDAR (MPL).

Public health cuts

Central government cuts have forced councils to reduce planned spending on public health services by £85 million, according to new analysis by The King’s Fund.

Airport panel

Heathrow Airport has set up an “independent” air quality expert review group.
Imperial College’s Helen Apsimon will chair the group which has been set up by the airport to “provide expert perspectives to ensure a third runway is delivered without compromising the UK’s ability to comply with legal air quality requirements”.

Scottish MSP probe

Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has launched a hearing into air quality and is seeking views on....

NO2 impact outweighs PM2.5

Health impacts from traffic pollution are dominated by NO2 – not PM2.5 – claims Roy Harrison of Birmingham University.

Further all-clear for waste incinerators

The Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) has revisited research on incinerators and reaffirm they cause a small impact.

Petrol releases more carbon than diesel

A study suggests modern petrol cars emit much more particulate matter – including black carbon and primary organic aerosol – than modern diesel cars.

AQ business fund

The London Mayor has launched a new £1m air quality business fund.

Ammonia rise

The annual European Union emission inventory report 1990-2015 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) shows that ammonia emissions fell by 23% between 1990 and 2015, but increased in the EU-28 between 2014 and 2015 by 1.8%. l

Stamford Bridge

A judicial review of Hammersmith and Fulham’s planning permission allowing expansion of Chelsea Football club’s Stamford Bridge ground has been thrown out.

NICE guidelines finalised

Jack Pease remains hugely disappointed by the finalised NICE guideline on air quality. Vague. Superficial. Unhelpful. Irrelevant. Here’s what people said.

July  2017 Headlines

Wales dumps rigid LAQM

Wales has drastically culled LAQM policy guidance in favour of more general duties to improve air quality.

NICE guidance

NICE guidance on air quality was finalised as AQB went to press.

29,000: about right

The argument about the total numbers of deaths from air pollution rumbles on.

Variable charging to replace ULEZ?

Even before introduction of the London ultra low emission zone and the ‘toxic’ T-charge for older cars, the Mayor has mooted an emission-based pay-as-you-drive system which will render them obsolete.

Zero emission city?

“To help support the Mayor’s wider ambition to radically improve air quality across London and make London a zero emission city, TfL will work to make London’s entire road transport system zero emission by 2050 at the latest.

Google (air) maps

Google – with the help of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Aclima – is sharing the first results of air quality measurements from Aclima sensors mounted on Google Street View cars. Maps have been produced for Oakland, showing NOx, NO2 and black carbon.

Greenhouse gas up

Total European Union greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.5% in 2015, according to new European Environment Agency (EEA) data published today.

Diesel surcharge in Westminster

Parts of Westminster will see diesel car drivers charged 50% more for parking.

Cheaters may be caught but not fined

Authorities have pledged to restart roadside checks to ensure that truck operators do not circumvent pollution reduction devices. Cheaters will not be automatically fined!

AQ plan for Port of London Authority

The Port of London is to draw up an air quality strategy with the help of consultant Aether.
An initial document sets out the work it is doing to establish the baseline for vessel emissions on the Thames and to explore options for reducing emissions.

June heatwave

The heatwave last month led to the rare issuing of alerts by Defra – and even a press release.

Manchester says no

Incoming Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has rejected plans by Transport for Greater Manchester for congestion and emission charges.

Concerns rejected in Harrogate

A high profile battle to stop housing on air quality grounds has failed.

Diesel share falters in wake of scare stories

Public confidence in diesel appears to be taking a hammering in the wake of near-constant coverage of air pollution in the national press much of which is blamed on diesel.

Grenfell tower monitoring by Kings

During the catastrophic Grenfell tower block fire in West London, King’s College London experts worked with Public Health England to monitor the impacts.

Zone enforcement

An enforcement firm is pitching itself to councils looking at clean air zones.

Munich set to ban diesels

Environmental activist law firm Clientearth has won a court action in Munich that has prompted a pledge to ban diesel vehicles in the city.

Clientearth challenge: more details emerge

Further details have emerged on the shape of the latest challenge to Defra’s air quality plans by Clientearth.

Early results from roadside testing

Ricardo has recently entered the roadside testing arena offering services to local authorities to support clean air zone plans.

US sees diesel rise

The U.S. added more than 280,000 new “clean” diesel passenger vehicles across the country last year, according to the Diesel Technology Forum.

400 milestone

The Institute of Air Quality Management membership has reached 400 members.

Booklet update

Environmental Protection UK has re-launched its public information leaflets

Schemes ‘doomed to fail’

The increasingly influential Equa Index of real world emission performance of new cars run by Emission Analytics has been updated. More cars have been tested with some surprisingly clean and some surprisingly dirty.

Low hedges better than tall trees

The harmful impact of urban air pollution could be combated by strategically placing low hedges along roads in a built-up environment of cities instead of taller trees, Surrey University researchers say.

Bristol approach to tackle air pollution

Citizens across the Bristol region are being invited to give their views on the future of work, travel, and leisure in the city.

Tory plans dropped

Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed gamble to increase her Parliamentary majority has led to a number of changes to expected policies that affect the environment.

App for that has produced a smartphone app that provides a key to the increasing number of environmental zones in the EU.

Scathing criticism revealed on NO2

The deadline for responding to the NO2 plans consultation has passed. What have people said? Jack Pease reports. The gut reaction to the UK Government’s plans to deal with NO2 was scathing. Now the deadline for responding has passed, the more measured and detailed responses being released appear even more scathing.

June  2017 Headlines

‘Plan of plans’ released

Finally – after much drama in the High Court – the air quality NO2 plan is out. It is already being challenged by Clientearth.

U-turn on NO2 damage costs undermines need for action

This is a nitrogen dioxide plan driven only by the need to cut NO2 to avoid court action and infraction. Actions have been chosen to reduce NO2 concentrations, with those actions justified with cost benefit analysis.

News from the IAPSC conference held in Telford last month

Help! AQMA’s or zones?

Local authority frustration at lack of guidance spilled out into the open at last month’s Iapsc conference (with a tie up to the biennial AQE exhibition) held in Telford.
    Local authorities have LAQM duties that require them to assess local air quality and based on local population exposure, declare air quality management areas. But with the increasing urgency to tackle NO2 directive exceedences, Defra is telling dozens of local authorities to set up clean air zones based on modelling.

Predictions show huge optimism

Official forecasts of future pollution hugely underestimate actual concentrations, Air Quality Consultants’ analysis suggests. NO2 is underestimated by 10% – and NOX 20% – and the gap is widening.

Welsh comparison

A report compares Welsh modelled and monitored values for 2015.

Another clean year

2016 was another clean year, according to official statistics.

Traffic up

Traffic levels continue to rise. Provisional estimates show that motor vehicle traffic was at a record high in the year ending March 2017 – 1.7% higher than the previous year. and 3.2% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.

Waste fire camera

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has purchased a new thermal imaging camera to help identify fire risks at waste sites before they happen.

PHE annual air quality meeting held in Birmingham last month

NO2 death burden reduces

Paul Wilkinson dropped a bombshell at last month’s PHE annual air quality conference by suggesting that the burden of air pollution is lessened by worsening death rates.

Van emissions under scrutiny

Having been pivotal in exposing continuing emission failures of cars, real time emissions specialist Emission Analytics is turning its hand to vans.

Medics mull air quality research

This year’s annual Public Health England air quality research conference was held in Birmingham. The forum – slightly muted due to purdah rules – brings together the academic world to disseminate latest research on outdoor and indoor air quality.

Care about air quality? Who to vote for

The General Election is just days away. If you voted solely on air quality grounds, who should you vote for?

Purdah arguments

The High Court told the Government to publish the air quality plan as it considered that the daily death toll from air pollution – 64 deaths – constituted sufficiently exceptional circumstances to override purdah guidance.

Scottish LEZs

Councillors in both Edinburgh and Glasgow have suggested they are keen to adopt low emission zones.

First in Scotland for vehicle monitor scheme

The first scheme in Scotland to use NASA technology to monitor vehicle emissions has been launched.

Guidance for citizens to challenge decisions

The European Commission has adopted a guidance document on access to justice in environmental matters which clarifies how individuals and associations can challenge decisions, acts and omissions by public authorities related to EU environmental law before national courts.

Chaotic plan package

In the following pages within the proper subscription newsletter we pick out what is new in the package, what is surprising, what is annoying and what signals there are for future policy

End of the road for the PCM model?

The plan package contains few conclusions but quite a lot of detail about the much- vilified PCM model used to underpin government air quality directive compliance policy.

NO2 rush creates long term problems?

Was it just a few years ago that the air quality community was in revolt at Defra’s preferred LAQM option that would see the dismantling of local monitoring? How things change. It looks like local monitoring could see a renaissance to support planned local measures.

Exceeding councils

The Government has not said who must adopt clean air zones but it has produced a list of who exceeds and when the will comply. So you can decide where the ‘as soon as possible’ line can be drawn.

Local authorities: buck passed down

“It will be the responsibility of local authorities to develop innovative proposals for their local area that will bring pollution levels within the legal limits within the shortest time possible. “

Monitoring bonanza mooted

Comments were sought from a “high powered review group” (a bunch of random professors) regarding the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of future air quality policies.

Professors only

The review group was formed of professors rather than practitioners. Many didn’t bother to attend a meeting convened to scrutinise the policy, presumably as they probably weren’t qualified to comment and wondered why they’d been asked in the first place.

What options are proposed?

The first thing many did when the plan package was released was to see what options were being mooted. Many will be surprised to find that this was not obvious, partly as there was very little detail in the package – any of the sparse detail is buried away.

Full Monty is costed up

A fascinating part of the plan package models the ‘full Monty’ – what would happen with certain measures if funding were not an issue (as the court hinted) maximising pollutant reductions.

May  2017 Headlines

Election delays plan release

Calling of a snap election has prompted a week of high drama in the courts while the Government attempted to delay publication of the long awaited and much-hyped air quality plan.

Final plea to treat IANs with caution

The Examining Authority has completed gathering evidence for the Silvertown Crossing in East London. Air quality has dominated discussions (AQB April p6).

Super inquiry halt

The snap general election has claimed a further scalp – the ‘super inquiry’ into air quality. In an unprecedented move, four parliamentary select committees had formed a joint inquiry into air quality (AQB April p1).

£41k AQ bung

Teignbridge Council is requiring a £41,000 air quality contribution from a developer of a car showroom.

Cleanliness check

Emissions Analytics is to produce a clean vehicle checker for London and Paris.

Planning trumps permitting

An appeal decision reiterates that odour issues are a matter for the planning system and cannot just be dealt with through the permitting system.

...and again, permitting may not be enough

A 40,000 bird chicken facility has been allowed on appeal – North Warwickshire Council originally refused the facility on odour grounds.

Helpdesk changes

The Defra air quality helpdesk has announced a series of changes – local authorities now need to upload reports via a new link.

Buyers club

The West End Buyers Club, a preferred supplier scheme pioneered by New West End Company and Cross River Partnership, has launched.

Parties blame each other for diesel woes

Three long air quality debates took place in Westminster – on the plan delay (above), VW cheat devices and what a diesel scrappage scheme might look like.

Monitor site award launched

A new award has been created to highlight the importance of air quality monitoring stations by recognising those that create and maintain the best sites.

MPs on VW

MPs discussed the aftermath of the VW emissions cheating scandal. Despite promises to MPs last year that a full report would be published, MPs noted that no evidence has been produced by VW – nor payments made.

Effective block put on housing

Soon after successfully winning a high profile court case, Wealden Council has released a draft local plan which effectively blocks unmitigated new housing on air quality grounds.

Anti -cheating rules approved in Europe

Final reports (AQB March p6) on how to foil emission cheats have been agreed by the EU.

Costs probe ok

The High Court will hear a challenge against new environmental justice rules. Three NGOs, including Clientearth, lodged a challenge (AQB April p2).

Air research

Air quality is included in a pared-down list of Defra research priorities.

Traffic generated

New roads have failed to improve the environment due to generated traffic.

Green wall yields huge cuts

Ivy is being credited with cutting air pollution in London playground by a third.

Grants released for clean technology

Before the election was called, a series of grants were announced for developing clean technologies.

Dispersion modelling update from Cerc

Cerc has updated ADMS-Urban & released ADMS-Roads 4.1. New features in version 4.1 include the latest UK emissions factors from EFT 7.0.

World death toll increases

Global deaths from PM2.5 is increasing, ongoing analysis funded by the Bill Gates Foundation suggests.

Uber goes electric

App-based taxi firm Uber is planning to expand the number of fully electric vehicles available on its app in London.

Good and bad

New York researchers have studied the impact of Uber on traffic levels.

Mole dug out to push air message

Last month St Edwards Primary School, Romford was entertained by a show from Performance in Education (PIE) based around air quality and featuring Miles the Mole – the Havering borough’s new clean air champion.

Bristol death toll

Air Quality Consultants has reworked air pollution death statistics to take into account mortality risks of air pollution in Bristol.

Oxford Street

A consultation is due soon on pedestrianising Oxford Street.

US air improves

Average concentrations across the US have fallen, a new report suggests.

Truck comparisons prove surprising

Earlier this year a hybrid truck was tested and compared to conventional diesel. The results were surprising

ULEZ set to go ahead

National clean air plans may have stalled but work in London continues apace. More details emerge on planned ULEZ – but not where it’ll apply

April  2017 Headlines

Wealden habitat wins again

The saga of habitats v. houses is back in the High Court. Once again habitats won in a judgment that challenges DMRB, IANs and Highways England methodology. Natural England has been crucified.

Budget on diesel

Despite widespread pleas to increase taxation on diesel to reflect increased health impacts, the recent Budget did not change the fuel duty differential.

‘Super-inquiry’ to look at air quality

A plethora of Parliamentary reports into air quality are to be followed by a ‘superinquiry’.

Costs ruling thwarts challenge

Liverpool Green Party, with the support of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), has been prevented from mounting a judicial review against a 333-space city centre car park.

Groups mount challenge to costs rules

Three NGOs have launched legal proceedings over new costs rules that came into force this week amid claims the reforms could make it “virtually impossible” to bring a public interest case to protect the environment.

Fracking challenge

Fracking in Lancashire is back in the High Court.
Protesters have launched a judicial review to probe whether the go ahead to the two fracking site breaches NPPF and EU laws.

PRTR probe

Government is seeking views on whether the PRTR is fit for purpose.

Aecom additions

Aecom has two new recruits – Kevin Turpin and Anna Savage, who are based in its Leeds and Basingstoke respectively.

Smelly pig guide

New standards on resources and emissions will help national authorities across the EU to lower the environmental impact of around 20 000 large poultry and pig farms.

Real world Ricardo

Ricardo is launching a “real-world” vehicle emissions monitoring service.

Savaged, and a DMRB ‘direction’

The Wealden Court battle (p1 & below) is being blamed on bad advice on air quality delivered by a Natural England’s ‘protected species’ advisor.

City trees

Six ‘city trees’ are to be installed in Modena in a bid to prove the concept of ‘smart’ smart trees.

Oxford goes for ‘zero emission zone”

LEZ. ULEZ. Clean Air Zone. AQMA. Now Zero Emission Zone.

Fowler retires

Professor David Fowler CBE FRS – a world expert who led research on air pollution issues including acid rain,

NO2 damage cost lifted

Failure of Comeap to decide on a figure for health impacts of NO2 has prompted interim updates to TAG values for NO2 damage costs.

Emissions argued in Bus Bill

Tighter emission clauses were put into the Bus Bill by the Lords – but then removed by Government.

NECD projects missed deadlines

The UK is set to miss many NECD targets, a new report suggests.

MOT relaxation

The DfT is consulting on extending the three year period new cars are exempt from MOT testing to four years.

World death toll

UNICEF says satellite imagery confirms that around 2 billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution, caused by factors such as vehicle emissions, heavy use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste, exceeds minimum air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organisation.

WHO history

A potted history of the World Health Organisation’s air quality activities has been published.

Low NOx advice ignored?

Hackney Council has set up a scrutiny panel into air quality that is considering bolstering plans set out by London Mayor. Along the way the panel has heard how air quality advice is being ignored for three quarters of planning applications.

4.5% LAPC increase

It is proposed that local authorities may increase permitting charges by 4.5%. The increase follows pegging of charges since 2010.

Biomass bad

A report from the Chatham House thinktank questions the carbon benefits of burning biomass.

Silvertown air arguments rumble on

The Silvertown tunnel inquiry rumbles with air quality arguments proving highly sophisticated.

TfL sets out new monitoring and mitigation strategy

TfL has responded to widespread criticism at the inquiry by tabling a comprehensive strategy on air quality.

Government funds electric taxis

Government development funds will enable production of an electric taxi.

EU accepts emission inquiry criticisms

The VW defeat device scandal led to an EU probe into the ability of member states to police emission standards (AQB January p4). MEPs have now endorsed the inquiry report.

Brexit plea

The Mayor, in London’s official response to the government’s Brexit White Paper and triggering of Article 50 last week, is calling on the government to introduce a new Environment Act.

Public health drawn in

At last an ambitious air quality document from Defra! It champions the role of public health directors in tackling air quality. Jack Pease reviews it

March  2017 Headlines

Appeal uncontested – no expert

Harrogate Council’s inability to field an air quality expert has left it unable to defend a planning appeal.

Toxic diesel and petrol charge for London

The T-charge (toxic charge) will come into force on 23rd October, the London mayor has confirmed.

Directive infringement

The UK is a step closer to being infracted by the European Union for poor air quality.

London doubling

Analysis by Kings College London suggests London was up to twice as polluted this January compared

No to flats due to Scunthorpe PM

A block of 16 flats in Scunthorpe has been refused planning permission due to PM10 concerns.

More electric buses

Two more London bus routes will run exclusively electric buses,

All go for Heathrow

Heathrow dominated the news last month as planning gets underway.

Edinburgh flats refused due to dock PM

Edinburgh City Council has refused permission for a block of flats in Leith Docks due to particle concerns.

Clean Air Day?

Pressure group Global Action Plan is seeking a campaigner for a Clean Air Day – on the 15th June.

Fire fears

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has refused an environmental permit application for a waste storage and treatment facility in south west Wales.

Free Fleming

Peter Fleming has now left Air Monitors and is now operating as an independent consultant specialising in air quality monitoring. Although Fleming started out in sales,

Habitats policy survives test

Wealden Council’s tight planning controls on development near the nitrogen-sensitive Wealden Forest have withstood an appeal by the developer and the Government.

Ammonia up

UK ammonia emissions were up in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available.

Housing push

Denser housing on brownfield land and in city centres is a key feature of a new housing policy contained in a white paper.

Monitoring reveals commuters personal exposure

Surrey University researchers say car drivers are not unduly exposed to air pollution.

Air quality grant leaps to £3.7m

Air quality grant has been awarded – and there is even more than promised.

Doctors ramp up pressure

Doctors are ramping up pressure on the Government to bear down on diesels.

Bill sets out new plug-in demands

Government has listed what powers it intends to seek in a proposed Modern Transport Bill in a bid to enable electric vehicles (EVs).

Action please say UK cities

London and provincial cities have joined together to urge the Prime Minister to act on air quality

NECD guide

The European Environment Bureau pressure group has released an updated guide to the National Emission Ceilings Directive which was adopted in December 2016.

Spotting devices

The EU has published guidance aimed at helping member states spot defeat devices used by car manufacturers to sidestep emission regulations.

Charging approved

Huge subsidies for electric vehicle charging points in Germany have been approved. There were fears such subsidies could breach EU state aid rules.

Gas vehicles tested by DfT

DfT has attempted to allay fears that gas powered trucks only provide limited air quality benefits.

Post Brexit environment fears

This month the Government claims it will trigger Article 50 which will see us out of the EU within two years. The Lords report on implications for environmental regulation.

Heathrow planning commences

The first step for gaining planning consent for an expanded Heathrow has commenced with the launch of an aviation NPS. Jack Pease reports

Health impact analysis summarises NPS effects

A heath impact analysis has been carried out – it suggests impacts are not quite as insignificant as the main report might suggest: “It is likely that a large number of those most affected by the expansion schemes are unlikely to benefit from the opportunities provided. This issue of equity will need to be considered further in the development of mitigation for each shortlisted scheme to reduce the overall impact on health and wellbeing.”

Heathrow ‘warm up’ appeal

Heathrow? No – not the third runway. An appeal on the Cranford ‘noise’ agreement reveals air quality concerns can easily be put to one side

A glimpse at the streamlined PCM

The expansion of Heathrow Airport has opened up the previously-secret workings of the PCM model. Jack Pease tries to unpick what is tucked away in a WSP document used to support Heathrow.

February 2017 Headlines

Big project planning by Agency

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has formally become a government agency taking on more policy significance than hitherto had been expected.

Aviation NPS released

As AQB was about to the printed, the NPS on aviation was released. This pledges to re-examine air quality at Heathrow. More next month.

Westminster targets diesels in street bays

Westminster is to pioneer a surcharge for diesel cars using its on street parking bays.
It is believed to be the first to introduce the charge for public parking. Other boroughs such as Islington charge more for residents parking permits for diesel vehicles – Westminster’s charge is for casual parkers and does not apply to residents.

Housing buyback?

The latest Clean Air for Cornwall Strategy has mooted the idea of buying up houses on the A38 in Tideford to reduce excess exposure.

Sheffield limit?

There remains confusion as to whether air quality-related speed limits remain a possibility to reduce pollution on the M1 near Sheffield.

Guidance updated

IAQM/Epuk has updated its planning guidance.
Meanwhile Environmental Protection Scotland and RTPI Scotland launched a rebadged version of the IAQM/Epuk guidelines to reflect Scottish planning law.

Scottish highers

Air quality trends in Scotland show both winners and losers.

School response

The Local Government Association has defended itself from suggestions from the British Lung Foundation that councils should monitor air quality outside schools.

Wood worsens winter smog

The worst pollution episode in many years stretched from south east England to Wales and Northern Ireland. Wood smoke has been blamed for worsening the January smog which led to the highest PM2.5 in London since April 2011.

HS2 mitigation set out for Lords

A report has set out how HS2 will mitigate air quality issues.

Nudge unit uncovers apathy

The former government ‘nudge unit’ has studied ‘soft’ transport measures and found some are ineffective. Changing perceptions may not be good value for money.

TSI DustTrak monitors gain Mcerts approval

Ashtead Technology has announced that the TSI Environmental DustTrak Aerosol Monitors have achieved Mcerts approval.

Driverless benefit

A government review suggests driverless vehicles could reduce emissions as they will travel more smoothly – but the predicted increase in mobility may swamp any emission benefits.

Ricardo reappointed

Ricardo Energy & Environment (formerly AEA) has been reappointed by Defra to run the UK’s National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) on behalf of Defra.

Black carbon success

Black carbon continues to decrease across the UK, reports suggest.

Schools to get air audits

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is funding air quality audits for 50 schools.

Low emission neighbourhoods named...

Six schemes across nine London boroughs will share £2.5m to create low emission neighbourhoods.

...and cleaner air boroughs named

The GLA has released a list of ‘cleaner air boroughs’

10 new london low emission bus zones

An expansion of low emission bus zones will see 12 zones in London seeing a concentration of clean buses.

Heathrow challenge fails

The challenge by local councils against the go ahead for a third runway at Heathrow has failed.

Congestion charge needs a rethink?

The London Assembly transport committee has suggested road pricing should replace the congestion charge.

Further reaction emerges to NICE guidelines

The Institute of Air Quality Management has released its views on recent NICE guidance put out for consultation (AQB January p7).

Construction update

The Institute of Air Quality Management is to review its guidance on air quality monitoring near demolition and construction sites.

Must monitor

Clientearth is in the Belgian High Court arguing that the regional government must reinstate monitoring equipment that has been removed from high pollution areas.

Good transport practice

A review of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund looks at good practice in areas such as buses, cycling and walking.

Diesel success

Emission Analytics has updated its Equa new vehicle emission index and noted that both small and large engines are now getting considerably closer to their claimed emission performance.

California success

A 667-page report confirms that the previously adopted package of GHG standards, technology-forcing zero-emission vehicle standards, and the most health-protective PM standards in the world are working.

US fines

VW has pleaded guilty to charges relating to defeat devices. Following EPA action, has agreed to pay $4.3bn in penalties.

Paris Crit’Air sticker solution

Paris has recently been hit by high pollution events – until now it has used odd/even number plate bans to limit vehicle number but these have not been well enforced.

Agencies get tough on dirty burners

Natural Resources Wales has refused to grant a permit to the Cwmfelinfach incinerator near Caerphilly despite it having gained planning permission.

Another non-burner

A waste incinerator has been refused permission by the Environment Agency.
Work has already started on the burner at Kelvedon, Essex, but the 35m high stack was considered too low.

Clientearth bags £100k from City of London

Environmental lawyer Clientearth has been awarded a grant of £100,000 by The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, to expand its work improving London’s air quality.

Silvertown crossing tests IANs?

A new potential flashpoint for air quality is the proposed new river crossing in east London. Jack Pease reports

Wales ponders new AQ duties

Welsh Assembly members probe how air quality fits into new joined up thinking that imposes a duty for wider consideration of air quality.

New action plan for Croydon

Croydon appears to be sticking its neck out by proposing exciting actions – including banning bonfires

January 2017 Headlines

Coffey disappoints MPs

MPs on the Commons environment select committee have once again called in witnesses as part of their new inquiry into air quality. They were left ‘disappointed’.

Minister goes over the head of the Mayor

Ministers appeal to councils direct to give them some policies to report to make up a plan

5 days for breach

On the fifth day of 2017, London bust European Directive guidelines for hourly NO2. Kings College London’s new data visualisation tool makes the check very easy – and the allowable 18 exceedences was reached at 9pm on January 5th at the Brixton Road


Cheshire West and Chester has declared an AQMA due to excess SO2 from the Stanlow refinery.

ADAS absorbed

Environmental consultant ADAS went into admini-stration – and was promptly bought for £10m by RSK.

On-street charging

On street charging guidance has been produced by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

Iapsc conference held in birmingham last month

Zones will not solve the problem

Clean air zones were explored at the recent IAPSC conference held in Birmingham.

EIA shake up begins

Consultation has started on how to implement new environmental impact assessment rules.

Removal ad removed

A firm advertising removal of diesel filters has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority.

LEZ fraud

A coach operator has been banned from running coaches for falsifying documentation in a bid to escape the London low emission charge.

Health cuts

The Royal Society of Public Health has expressed disappointment at another round of public health funding cuts.
 monitoring news from the AAMG RSC conference last month

Cambridge compares sensors

Cheap sensor readings have been compared to ADMS modelling and reference monitor measurements in Cambridge.

Ammonia understated

David Fowler of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology told the conference of the contribution of agricultural emissions to air pollution.

Nanoparticle tedium

Nanoparticles are present in the air but monitoring them can be ‘tedious’ says Stephan Lambert

Antwerp blitzed with ‘curious nose’ probes

Over 2,000 diffusion tubes have been scattered across central Antwerp as part of a huge

Aether win

A consortium including Aether has been appointed to oversee a programme of work reviewing EU member states’ air pollutant emissions inventories under the National Emissions Ceilings Directive.

Tree effect

The London Sustainability Exchange held a seminar before Christmas looking at the impact of trees on air quality.

Legal action follows VW failure

The European Commission is taking legal action against seven EU countries including the UK for failing to respond to emissions cheating by top car firms including VW.

Commission inquiry

The European Commission has issued draft findings following its inquiry into its handling of the VW emission fraud.

Doctor no

Doctors, health professionals and medical students launched the Doctors Against Diesel campaign by holding up giant numbers which read ‘9,400’, representing the number of early deaths in London each year due to toxic air pollution.

Villain is diesel

A new IPPR report supported by Greenpeace shows that diesel vehicles are responsible for nearly 40% of all NO2 emissions in London and need to be phased out in order to ensure air pollution is brought down.

UK inaction criticised

MPs have criticised the transport secretary on failures to properly deal with the VW emissions scandal.

Pollutant trends

The official emission trends for 2015 has been published.
Once again it reveals that emissions of SO2, NmVOCs and particles are down – but ammonia rises slightly.

NECD agreed

The European Parliament and the Council have signed into law the new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive and it is now law.

Petrol particulates

European pressure group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the agreement European Council’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) to introduce new real world emissions tests to measure particles from new petrol engines.

MPs in wider debate at ministerial response

A wider Parliamentary debate followed the Westminster environment committee hearing on air quality (see above). Committee members commented that they were “unconvinced by the evidence that there is enough urgency in the Government’s policy”.

New Environment Act needed post-Brexit

MPs are warning the Government that environmental protections must not be weakened during the process of leaving the EU or afterwards.

London air quality spending to double

Transport for London’s new business plan sees funding for air quality doubling, claims the Mayor.

OBE for Pyle

Professor John Adrian Pyle of Cambridge University has received an OBE for services to atmospheric chemistry and environmental science.

Epuk responds to zones plans

Environmental Protection UK has tabled its concerns on plans for clean air zones.

2016 another clean year

AQB’s rough and ready ‘yardstick’ suggests 2016 was another clean year.

Using unratified data gleaned from the Government’s archive we use a crude but consistent algorithm to plot air quality and compare it to official indicators that only come out in late Spring.

Glasgow landmarks highlight air pollution

Innovative teams from across Scotland pitched their ideas to tackle air pollution at a series of events delivered by YoungScot, Glasgow City of Science and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) before Christmas.

Biomass bad

Wind and solar power are likely to be less expensive than burning trees in order to replace coal in the UK.
A new study says: “The science already shows that burning biomass on a mass scale for electricity is extremely harmful to the environment. The emissions risks associated with biomass are simply too big to be ignored.

PhD slots

Three PhD studentships are on offer within the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, starting in 2017. One PhD studentship will be based at the Environmental Research Group (King’s College London) while the other two 3,5 year PhD studentships co-funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Imperial College will be based in the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU).

Midlands clean up

West Midlands authorities have released a proposed low emissions vehicle strategy.

Monitors move

Air Monitors has moved to new larger, more modern facilities, still in Tewkesbury.
MD Jim Mills says the new facility is 60% larger to cope with an expanded service department and other new staff following success with its high end Fidas monitor and low cost AQMesh sensor system.

NICE focuses on air quality

Air quality is under scrutiny from an unusual direction – health professionals through the influential National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Heathrow PM episode

While planes are not suppose to emit particulate – independent air quality monitoring expert Geoff Broughton noted a recent PM10 (80µg/m3) & PM2.5 (71µg/m3) episode centred on Heathrow (pictured) on the 31st October.

Leicester spin off views the earth

Earthsense Systems, a new joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester, is set to spearhead innovations in air quality monitoring.

December 2016 Headlines

NO2 plan drafts by April

Following Clientearth’s High Court win over the Government on inadequate NO2 plans to meet the EU objectives, judges have gone further and given Defra less than eight months to prepare new plans.

NICE on air

Just as AQB went to press, long awaited NICE draft guidelines have been released.

Traffic up

Van traffic continued to shoot up in the first three quarters of 2016, new figures reveal. Overall traffic volumes were at a record high.

NECD agreed

Members of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg have finally approved new E

Derby demands assurances before action

Derby – one of the five cities outside London expected to introduce a clean air zone – has gone public with disapproval at being mandated to act on air quality which it says is not a local issue.

‘Golden thread’ mantra at risk?

The High Court has challenged the assumed presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Alarm at Brexit repeal bill implications

Air quality experts gathered last month for Epuk’s annual conference in Birmingham.

Wealth and health link

Public Health Wales’ environmental public health team has published its fourth annual review. Air quality will be one of three priorities for 2016/17.

VW US pullout

VW is to cease selling diesel cars in the US. It is a year since the firm was caught cheating with defeat devices in the US leading to large fines.

IAQM mulls zones and action

The Institute of Air Quality Management met last month to discuss a new study showing the effectiveness of existing measures in London, the draft CAZ Framework and the Mayor of London’s ULEZ proposals.

European air pollution remains poor

The annual report on European air quality shows continued poor air quality – with the UK reporting the second highest number of NO2 -related deaths in Europe.

Nickel exceedence

Only nickel failed to meet EU limit values in 2015 – and that was at Portardawe in Wales, reveals a heavy metal network summary report.

Barrier rejected

Highways England appears to have rejected a call to use roadside barriers to reduce air pollution near the M1 in Sheffield.

NI high

Two monitoring sites in Northern Ireland close to busy roads in urban areas did not meet the limit values and objectives for nitrogen dioxide in 2015.

BaP: no change

The number of BaP exceedences across the network remain roughly the same in 2015 as 2014, monitoring reveals. 10 stations in the UK exceed the 0.25ng/m3 objective.

Scrubber saves basement hotel

Camden Council has refused permission for a basement hotel in Bloomsbury on air quality grounds – but the decision has been overturned on appeal.

Scotland 2018 LEZ pledge draws near

The Scottish Transport Emissions Partnership (STEP) has held its annual conference in Edinburgh.

Hope for diesels, says Emission Analytics

Emission Analytics – the firm that has broken many stories about the poor real world performance of diesels – says it would be a mistake to assume diesels are dead.

Iapsc/Mcerts tie-up

Seminar organisation Iapsc and the AQE (formerly Mcerts) exhibition are to combine next year.

Sepa compliance

Scottish environmental licence holders have been assessed under the 2015 Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS).

4-yr odour win?

Wychavon District Council has won the latest round in a near-five year battle with an unauthorised farm development that was causing excess odour. Unconsented lagoons were responsible for the smells.

Generators in the spotlight

Emergency short term generators (STORs) are causing headaches as they may only be used for a few hours a year, but are often located in urban areas. A consultation is out.

Environment post-Brexit discussed

OMG not more on Brexit? Yes indeed – the huge vacuum delivered by the out vote in Summer leaves the environment in a limbo. The House of Lords does its best to try and see into the future.

Planning law unpicked

How will Brexit affect planning? Lawyers outline how a future outside Europe may look

Clientearth judgment: full analysis

The Clientearth victory last month against the Government explains why Defra has been so weak in recent years – and how it justified its thinking. Jack Pease reviews the judgment.

November 2016 Headlines

Ashamed. Holgate.

Stephen Holgate – former head of Comeap – says he is ashamed that he didn’t do more while heading up the government advisory panel.

Heathrow it is. Let battle commence

The Government has decided that long awaited airport expansion will take the form of a third runway at Heathrow – with air quality at the heart of the inevitable legal and political backlash.

50,000. Official

At conferences up and down the country, there remains some confusion on what ‘the number’ is for number of deaths caused by air pollution.

Air quality grant becomes £3m

Air quality grant has risen to £3m – and is now administered by the joint DfT/Defra air quality unit.

News from the IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference in Bristol

Manchester ‘surprised’ to miss zone status

Manchester’s Jon Lamonte told last month’s IAQM Routes to Clean Air conference he was ‘quite surprised” not to have been chosen as a clean air zone.

Bulk data starts to show up where model may be wrong

Sam Chapman of Sheffield’s The Floow explained how he was combining telematics data with ‘big data’ on traffic to better characterise emissions. Already the system has found quick wins to cut pollution.

Managing York and Bradford

Liz Bates – now managing air quality in both York and Bradford – told the Bristol audience how hard it was for authorities with air quality problems that have not been chosen to be clean air zones.

Marsh award

Daniel Marsh, a member of the environmental research group at King’s College London, was recently awarded the Ian McCrae award for ‘outstanding work in air quality’ at the Institute of Air Quality Management’s annual routes to clean air conference in Bristol.

Dutch discuss factor fuss

Factors were much discussed in Bristol.

Coal call

Improving environmental performance at European coal power stations could save 20,000 lives every year. By setting and enforcing pollution limits in line with the best industry-recognised, tried-and-tested techniques, the annual number of premature deaths caused by burning coal could be reduced from 22,900 to 2,600 deaths.

Breathelife launched

World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition have launched a new global campaign to protect health and the climate.

Clientearth awaits court ruling

Clientearth has presented its case against the Government in its two day hearing at the High Court.

London ‘T-charge’ due next year, tightened ULEZ to follow

London is forging ahead with plans to bring forward tighter emission standards. While campaigners argue whether Defra’s NO2 plan for five cities is enough, London has extracted itself from all of that fuss by already proposing policies far above the minimum.

Wellbeing applies to air

The Wellbeing Act could prove a useful legal weapon to make sure air quality is given more priority in Wales

Wales worsening?

The latest Welsh annual report for 2015 suggests PM2.5 exposure is worsening slightly.

LAPC fees consult

Local authority concerns that they are not recouping permitting fees have prompted a consultation on fee rates for local authority pollution control (LAPC).

£35m clean cash

£35m is being made available for ultra low emission cars and scooters.

Bus Bill

A Bus Services Bill draft guidance and policy statement includes advice on how authorities can drive up emission standards and improve air quality.

Pollution no bar to Heathrow

A reworking of modelling for Heathrow Airport suggests that expansion will not jeopardise limits. But only just, finds Jack Pease.

Clean Air Zones set out

Year’s after being first promised, finally Defra consults on a framework for low emission zones. Jack Pease skims through the voluminous policy detail

Euro evaluation

Seven European labs came together in a joint monitoring intercomparison exercise.

2014 UK episode worsens health

Public Health England researchers have analysed the impact of two pollution spikes during March and April 2014. Researchers logged GP and casualty visits, health helpline and 999 calls.

October 2016 Headlines

Medics mull asthma incidence

“Asthma is in search of a cause and just about everyone wants there to be a link between asthma incidence and air pollution,” said Ross Anderson of St George’s London.

15,000 Londoners back clean up plans

A public consultation on tougher air quality policies has been overwhelmingly endorsed by Londoners.

Wales ambition

Wales is consulting on a new air quality strategy – which uniquely for the UK will be joined up with noise.

September ozone

Ozone peaked on the 13th September – at 34 deg C the UK’s hottest September day since 1911. The previous hottest days of this year had been 24th August and 19th July when moderate ozone was also recorded.

2014 episode: 600 extra deaths

Researchers have counted up the impact of the 2014 pollution episode – 600 deaths were brought forward and 1,500 emergency hospitalisations were prompted due to excess PM2.5.

Newcastle Staffs odour fears fail at appeal

Warnings that residents could suffer from odour have been overturned at appeal.

Health a material consideration?

Health should be material planning consideration, say MPs on the Commons Health Committee. Its report on public health changes post-2013 recommended more focus on planning and health.

Emissions summary

A summary report has been released revealing highlights of emission trends up to 2014.

Emissions in detail

As well as the summary report (above), the full inventory for England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland has been released.

World strategy

An air quality strategy embracing international energy generators is key to reducing air pollution health effects.

No improvement, says Chatterton

UWE’s Tim Chatterton also popped up at a widely reported Royal Geographical Society conference. “Two decades of air quality management has done little to improve matters.”

AQC in London

Air Quality Consultants Ltd has opened a new central London office near Paddington.

UK loses Aberthaw ruling

Europe says that the UK was wrong to allow Aberthaw Power Station pollute above limits.

£24m for freight

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles has launched a £24m funding competition to enable industry-led research trials and development of innovative vehicles or on-vehicle technology. The competition’s aim is to trial or develop low emission vehicles in the freight, logistics, utilities and emergency industries.

Diesel Bill

Another attempt has been made to introduce a Private Parliamentary Bill on diesel.

Electric buses

Two new all-electric bus routes for central London have been announced.

MPs seek post-Brexit safeguards

MPs on The Environmental Audit Committee have been quizzing ministers on environmental safeguards following possible departure from the EU.

Clientearth v Brussels

Environmental law group Clientearth is to challenge Brussels – the city – on its failure to tackle air pollution. It is working with local pressure groups to force the Belgian government to do more on the capital’s air quality.

Air Force marshalls

A team of ‘Air Force’ Marshals have been tackling idling in Westminster.

Yalpag formed

The Yorkshire and Humberside Pollution Advisory Council (YAHPAC) has been relaunched as the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Pollution Advisory Group (YALPAG).

Cycleway cuts pollution

Camden is consulting on permanently widening a cycleway in Torrington Place. A trial has shown dramatic concentration reductions.

Human health cost of VW fraud

Economists have calculated the human health costs of the VW emissions scandal.

City airport contains monitoring requirement

The go ahead for expansion at London City Airport contained detailed monitoring requirements.

Clean ship discount for London docks

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is set to introduce a discount on port charges for vessels with lower emissions that meet an Environmental Shipping Index (ESI) score of 30, or above.

Agricultural bio-aerosol models compared

ADMS and Aermod have been compared in a bid to improve modelling of bioaerosols from sources such as chicken sheds.

World deaths

Air pollution deaths cost the global economy about US$225 billion in lost labour income in 2013, a new World Bank study has found.

Surrey bung

Surrey University has been granted £500,000 as part of the iSCAPE project, which aims to develop next-generation environmental living labs in cities across Europe.

Defra ducks criticism from MPs

Government appears to take nothing on board from a critical report by MPs on UK air quality policy. Jack Pease reports.

Significance questioned for M4

Inevitably the M4 widening project has got the go ahead despite air quality concerns. But significance guidance has been questioned, finds Jack Pease

Wales displays air ambition

Wales has been quiet of late in terms of air quality - but it has released an air quality strategy that on the face of it suggests it has high ambitions

September  2016 headlines

Emission factors still ‘wrong’?

A new set of emission factors have been released – in some cases they increase errors that have plagued past forecasts.

Cruise port OK

A legal challenge to a proposed Greenwich cruise terminal has failed.

Indicators axed

Sustainable Development Indicators are to be abolished.

London turns the corner as emissions fall

London air quality is improving once again, Kings College researchers believe.

Putney pioneers bus zone

Putney High Street in south west London will be the first of a series of low emission bus zones with Brixton to follow.

Public alerts to be displayed on bus stops

Air quality alerts will be included in bus arrival information at London bus stops, tube stations and roads.

South London councils logistics tie-up

Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Wandsworth councils have formed a low emissions logistics partnership to reduce delivery pollution.

Ayan appointed

Following the appointment of operations director Phil Battye, DustScan Ltd has just appointed Ayan Chakravarty (formerly of Mott MacDonald) as principal air quality consultant.

Factor update

Defra has released a number of updates to its LAQM tools:

Deputy Mayor

Shirley Rodrigues has become deputy London mayor for the environment.

Heatwave triggered

Temperatures in the east and south east of England were sufficient to trigger a level 3 heatwave alert on the 24th August.

Defeat the devices

The ICCT has proposed amendments to proposed European vehicle testing rules to make it harder for firms to cheat on emissions.

Delay to Scotland LEZs?

Scottish opposition MPs say that Scotland’s timetable for ambitious plans for low emission zones is slipping.

Traffic booms outside London

UK traffic levels are booming, official statistics reveal.

Eyecatching pollution campaign launched

Young people have launched an eyecatching air quality campaign. The group includes photographers who have creating stylish air quality protests from around the capital.

All clear for 250m composting cordon

A large study of England suggests that composting is safe.

Thurrock biomass

A large wood fired biomass plant in Essex has been given the go ahead at appeal.

Cambridge points

Cambridge won funding for a Feasibility Study but not won funding to support rapid electric vehicle charge points and subsidise purchasing low emission taxis (AQB July p3).

TAG update

TAG environmental impact workbooks on air quality, noise and greenhouse gases have been updated.

Northampton plans

Northampton Borough Council is consulting on an air quality action plan and special planning guidance on air quality.

Storrington bows out of LEZ plan

An unusual low emission zone in the Sussex village of Storrington is not to be.

HS2 drags feet on real time monitoring

Camden Council is concerned that HS2 is not carrying out real time monitoring.

Sepa sets out ‘21st century’ vision

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published its new strategy for regulation.

Harley-Davidson defeat devices

Harley-Davidson has been ordered to stop sales of illegal defeat devices in the US.

Truck fines

The European Commission has fined truckmakers for operating a cartel which fixed prices and emission improvements.

EU goes low

Europe has set out its low carbon plans.

Court case lumbers on

Clientearth continues to progress its High Court case against the UK Government to be heard in October. It has submitted its response to the Government’s legal defence.

Tories join call for low emission framework

A Conservative political grouping has demanded that all English cities should have the power to introduce LEZs.

Smart sensors handed out to map pollution

Drayson Technologies is launching a new campaign that aims to map pollution levels across London. ‘

Smart trees can mop up pollution?

Paris is trialling smart trees to mop up air pollution with claims of incredible air pollution clean up properties.

Performance drops

Data capture of the UK monitoring network dropped in the most recent quarter.

NO2 Mcerts

Enviro Technology has announced that its T500 NO2 analyser has achieved Mcerts certification. The T500U CAPS (Cavity Attenuated Phase Shift) direct reading analyser is claimed to offer “true” NO2 measurements across the ranges 0-5ppb to 1 ppm.

Electric surge

In the April-June period of this year, 38.0% more electric cars were registered compared to the same timeframe in 2015, Plug-in registrations totalled 19,252 for the year-to-date, 4,640 units ahead of the same period last year.

Internet interest

UK internet searches relating to air pollution have increased up to 750% in the last ten years according to Nissan (maker of the LEAF).

Fracking has respiratory effect

Fracking causes respiratory symptoms for locals, Pennsylvania researchers suggest.

US advice for schools

Earlier this year US Environmental Protection Agency offered advice for reducing pollution exposure in schools. What advice did it have on mechanical ventilation?

Website review

Air quality has never been higher in the news – but funding continues to drop. Websites have unsurprisingly continued to suffer, we find in our annual review

August 2016 Headlines

Odour sinks nappy recycling plant

A proposed nappy recycling works in west London has been turned down due to odour fears.

Broad support for London Mayor’s T-charge proposals

The GLA Environment Committee has formally responded to the Mayor’s consultation on tougher air quality policies in London – including a ‘T-charge’ (toxic) charge.

Bristol diesel STOR delayed

A decision on a huge short term energy generating plant in Bristol has been deferred due to air quality concerns.

13 areas share £30m for clean buses

13 areas will share £30m of clean bus funding.

Yet another Parliamentary drubbing for VW

MPs on the Transport Select Committee have issued a third report on the VW scandal.

Leadsom in

Former Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has become Environment Secretary in the new Government.

Summer pollution

The day or two of hot weather prompted smog warnings – even one from Defra.

McCrae award

Entries are sought for the 2016 IAQM Ian McCrae award to recognise significant contribution to the air quality management community and, in particular, the work of practitioners.

Sensors for schools and cyclists

In what is claimed to be a first, school teachers and pupils are to carry small air pollution sensors to yield real-time personal exposure and join a school into the ‘internet of things’.

Defra thinkpiece looks at future monitoring

A report completed last year but just released compares new technologies for monitoring.

Inventory emissions drop

The latest update to the UK emissions inventory sees a switch from old style TRL-generated road traffic emission factors to COPERT 4v11.

Background update

Background maps of concentrations for 2013 have been released.

Lords discuss Brexit impact

The Lords EU Energy and Environment committee has discussed the impact of a Brexit on environmental regulation.

£60m fund helps AQ

English Councils are being asked to bid for £60m of sustainability funds.

Air award

The Energy Saving Trust is currently taking applications for its Energy Saving Trust Fleet Hero Award which has a special air quality category.

Monitoring award

Bureau Veritas – in its role as central management and co-ordinator of the UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network – on behalf of Defra, has purchased a number of BAM1020 PM analysers from Enviro Technology for both PM10 & PM2.5 to replace existing Teom analysers on the AURN “under the ET trade-in offer, providing good value for money”.

Potash mine OK

A potash mine in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park has been approved by ministers.

Reset button for clean air act?

Celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Clean Air Act have been accompanied by calls for a new act to reflect new challenges for the 21st century.

EU goes low

Europe has set out its low carbon plans.

Heathrow challenge

hree councils have warned that if Heathrow gets the go ahead, it will challenge the decision.

Ammonia up

A report has notes that ammonia emissions rose in Europe in 2014.

Dirty diesel: solved by taxation?

A report considers how tax could be used to discourage use of dirty diesel. It proposes a “showroom” tax based on NOX damage – and a “circulation” tax – fuel duty differentials – to discourage use of diesel and incentivise other fuels. Money raised could be used to fund air quality improvement measures.

All happening in London

London is the place to be for air quality action. The new Mayor is planning restrictions on dirty vehicles and encouragement for clean measures, finds Jack Pease

City diesel ban

The City of London Corporation has banned the purchase of diesel vehicles for its business in a drive to reduce public exposure to air pollution.

Action across London

All talk is of the T-charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone – but bubbling away all of this is the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund. How is it doing?

July 2016 Headlines

‘T-charge’ targets London cars

London mayor Sadiq Khan says older cars will pay a £10 surcharge to drive into central London as early as next year.

Clean Air Act needed

On the 60th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act, lawyer Clientearth has urged a new act to take its place to deal with modern pollution.

Schools highlighted in softening up exercise

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has released “new” figures showing 443 primary schools exceed “legal” air pollution limits. 86 secondary schools are also above limits.

NECD agreed in diluted form

A classic European compromise has seen the National Emissions Ceilings Directive agreed but in watered down form.

NECD exceedences

Ten countries exceed their NECD emission limits – the UK is not one of them.

Fuller to Aqeg

King’s College London’s Gary Fuller has joined the Air Quality Expert Group which advises Government on air quality policy matters.

CHP consult

Government is consulting on combined heat and power strategies. A ‘heat networks’ fund of £320m is intended to boost take-up for centralised heating systems in urban areas.

Planning guidance

Just over a year has passed since the introduction of EPUK and IAQM’s guidance on Land use planning & development control: Planning for air quality (AQB May 2016 p6).

Paris ban

Pre-1997 cars will be banned from Paris this month in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Bus Bill still without emissions clause

An attempt has been made to insert an emissions clause into the Bus Bill currently working its way through Parliament.

VW fines fund US action plans

Diesel defeat devices fitted by VW will cost the firm nearly $15bn in consumer compensation and environmental payments. The firm is not expected to face similar costs in Europe beyond fixing customers’ cars, many suspect it will only be treated as a consumer issue and not a public health issue over here.

Cambridge consults on taxi cleanup

Cambridge City Council is to consult taxi drivers on how the use of low emission vehicles by the taxi trade could be encouraged.

Dirty Thirty

Transport & Environment (T&E) has released a list of 30 “dirty” cars with “suspicious emissions behaviour”.

Warnings inadequate

Londoners have not been sufficiently warned of pollution events, figures released by the incoming London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggest.

News from the Kings ERG conference held last month

2015. How was it for you?

Kings College London’s Tim Baker reviewed air pollution over the past year – by and large steady falls have resumed.

Sensor fears

York University’s Pete Edwards cautioned against too much reliance on new sensors. Cheap and cheerful sensors are being pushed to replace more expensive reference equipment with the hope that large numbers of cheap sensors could provide more information than small numbers of expensive sensors.

Seaton sceptical on NO2 ...

Anthony Seaton – former chairman of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution – has repeated his assertion that NO2 is not responsible for heart deaths.

...while Holgate bigs it up

By contrast another Comeap ex-chairman Stephen Holgate was strident that more should be done – and fast.

Which measures work?

London’s large monitoring network allows detailed analysis of why some monitored locations are getting worse and others are getting better.

Welsh discuss air quality: plan soon

Welsh Assembly members have discussed air quality in a long debate. Many point out that some roads have air quality almost as bad as London’s Marylebone Road

The next VW?

Vehicle NOx emissions from cars may be higher when the ambient temperature is lower, Emissions Analytics claims.

Batumi pledge

Ministers and high-level representatives from 28 countries and organisations participating in the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia, have committed to accelerate action to combat air pollution over the next five years.

NPL NO award

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has been appointed the Central Calibration Laboratory for nitrogen monoxide by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), as part of a programme to better understand changes to the Earth’s atmosphere and their impact on human health and the environment.

Barbecue plea

Save Highbury Fields campaign group is lobbying to reinstate a ban on barbecues.

A14 approval

Widening of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon trunk road is to go ahead.

News from last months’s Iapsc meeting held in London

Marner warns on CHP impacts

“Even small CHP plants and emergency generators can have significant impacts” Air Quality Consultants’ Ben Marner told last month’s IAPSC conference. Such impacts are despite the plant being below screening thresholds.

Defra to create ‘a great place for living’

Despite widespread scepticism that Defra is doing enough about air pollution, Defra’s Rebecca Dangerfield titled her Iapsc talk ‘Creating a great place for living: clean air”.

Bristol fears being left behind

Bristol’s Ben Robinson explained how the city had embraced electric vehicles. “Historically we have focused on congestion but for cities and towns, air quality has become a priority.

London funds

GLA continues to fund air quality projects as part of its Mayors Air Quality Fund system. Even before the change of the London Mayor, the Capital had in place a more ambitious local authority air quality system than elsewhere in England along with funding.

NO2 dilution

The US EPA has proposed to reverse plans to monitor for the pollutant near roadways of cities between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people

Heathrow delay

A decision on where a new runway will be built near London has been delayed.

Business plan

Businesses in the West End of London are cooperating to improve air quality with a novel air quality action plan.

Brighton success

Air quality in some of Brighton & Hove’s most polluted locations is improving, according to new council figures.

Global deaths set out

A report looks forward at the cost of failing to tackle air pollution across the world.

Sheffield plants ‘air quality garden’

Sheffield is home to what is billed as the “UK’s first air quality garden”, containing plant species that are sensitive to ozone pollution.

Money missing from Clean Air Zones?

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has warned that the government must ‘come clean’ over the funding of clean air zones.

Equality: AQ hits the poor

A suppressed report spells out how the poor are disproportionately affected by air pollution in London

Unep demands more

Two new UNEP reports on air quality show more can be done to tackle air pollution

Brexit: air quality takes a hit?

The UK has voted to leave Europe and we find ourselves in limbo. How might this affect air quality, asks Jack Pease

Pollution as cigarette equivalents

Dutch researchers have expressed the health impact of air pollution exposure in terms of passive smoking.

June 2016 Headlines

Roads cut pollution says PCM

The PCM model that forms the backbone for UK air quality policy suggests roads will reduce pollution in London.

Defra flounders at Westminster conference

A conference convened to discuss air quality left Defra struggling to argue its case last month

School pollution

A “secret” report has been released by the incoming London mayor Sadiq Khan that shows how pollution affects schoolchildren and the poor.

Fracking ahead

North Yorkshire County Council has given the go ahead for fracking test well in Kirby Misperton.

Ammonia up

Ammonia emissions in 2014 – the latest year for which data is available – have risen.

AirQ+ tool

WHO/Europe has released AirQ+, updated software to quantify the health impacts of air pollution in a given population.

Incoming mayor pledges action

Incoming London Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised to step up plans to improve London air quality.

Diesel plea in Westminster motion

MP Geraint Davies has introduced a Parliamentary Early Day Motion on air quality.

Bus Bill

The Queen’s Speech signalled the Government’s intention to introduce a Bus Bill.

York taxi standards

York now has an emission based (as opposed to age based) taxi licensing policy.

Gas distraction

Pressure group T&E have countered claims that gas is a suitable fuel to reduce air pollution.

More defeat devices found

More defeat devices have been found in cars – albeit many appear to be perfectly legal.

WHO figures name and shame towns

A number of UK towns and cities have been flagged up by the World Health Organisation as having poor air quality.

UNECE finds improvement in world pollution

Air quality has improved significantly in North America and Europe over the past three decades. UNECE says this is due to the UNECE Air Convention and EU air pollution policies.

Conditions clampdown

The Queen’s Speech contained a proposal for yet another bill on planning.

£2m for fuel cells

A £2m grant for public and private sector fleets will fund up to 75% off the cost of zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles.

Heathrow ups its offer on air quality

Heathrow Airport has promised to be more ambitious on air quality in a bid to see off objections to a third runway at the airport.

NO2 plan actions compared

A rapid thinkpiece on what to do about air quality to meet limit values has been published.

Gamers shape AQ policy

The University of the West of England is part of a £5.2m EU project to harness the power of gamers to shape air quality policy.

Undermining rules

Environmental campaign groups have written to environment secretary Liz Truss accusing her government of lobbying to weaken proposed air pollution limits.

Chelmsford Airtext

Chelmsford has joined Cerc’s Airtext air quality forecasting service.

Joining up

Defra has passed responsibility for managing air quality monitoring contracts to the Environment Agency.

Ozone alert

Very warm days, with hours of unbroken sunshine, saw moderate levels of ozone recorded at urban and rural locations across London and Sussex from Thursday 5th May to Monday 9th May, the first widespread incident of 2016. Sites in Essex, Berkshire and Hampshire also recorded moderate levels of ozone.

Numbers say that cars must be targeted

The table below is extracted from the report used to develop clean air zones – and suggests the big wins (the large negative numbers show reductions in NOx) come from tackling cars.

Dealing with dust

Lack of official guidance has prompted the IAQM to develop guidance on mineral dust. Jack Pease attended the launch.

Wider impacts costed (again)

Defra has released a one-year old report outlining how wider impacts of air quality improvements can be monetised. Jack Pease wonders what is the point?

May 2016 Headlines

Diesels exceed but don’t cheat

Tests rushed in following the VW emissions scandal suggest illegal software is not being used by other manufacturers.

UK leads the world?

While experts, MPs and campaigners have been highlighting problems with diesel cars for over a decade, Government was keen to suggest it was leading the world on the matter

MPs demand urgent action on air (again)

MPs have once again demanded further action air quality.

Guidance finalised

Defra’s LAQM guidance has been finalised with few changes from drafts released at Christmas (AQB January p8). Scotland has also finalised its guidance which is increasingly divergent from England as it now includes PM2.5 in regulations.

Approval given

Environmental law firm Clientearth has been granted permission to take the UK government back to court to Judicially Review its plans to reduce NO2 (AQB April p1).

TNO results show emission gap

Dutch research organisation TNO has released test results from Euro 5 and 6 diesel cars showing excess real life NOX emissions.

Include cars

Clean air zones should include cars, truck firms argue.

Off road vote

The EU Environment Committee has approved plans to update EU type approval rules and emission limits for internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM).

Enderby challenge

Campaigners have won High Court permission to mount a Judicial Review of plans to build a cruise ship terminal at Enderby Wharf in Greenwich.

Independent emissions index

Independent emissions consultant Emissions Analytics is forging ahead with its own index of real world emissions. It is launching the Equa index rating scheme in a bid to set out impartial real world data.

Greenpeace fits masks to London statues

Greenpeace has coordinated a series of stunts in London which saw pollution masks fitted to various landmark statues.

Lean NOx to blame

European pressure group T&E warns that the continued failure by VW to meet US deadlines for fixing vehicles comes as no surprise.

Defra change

Defra air quality lead Colin Church has been replaced by Shaun Gallagher. He comes from the Department of Health’s social care department.

Phlegm: particles to blame?

One in five cases of phlegm may be due to particles, government advisory group the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants believes. But it was reluctant to go much further.

Another ‘clean’ year in 2015?

The official air quality indicator has shown yet another clean year – the number of days of moderate urban pollution is now down to just nine. Rural days rise slightly to 11.

EU benefits

Europe has benefited environmental protection, MPs claim in a new report.

Diesel surcharge

The London Borough of Brent is considering introducing a £25 supplement for diesel cars to reflect their additional contribution to NOx air pollution.

Quantitech sale

Gasmet Technologies Oy of Finland, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gas monitoring equipment, has announced the acquisition of Quantitech Ltd based in Milton Keynes. Quantitech has been its sales and service partner in the UK and Ireland since 1995.

AURN shows modest improvements in 2015

Data capture in the automatic urban and rural monitoring network has showed a slight rise in the first three quarters of 2015, new reports reveal.

Dispersion modellers meet

Experts addressed a packed room at the IAQM Dispersion Model User Group meeting held in London last month

Standard ban

The Evening Standard newspaper continues its high profile campaign on air pollution in London.

Leeds freebie

Leeds City Council is to introduce free parking for residents who own green fuelled cars and vans.

Wandsworth testing

Local motorists were offered free vehicle emissions testing in Clapham Junction town centre.

Air theatre

A “high energy theatre” production has completed a tour of local primary schools to help teach youngsters about climate change, air pollution and how our travel choices can affect the environment.

MPs doubt clean air zones

Another year, another MPs’ report on air quality. Is anyone out there still listening, asks Jack Pease?

Spoofing used to spot cheating

Government admits being shocked by the VW emission scandal – it was shamed into carrying out its own tests on new vehicles. Here are the results.

Coatings are not worth it

For years NOx eating coatings have been a favourite in any cash-strapped council’s action plan. Maybe not for much longer now Aqeg has damped expectations in a new report, finds Jack Pease.

Antwerp needs Euro 6 to comply

Modelling of Antwerp suggests that Euro 6 diesel cars will be needed to comply with pollution limits.

Lisbon LEZ struggles with NO2

Researchers have studied the impact of a low emission zone in Lisbon and found that while there has been some success with reducing PM10 concentrations, NO2 has been more problematic. This has been the experience in London.

April 2016 Headlines

Government back in court again

The Government is back in court again over its failure to tackle air quality.

Clientearth award

Clientearth has won the annual Sustainable City air quality award.

Study suggests fracking worsens health

Researchers believe that fracking wells worsen air quality.

Diesel unchanged

Last month’s Budget left fuel duty on diesel unchanged.

Grants pay off

US regulators argue that clean diesel grants are hugely cost effective.

‘Clean’ diesel?

US consumer regulators have rounded against VWs use of the term ‘clean diesel’.

Peter Fleming returns to Air Monitors

Peter Fleming – formerly of TRL – has joined Air Monitors as regional/sector sales manager.

PhD opportunity

Kings College London and Emission Analytics are seeking a PhD student to study off-road emissions.

Odour sinks Gillingham housing

Potential waste treatment odours have sunk a housing scheme in Dorset at a planning appeal.

Policymakers should avoid going for gas

European environmental pressure group T&E has warned policy makers to avoid encouraging the take up of gas vehicles to cut air pollution.

New data tool reveals European emissions

Consultant Aether has developed a data visualisation to show details of large sources of emissions across Europe.

LAQM ‘disconnected and disengaged’

A review of the UK local air quality management system suggests there are failings and weaknesses.

LAQM garners luke-warm views

Defra received 72 responses to its plans to update the LAQM regime. The new regime introduced annual status reports (ASRs) in a bid to streamline the English local air quality management system (AQB December p1).

Scotland guidance

Scotland has released policy guidance on air quality.

Central guidance

The GLA has released supplementary policy guidance for its central activities zone which includes advice on air quality.

Welsh ‘interim’ policy guidance

Welsh Government has released ‘interim’ policy guidance for LAQM in Wales suggesting it may not fully adopt the path that England is treading.

Welsh indicator

Wales is adopting 43 national indicators – indicator No. 4 is on nitrogen dioxide.

SPD tackles cumulative impacts

Four Black Country authorities – Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley and Wolverhampton – have produced a combined draft supplementary planning document (SPD) for consultation. It includes tough talk on incremental cumulative impacts.

Heathrow okay?

A report claims that air quality issues at Heathrow could be overcome.

Blueprint update

Heathrow has updated its ‘blueprint’ for cutting emissions at the airport.

New dust monitor

Enviro Technology Services is now marketing a new environmental dust monitor from German manufacturer, Grimm Aerosol.

Councils tell MPs of zone fears

The Local Government Association has raised fears with MPs that clean air zones should not be imposed on councils.

Heathrow and vans a mayorial headache

London mayoral advisor Matthew Pencharz has again questioned the ability of an expanded to Heathrow comply with air quality standards.

Manchester won’t comply

Greater Manchester authorities have come together to consult on a low emission strategy and air quality action plan for the region.

Inventory reveals wood smoke problem

The UK is set to meet Gothenburg emission ceilings for all pollutants except PM2.5. The failure is due to growing domestic wood burning.

Diesel generation fears raised in Parliament

MPs have raised fears during discussions on the Energy Bill that small scale diesel generators could worsen air quality in sensitive urban areas.

HS2 air impacts

A report has listed environmental impacts of the HS2 high speed railway from London to the Midlands. Air quality is included.

More lobbying

Another lobbying group on air quality was launched at a high profile event in London last month.

Government back in court

After months of threats, Clientearth has served notice on the UK government challenging the legality of UK NO2 plans intended to avoid infraction


Clientearth has launched the #NO2DirtyAir campaign to fund its new High Court challenge (see above).

Reality check for projections

Air Quality Consultants has once again proposed its own methodology in absence of credible emission projections from Defra. Jack Pease reports.

  March 2016


NOx impact quashes houses

Wealden Council has succeeded in preventing housing that could increase nitrogen deposition in the sensitive Ashdown Forest habitat.

New indicator in Defra plan

Defra has released a Departmental plan for 2015-2020. It contains a proposed new set of performance indicators on air quality.

Birmingham fines...

Birmingham estimates that it will be liable for £60m in fines if it doesn’t get a move on with clean air zones.

Plans panned

Defra has released a summary of responses to the EU ‘plans’ consultation which proposed setting up of clean air zones in six cities (AQB January p1).

Official toolkit still too low

Air Quality Consultants has developed a sensitivity test to counteract errors in official emission factors.

London boroughs to share £5m funding

London boroughs will share £5m of funding to tackle air pollution.

Medics lose patience

Influential doctors’ organisations have spoken out on the dangers of air pollution.

Electric rules

A series of guidance and documents have been released confirming new electric vehicle grants first announced last month.

TfL schemes

Four innovative schemes that will transform streets in the Capital have been awarded grants as part of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Future Streets Incubator Fund.

Streetscape help

Transport for London (TfL) has launched the third edition of its Streetscape Guidance.

Welsh tree benefits

A model has been used to assess the air quality benefits of two urban forests in Wales.

Drivers exposed to dirty air

Drivers and their passengers may be exposed to more harmful pollution inside a vehicle than on the road

Public health cuts set out

The Chancellor’s pre-Budget Autumn Statement confirmed that local authority funding for public health would be reduced by an average of 3.9% in real terms per annum until 2020.

Laser testing

Hager Environmental & Atmospheric Technologies (HEAT), is carrying out remote roadside emission testing in London with new laser equipment.

Low level studies

The respected US Health Effects Institute is to fund three new studies to investigate health effects of people exposed to low levels of air pollution in North America and Europe.

Masters programme

King’s College London is to offer a new Master’s programme on Global Air Quality; Management and Science.

£110k dust fine at Horn Lane

Just weeks after a report by the regulators aimed at downplaying health impacts of dust at Horn Lane in West London, Ealing Council has landed Hanson Concrete with a huge fine.

Historic air pollution affects current health

The UK Small Area Health Study Unit (Sahsu) has found a ‘surprise’ result that historic pollution exposure affects current health.

Bus shake up

A new Bus Bill will be introduced in Parliament in a bid to improve regulation of buses outside of London. Many air quality experts have found it difficult to force bus companies to clean up emissions as councils have no direct control over services.

NOx fudge

The European Parliament has allowed emission tests to contain conformity relaxations subject to a future review. NOx limits come with the ability to allow some vehicles to exceed by a large margin of tolerance.

Minister deflects policy gap

MPs have continued their scrutiny of actions that local authorities can take to improve air quality. Has minister Rory Stewart got anything new in his defence?

Clean air zones: on their way?

The Government has told six cities to prepare clean air zones in a bid to ward off fines from Europe. Who is bothering, asks Jack Peas

 February 2016 headlines

£40m for four cities

Four ‘Go Ultra Low Cities’ – Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London – will share £40m funding to encourage a switch towards electric cars.

Eight days to breach 2016 NO2 objective

The hourly NO2 limit for 2016 was breached days after the New Year, reports Kings College London which runs the London monitoring network.

Whall to AQC

Chris Whall has become a director at Air Quality Consultants.

Schools exposure: best practice

The US. Environmental Protection Agency has released a guide to give schools and parents ideas on how to reduce children’s exposure to traffic-related air pollution.

Half million grant funds 12 projects

Air quality grant has shrunk from £3m to £0.5m over the years – Defra has now announced how that small sum will be spread out.

Nickel hunt

King’s College London has been commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake two sampling campaigns in South Wales.

Heavy metal low

Heavy metal concentrations remain low in the UK, annual reports suggest.

Also... particle number

Reports have also been released on: Airborne particulate concentrations and numbers in the United Kingdom (phase 3) Annual report 2013   website

Thinktank sets out policy risks

The “moral, legal and economic case” for accelerated improvements in air quality have been set out.

Which? tests confirm excess emissions

Consumer group Which? has carried out its own tests on vehicles and found most of them exceed quoted NO2 emission limits.

Uber clampdown?

The Mayor of London has announced plans to increase regulation of minicabs and Uber on-demand vehicles.

Super emitter warning

Grisa Mocnik told the AAMG audience held in December that he had been carrying out real world black smoke tests in Slovenia.

Caulmert award

Environmental planning specialist Caulmert is investigating airborne salt concentrations as part of a two year monitoring scheme at the site of the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey.

No health impact at Horn Lane

Three agencies have cooperated to produce a report claiming that excess dust near the much-reported Horn Lane industrial site in west London is safe.

GLA backs down on mandatory monitoring

Plans to insist that London boroughs have a minimum of two monitoring stations have been abandoned.

AirText 7m resolution

Some new features have been added to the airText air quality forecasting website run by consultant Cerc for London boroughs:

Emissions explained

The European Environment Agency has released a report explaining in simple terms how vehicle emissions occur and how they are tested, and the reasons for the gap between tested and real-world driving emissions.’

Burning fine

A Sheffield double glazing business that illegally burned waste has been ordered to pay out £355 by magistrates in Sheffield, after being taken to court by Sheffield City Council.

Church to go

Defra’s air quality lead Colin Church is to leave his post.

Insignificance for habitats

The Institute of Air Quality Management has attempted to define insignificance in terms of sensitive habitats.

Officials and volunteers hit the city streets

Teams of air quality wardens made up two trained City of London residents, two City of London Corporation officers and seven volunteers from environmental charity Global Action Plan, were out in the City of London’s streets engaging idling engine drivers.

ULEZ extension?

London Councils and London boroughs have convened an engagement group to discuss how the proposed central London Ultra Low Emission Zone could be extended. What is likely to be the last consultation on proposed LAQM guidance has been released for consultation.

Public health funding plea

The Royal Society for Public Health has warned that changes being made to the way local government is funded threaten to further exacerbate already-pronounced health inequalities between different parts of the country.

LoCity formed

LoCity is a new five year programme aimed at bringing together the myriad of bodies and schemes involved in reducing van and truck emissions in London.

Labs ranked

NO2 diffusion tube laboratories have been assessed.

Clean air zone for York

York is ploughing ahead with its plans for a clean air zone – despite the term being ‘hijacked’ by Defra for six cities needing to cut NO2 levels to comply with European Directives.

Pollution high

Widespread moderate NO2 and moderate and high PM10 and PM2.5 particulate pollution was measured across south east England on Tuesday 20th January as a spell of cold, still weather allowed local emissions to build.

Yet again MPs probe air

Once again MPs are discussing air quality – inevitably VW but also the LAQM and ‘plans’ consultation

LAQM responses: early thoughts

Despite the rushed nature of the recent consultation on LAQM, some have already manage to submit their opinions

January 2016 headlines

UK NO2 plans are released

UK plans to tackle excess NO2 have been handed to the European Commission in a bid

AQM shake up and NO2 plans: very different

There are two hugely significant policy issues knocking around at the moment which may cause some confusion for the unwary – the LAQM revamp and the NO2 ‘plans’ consultation.

Brownfield presumption

Government is consulting on making it easier to pack more affordable homes onto urban brownfield sites.

Manchester omission

Manchester City Council has asked AQB to clarify that it did submit data to Defra.

NO2 deaths guidance delayed

Government advisory body Comeap has taken the unusual step of explaining delays to emerging thinking on NO2.

Remap your car

Fleet firms are being offered an engine remapping service. Viezu has developed bespoke engine maps taking into account a vehicle’s typical drive cycle, load and other key characteristics.

Consultants struggle?

Supersize international environmental consultants have struggled in recent months, the yearly Environment Analyst review of the consultancy market suggests.

Emissions drop

Emissions dropped for most pollutants in 2014 – except ammonia.

Fleming leaves TRL

Monitoring specialist Peter Fleming has left TRL. l

Gas generators refused

Bristol City Council has refused a planning application for a bank of back-up diesel generators on air quality grounds.

Qualified all-clear for PCM model

Models underpinning the Government’s air quality policy have been scrutinised by external auditors.

European Parliament to probe ‘dieselgate’

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted on setting up a 45 member inquiry committee to investigate breaches of EU rules on car emission tests and alleged failures by EU member states and the European Commission to enforce EU standards.

Black carbon report

NPL and King’s College London jointly run the UK black smoke monitoring network and have reported for 2013 and 2014.

NI air reported

Ricardo has completed its air quality report for Northern Ireland for 2014.

News from the Iapsc conference held in birmingham

Taxis to blame in Leeds?Taxis may contribute disproportionally to emissions, James Tate of Leeds University told last month’s Iapsc conference.West Yorkshire’s Health impact assessmentDuncan Cooper of Wakefield set out how West Yorkshire has cooperated to produce a health impact assessment of various air quality policies.

NOx ratings scheme for cars?

Emission Analytics – the firm that has championed on-board testing of cars – is proposing a vehicle accreditation scheme in a bid to provide some benchmark measure of real world emissions. The ratings could be used as LEZ thresholds.

TAG update

Guidance on valuing air quality and noise impacts (environmental impact analysis) has been updated.

ADMS update

New editions of ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads & ADMS-Airport are now available.

Pollution still biggest health risk

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, says the European Environment Agency (EEA).

VW case filed

US authorities have commenced action against VW for selling cars in the US with defeat devices which put cars into clean mode when being tested

Germans v. diesel

German modelling suggests that unless diesels are curtailed, cities will not reach compliance by 2030. The UK believes it can reach compliance closer to 2020 outside of London without tackling diesel cars.

BAP static

NPL reports that annual mean B[a]P concentrations in 2014 did not show a significant change from those measured in 2013.

Suite of monitors check for nanoparticles

University of Brighton has set up a £250,000 advanced air quality monitoring station, the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to the detection of harmful nano-sized particles and their gaseous precursors.

Heathrow decision delayed

Government says that it needs extra time to consider expansion of Heathrow.

Academics make joint plea

Two dozen international scientists have signed a plea to governments to reduce dependence on diesel.

Power cuts

Plug in car grant is being reduced from the current flat rate of £5,000 and feathered to encourage more efficient hybrids.

Kent cares for air

Kent councils have together produced a public-friendly air quality website.

Dustscan appoints

Monitoring firm DustScan has appointed Phil Battye (formerly the general manager of Enviro Technology Services) as operations director. Battye will be taking over from managing director Prof. Geoffrey Walton over the next few months.

Christmas highs

The Christmas and New Year period is normally a time of very low air pollution due to lower than usual traffic but recent years have seen pollution problems from increased decorative home-wood burning in open fires, Londonair has explained.

News from RSC AAMG monitoring conference

More testing – more problems

Roadside testing has picked up further irregularities in vehicle emissions.

Euro 6: Last ever standard?

TfL’s Adam Moody told the Iapsc audience that Euro 6 could well be the last Euro standard due the increasing problems of lab testing ever-cleaner emissions from vehicles.

Green infrastructure improves urban air?

Rob Mackenzie of the University of Birmingham and Forest Research outlined to AAMG the contribution that vegetation and urban form can have on pollution.

London network sees dramatic falls

Following years of stubborn refusal to fall, pollutant concentrations in London at last appear to be dropping

LAQM: new guidance set out

What is likely to be the last consultation on proposed LAQM guidance has been released for consultation.

Devil in the detail?

There were fears that weakening of the technical guidance might prove a back-door means to hide further cuts. In the event TG(16) looks much like TG(09)

 Action plans: what they should look like

Although local authorities are free to determine the format of their air quality action plan, in England, they are encouraged to make use of the updated AQAP template that is now included within policy guidance.

Plans: Limited details emerge

Plans to tackle excess NO2 have been handed to the European Commission in a bid to avoid infraction proceedings. Five local authorities are being told to adopt Clean Air Zones, rather than being asked

December 2015 headlines

LAQM: Final consultation is out

The third and final consultation on local air quality management system has been released.

Fast Track AQMA Declaration

Defra explained its thinking on the new fast track AQMA option: “LAQM has been in operation for over a decade now and we know from historical records that once a pollutant is identified as exceeding the national objective or is at risk of doing so, the Detailed Assessment (which often took at least 12 months to complete) more often than not confirmed the initial risk assessment.

Alerts don’t work?

An experiment in Wales suggests that alerting vulnerable people about poor air quality can worsen hospital admissions.

Scotland shows the way

Scotland is launching an all- new strategy aiming to make its air quality “the best in Europe”.

Delivery ban

Wandsworth Council is introducing a loading ban in Putney High Street to improve air quality. The ban is aimed at cutting congestion and reducing inefficient stop-start traffic.

Free school air

Aether has been commissioned to undertake detailed air quality assessments for a number of proposed free schools across London and the South East.

Scottish fracking

The Scottish Government announced its process for consultation on fracking and the need for a wide-range of research into the potential impacts of such techniques.

Cuts concern Epuk

At last month’s Epuk Autumn conference held in Birmingham, incoming president Lord Whitty was on fighting form: “It is worrying to note that Defra was one of the first ministries to agree to a 30% cut in the annual spending review. This is a bit of a problem for the environmental agenda.”

PHS downplays impacts

Public health experts in Scotland appear to have once again downplayed impacts of air pollution.

Government tests

The Government is pledging increased vehicle testing in response to the VW emissions scandal.

Peaks reach high

Widespread moderate PM10 and PM2.5 were measured across London on 3rd October with a small number of sites exceeding the moderate threshold the following day. This was due to poor dispersal of local and imported pollution caused by still, calm conditions.

Trees valued

Trees play a huge role in improving air quality and remove 299 tonnes of PM10 and 698 tonnes of NO2 pollution across London annually.

Trees improve dispersion, claims Leicester

Leicester researchers believe that pollution dispersion is improved by street trees. The findings contradict many studies that suggest street trees can worsen canyon effects by trapping vehicle pollutants at ground level leading to increased pollution exposure.

IAQM airs ‘plan’ fears

A succession of speakers criticised Defra’s proposed UK NO2 compliance plans at the recent IAQM discussion meeting and AGM.

Holman Chairman

At the AGM?Claire Holman of Brook Cottage Consulting took over the IAQM?chair role from Roger Barrowcliffe

Air Monitors

Air Monitors has bagged three key ESU monitor support contracts for Defra. The contracts have been prised off Enviro Technology which settled for a smaller fourth contract in the three yearly reletting of work.

End of coal?

Energy secretary Amber Rudd is consulting on closing unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025.

Heathrow on black

Ricardo Energy & Environment (formerly AEA) is working with Heathrow Airport to monitor black carbon

Further legal action ‘likely’

Clientearth lawyer Alan Andrews suggests the recent UK plans are not sufficient to avoid further court action.

‘Waves’ of lawsuits

ClientEarth and German pressure group DUH have launched a wave of air pollution lawsuits against federal states in Germany.

M4 expansion slated by Slough

An inquiry into the expansion of the M4 motorway west of Heathrow has begun. Slough – one of the most affected districts – says adding an extra running lane will worsen pollution and wants mitigation.

TfL names and shames dirty diesels

AQB has used Freedom of Information requests to find out which Euro 6 car manufacturers were responsible for massive exceedences of emission limits.

VW costings

Gary Fuller of King’s College London has tried to estimate the cost of diesels for his Guardian column on air quality.

PVR consult

UK Government is consulting on technical amendments to petrol station Stage 2 vapour recovery requirements.

In Parliament

Government has been quizzed by air pollution sceptic Baroness Gardner.

Scotland shows there is a way

Last month Scotland released its new Clean Air For Scotland (CAFS) air quality policy. The rebadged Low Emission Strategy for Scotland takes a root and branch look at delivering cleaner air and comes up with novel solutions.

Two-level modelling to underpin planning and strategy

Of perhaps the most importance to the rest of the UK is what Scotland is doing on modelling.

Anger at UK plans

Responses to UK plans to deal with NO2 express frustration at Defra’s lack of ambition for dealing with bad air. Jack Pease samples the responses

November 2015 headlines 

Diesel slated by MPs

Transport and environment ministers have struggled to defend policies which have led to diesel vehicles undermining air quality policies in the wake of the VW crisis.

TfL claims diesel buses nearly match cars

Another report has emerged on real life emissions. This time Transport for London has released a summary report of testing of heavy goods vehicles – a headline result is that diesel cars little cleaner than buses.

PDR permanent

Permitted development rights have been made permanent following a three year trial.

Brownfield boost

A clause in the proposed Housing Bill will see automatic planning consent for residential development on brownfield land in a bid to boost housing starts.

Aqeg puts value on monitoring

Simple economic evaluation of air quality monitoring will miss its true benefit, Government advisory body the Air Quality Expert Group warns.

More grants for blue sky thinking

The Department for Transport (DfT) is to open a call for proposals from consortia of academic or private sector researchers and local authorities with novel ideas for dealing with air quality challenges resulting from transportation.

Do not worsen air quality

Planners are warned that they must take into account air quality. They should not take the narrow view that just because directive limits are met, then there is no problem.

ULEV shortlist down to 12 cities

Twelve cities from across the UK have been shortlisted to be awarded a share of £35 million of Government funding to promote ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in their city.

Meacher dies

Former Labour environment secretary Michael Meacher has died, aged 75.

Heavy metal report

UK has reported on how it is complying with the heavy metal reporting requirements of the 4th Daughter Directive.l Air quality assessment regime review for the fourth daughter directive 2004/107/EC

Tube update

The National Diffusion Tube Bias Adjustment Factors Spreadsheet September 2015 update is now available.l

EU benefits?

The Environmental Audit Committee is holding an inquiry to assess the extent to which EU environmental objectives and policies have succeeded in tackling environmental issues in the UK.

Air-o-meter launched

The European Environment Bureau has launched a model aimed at assessing air quality impacts up to 2030.

MPs again

MPs have launched yet another probe into Defra's responsibilities for air quality.

£4m air grant

The University of Cambridge is to manage a £4.1 million research project to reduce pollution in cities.

Paris car free

Paris recently held a ‘car free’ day to cut pollution.

Hydrogen pump

ITM Power has launched its first public access hydrogen refuelling station just off the M1 in South Yorkshire.

Bristol talks centre on diesel

The IAQM celebrated the culmination of Bristol’s year of being the European Green capital by hosting a two day conference on air quality.

Car makers plea

Motor manufacturers continue to defend diesel citing economic benefits, and warn against any ‘knee jerk’ reaction against diesel.

Epuk annoyed

Epuk has published its reaction to the VW crisis.

Ozone quantification draws near

First particles – then nitrogen dioxide – and now ozone. Another pollutant has moved closer to quantification in terms of number of deaths and health costs.

Taxi rules set

London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) rules for taxis and minicabs have been tabled. From 2018, all taxis licensed for the first time must be zero emission capable, while new diesel taxis will not be allowed in London.

Vauxhall appears as outlier in Tate’s tests

Leeds ITS real world emission tester James Tate shocked Bristol delegates with this graph of diesel cars tested.

Dublin smoke ban celebrated

King’s College London’s Gary Fuller reports from the conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dublin smoky coal ban

Sepa enforcement

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is consulting on a revised enforcement policy and guidance on the use of SEPA’s new enforcement tools.

Permit exemption tool

Ricardo-AEA and the Environment Agency have produced an interactive tool that enables industrial facilities to develop and assess their case for possible exemptions from the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and its associated requirements.

Bam for Bat and Ball

Sevenoaks District Council commissioned a new monitoring site by Bat & Ball Road.

Sampling changes

Revised European legislation setting improved rules on collection, sampling and analyses of heavy metal data has come into force.

MPs question Heathrow air

MPs are probing air quality and other environmental impacts of expansion at Heathrow

VW probe gets few answers

MPs quizzed VW and the car makers’ trade body but made little progress. As with ministers (see news, page one) many questions are being ducke

October 2015 headlines 

NO2 plans set out

Defra has released draft air quality plans in a bid to see off European infraction on air quality failures.

Years of rulebending exposed in VW scandal

VW is being fined by US regulators for installing ‘defeat devices’ in diesel cars.

Grant cut

Air quality grant has been halved once again.

Air quality awards

The City of London Corporation has opened the 2016 Sustainable City Awards for entry. Health and wellbeing initiatives take centre stage in the 14th year of the awards.

Leaf upgrade

Nissan is upgrading its Leaf battery electric vehicle.

Edinburgh ban

Edinburgh is piloting road closures outside six primary schools in the city in a bid to improve air quality.

Pollutants fall

Emissions of most pollutants have fallen, the latest 2013 inventories suggest.

Cleanspace link

Drayson Technologies’ CleanSpace air quality app (AQB August p2) has joined forces with electric Formula 1 organiser Formula E.

Schools in Scotland get new resource

Scotland has produced a new online schools resource on air quality.

Monitoring by I-phone

I-phone users across the EU are being asked join together to map out dirty air.

ET Appoints Duncan Mounsor as MD

Air quality monitoring equipment specialist, Enviro Technology has appointed Duncan Mounsor as managing director. He has been with the firm 25 years.

£5m available for clean buses

£5m has been made available for clean buses in England – but local authorities will have to prove that clean up technologies work.

Get off the fence!

A report has emerged that urges academics to stop over-qualifying adverse health impacts of air pollution.

Waste oil burners

Defra is seeking views on whether changes to the environmental permitting guidance on waste incineration are clear (as opposed to discussing further changes). The change affects small, basic appliances such as small waste oil burners which will be subject the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) from April 2016.

LCP consultation

UK is consulting on a national plan for large combustion plant.

Fracking push

Decc has set out further reporting mechanisms to identify planning authorities that take too long to determine fracking applications, which may have air quality and noise impacts.

Public health advice

Defra snuck out a report earlier this year setting out to help public health professionals deal with air quality

Incinerator refused

Northern Ireland environment minister Mark Durkan has rejected plans for an incinerator at Hightown near Belfast.

Aarhus update

A Ministry of Justice consultation sets out how costs can be capped in environmental trials.

Gas truck tested

A Ricardo-AEA report has analysed how dual fuel diesel trucks perform.

New NO2 plans to please the EU

Defra has released its draft air quality plans for consultation. Rebadged low emission zones once again feature as a means to avoid infraction by Brussels. Jack Pease dissects the important development

Clean air zones to replace LEZs

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are the centrepiece of plans set to be submitted to the EU?to avoid EU?infraction on air quality. In fact they are little more than rebadged low emission zones and a relaunch of plans revealed in 2011.

Hope once again pinned on PCM modelling

A 25 page ‘evidence’ annex sets out the arguments behind Government thinking on what areas will exceed EU limits in 2020 – and how proposed clean air zones will solve the problem.

Health and costings

So much has changed in the past few months on the economic justification for taking action on air quality.

September 2015 headlines 

AURN goalposts moved

Defra has responded to continued failure to meet the 90% data capture target of its automatic monitoring network by revising it down to 85%.

London construction plant must now be clean

Air quality emission standards for off road construction plant have come into force in London.

NICE guidance

High level guidance on air quality is to be provided by NICE – The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence.

PM2.5: only 55% is ours

Experts say that only 55% of PM2.5 in the UK can be managed by UK action. The findings will no doubt be used by ministers to claim that pollution reduction must be carried out by other countries.

Inventories need joined up thinking

Emission inventories – based on modelling – must take more note of monitoring data, the Air Quality Expert Group has stated.

Particles up

The UK has submitted this year’s pollution emissions totals to Europe. Particles are up due to new methodology.

H&F probe

The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has set up a resident-led Air Quality Commission.

Cornwall loss

The Cornwall Air Quality Unit is to be disbanded. Boss Barbara Parsons is to retire.

Another SANGS aids habitats

Yet another development stalled by habitats fears has been allowed on appeal in Sussex.

Fast track for fracking applications

Fracking in England is set to be fast tracked through the planning system to avoid excessive delays, a consultation suggests.

Posh buyers prop up low emission vehicles

Government research has found that sales of ultra low emission vehicles are dominated by the middle classes.

Cruise ship pollution risk mitigated

Cruise ship pollution fears have been dismissed following a large contribution to Greenwich’s air quality action plan fund.

‘Green’ red tape

The Engineering Employers Federation has criticised the Government’s red tape review claiming that benefits have yet to improve ‘green tape’.

Airport responses outline fears

In July, the Airports Commission summarised responses to the detailed air quality consultation on expansion at Heathrow. A final decision – and inevitable legal challenges – are due before Christmas.

Website review 2015

AQB has carried out a website review for nearly 20 years and seen a dramatic improvement in air quality websites. But we were challenged this year...

Twitter winners and losers

Twitter is not for everyone, but some users are extremely successful in using tweets to push forward their message. A Twitter-sceptic Jack Pease reviews the state of play

Tricks of the trade from top tweeter Birkett

We asked Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London how to make social media work to push across the air pollution message.

August 2015 headlines 

London LAQM proposals set out

The London Mayor is consulting on the shape of a revamped local air quality management regime for London.

Housing refused

Air quality was one of three grounds contributing to refusal of new housing in Hassocks in Sussex.

NO2 quantification doubles health impact

Inclusion of NO2 when calculating health impacts doubles the effects, King’s College London suggests.

News from the Londonair conference held last month

London air still not good

Tim Baker told the recent Londonair conference held last month that pollution improvements remain elusive:

Diesel performance gap is closing

Nick Molden of Emission Analytics updated work on real world emissions of modern Euro 6 vehicles.

Cleanspace app set to hit the streets

Lord Drayson provided some glamour to the Londonair meeting held in London.

BIDS monitoring

Andrew Grieve of Kings College London told the Londonair conference how business improvement districts were increasingly taking an interest in air quality. Two have already funded air quality monitoring in London.

Berlin much like London: Lutz

Berlin’s air quality chief Martin Lutz reminded the UK air quality community how problems in Berlin mirror those seen in London.

Inspector backs Agency cover up

A waste operator has failed to overturn a condition requiring the site to be covered up.

Wandsworth plan

Wandsworth Council has opened a new roadside air quality monitoring site on Tooting High Street. The site will provide continuous, real-time air pollution measurements of NO2 and PM10 particulate.

NECD toughened

Environment MEPs have voted to tighten up Commission plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six NECD pollutants.

Fracking appeal

Cuadrilla is appealing against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission to drill two fracking wells near Blackpool. Air quality was initially cited as a concern but the refusal focused on noise and traffic impacts.

Jenkins going

Nigel Jenkins is to leave the Sussexair network to join Ricardo-AEA.

UK emissions: substantial decline?

Emissions have been reported to Brussels for various UK pollutants covered by the CLRTAP treaty.

Wales grants

The Welsh Government is urging community groups and third sector organisations to bid for small scale project funding (£1,000 to £15,000), including projects to tackle noise and air pollution and create tranquil green spaces.

GLA wants to ‘bin’ diesel

“The drive to diesel cannot be allowed to continue,” says London Assembly environment committee chief Stephen Knight in a new report – but Tory members of the committee have refused to sign up to the report claiming proposed measures are too draconian.

Guidance needed for habitats assessments?

Ecologists and air quality professionals gathered together to discuss the impact of air pollution on sensitive habitats – and the possible need for guidelines.

London shows Defra the way?

London sets out draft LAQM plans which aim to safeguard air quality in the face of austerity

Focus areas and how action can reduce their number

Air quality focus areas in London have already been determined by the GLA.

NO2 doubles health impact

For the first time NO2 health effects have been included to develop policy for London.

Back to top

July 2015 headlines 

Air ignored in Heathrow choice

Air pollution is no bar to further expansion at Heathrow, says the Airports Commission.

Aberdeen Scottish testbed for modelling?

Data collection is underway in Aberdeen as Scottish Government takes forward its national low emission zone framework proposals. 

SAS ozone?

Analysis by David Muir, formerly of Bristol City Council, has suggested there were ozone spikes at the time that three SAS soldiers died of heat exhaustion on a training exercise on Dartmoor.

Exit Izzy

Isabella Myers is to depart Public Health England.Loophole stalls

Hastings link

A controversial link road near Hastings has been dropped before air quality arguments could be heard at a High Court Judicial Review.

Contract and big-shots go to AEA

AEA has retained perhaps the most high profile air quality contracts – managing the national monitoring network (AURN) – and recruited some key air quality luminaries.

Health cuts

The Faculty of Public Health has warned that the £200m/7.4% reduction in planned public health spending contradicts Government promises to prop up the NHS by upgrading public health.

M20 released

Environment Agency M20 guidance for stack monitoring has been released.

Colour coding

France has introduced a voluntary colour coding system to rank emissions.

Appeal overrides AQ concerns

200 homes have been approved at appeal despite fears that extra traffic could worsen air quality. IAQM/Epuk updated planning guidelines are cited even though still in draft form (they have now been finalised).

Nature arguments squashed at Wealden

Fears that a huge 1,000 home urban extension near Uckfield in Sussex could affect sensitive wildlife sites have been overruled.

Tata Scunthorpe wins nature award

Tata Steel in Scunthorpe has been judged overall winner of the Lincolnshire Environmental Award  by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. This is despite the site having some air quality scrapes with regulators in the past (AQB June 2010).

European fudge

The European Council has come to a compromise position on medium combustion plants emissions.

10 states exceed

Ten member states have exceeded their emission ceilings for SO2, NO2 ammonia and NMVOCs, an EEA report suggests.

Slight rise in Part Bs

The latest LAPC survey for England and Wales suggests a slight rise in the number of Part B permits issued. 2013/14 data reverses the downward trend seen in recent years. The number of withdrawn applications decreased, again reversing the decline seen in recent years.

Chook poop

CERC is working with Wiser Environment to assess the air quality impact of a series of planned poultry-litter-fuelled boilers on farms in the UK.

Farmers exempt

Early-round voting on revision of the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive has opted for removal of limits on agricultural and ammonia emissions.

Burden objection

50 various environmental and lobby groups have joined together to challenge the widely-held belief that regulation is a burden for society.

Tag for plasterboard burning operator

A Fife waste operator has been sentenced to be tagged for eight months for illegally burning waste. SEPA officers attended Balmain Farm and observed several tonnes of white waste plasterboard which was smouldering and approximately 20-30 tonnes of soil mixed with construction and demolition waste.

£17,000 fish odour bill

A Kilmarnock composting company was fined £17,000 on 15 June 2015 for causing offensive fish odours at its site over a three month period in 2013.

Five low carbon Ps for success

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has launched a Good practice guide for local measures to encourage the uptake of low emission vehicles (LEVs).

Double decker zero emission London bus

The world’s first purpose-built purely electric double-decker bus will enter passenger service in London this year, Mayor Boris Johnson announced at last month’s  global Clean Bus Summit.

Grant advice

Guidance providing information on funding eligibility and criteria for the low emission bus scheme has been released.

Homecharge rules

A guide has been released for installers of home charging equipment for low emission vehicles.

LEV sales rise

Government has reported a huge rise in the number of ultra low emissions vehicles registered in the UK.

Price important

Cost is a key issue for those considering buying electric cars, a government survey reveals.

Tube update

The June National Diffusion Tube Bias Adjustment Factors Spreadsheet update is now available.

Latest ADMS ‘even more user friendly’

Software firm Cerc says its ADMS 5.1 dispersion model is “more user-friendly than ever”.

Sepa consults on new charging scheme

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the regulatory charging scheme covering annual licence costs and application fees.

Fracking exposes pollution fears

Fracking – like incineration – is seeing air quality dragged in as a excuse for objection. Is there really anything to worry about, asks Jack Pease?

MPs discuss air quality

MPs discussed air quality in the House of Commons – this time not in a dusty committee room – but on the floor of the house itself

Heathrow: a taste of the battle to come?

The Commons debate gave some insight into the political debate that will follow the Airports Commission decision to recommend Heathrow go ahead to build a third runway.

Fracking leads to PAH risk

Fracking may raise levels of PAHs, Oregon researchers suggest. (see also fracking decision, news p5).

Back to top

June 2015 headlines 

Ventilation clause approved

A requirement for a residential development to install mechanical ventilation has been approved at a planning appeal.

Heathrow okay?

Heathrow Airport says new air quality modelling results show that its planned expansion will not lead to worsening of air quality.

Hastings road goes to judicial review

Protesters have succeeded in halting work on a new road in Hastings pending a judicial review on air quality impacts.

Environmental protection Scotland conference on PM2.5

Taylor outlines PM2.5 progress

Scottish Government air quality policy manager Andrew Taylor outlined the latest position on PM2.5.

What do local authorities think of all this?

A very useful workshop session allowed Scottish local authorities to mull over what all this means for them.

PM2.5 reductions difficult

IAQM chairman Roger Barrowcliffe told the recent Environmental Protection Scotland conference held in Edinburgh how difficult it might be to cut PM2.5.

PM2.5 will stretch monitoring technology

It’s all very well having aspirations for lower PM2.5 objectives – but can monitoring equipment support that?, asked Ricardo AEA’s monitoring expert Brian Stacey.

Testing continues

South Lanarkshire is continuing with roadside emission tests in the coming year.

WHO talks tough

The World Health Assembly has passed a resolution seeking tougher action on air quality.

Ozone improves

UK had seven exceedences of the long term ozone objective in Summer 2014, European statistics reveal.

Stop start good?

Vehicle pollution specialist Emission Analytics has carried out preliminary analysis of modern car engines which use stop-start technology to cut emissions.

Planning guidance still flawed

Planning guidance released in draft form by IAQM and Epuk remains flawed, claims Clean Air in London’s Simon Birkett.

Medium-size ambition for medium-size plant

New EU rules have been agreed that are aimed at limiting emissions from medium sized combustion plant.

Real world tests agreed in Europe

EU regulators have agreed a protocol for real world tests of on road diesel emissions.

Ministerial team

Defra’s ministerial team has been weakened in a post-General Election shake up.

Air spend static, survey reveals

Capital spending on air quality in 2013 remained much the same as in previous years, industry figures suggest.

Queen disappoints

The Queen’s speech has disappointed some groups due to lack of ambition on the environment.

ITV leans on Air Monitors

Air quality hit centre stage on ITV’s Tonight programme aired last month.

£1m low emission neighbourhood bids

London boroughs are being encouraged to set up low emission neighbourhoods with grants for up to £1m for two schemes.

Push to extend London ULEZ

London Assembly members have voted to ask the London Mayor to consider extending coverage of the proposed central London ultra low emission zone.

David Hall thanks

Vivien Hall – widow of Envirobods’ David Hall who died recently (AQB March p1) – has asked AQB to thank those who offered support via cards and messages follow Hall’s death: “Thank you to all David’s friends and colleagues for your kind words at this sad time.”

Aether in LAEI update

Aether will this summer be updating the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) on behalf of Transport for London (TfL).

Micro model

A new bottom-up emissions simulator of urban districts and cities has been developed by the Energy Efficient Cities initiative (EECi), at the University of Cambridge. The model uses highly detailed inputs such as gas billing data to help derive emissions at a high resolution.

Construction dust targeted

Much effort is being targeted at engaging construction sites in London. Some sites are so large that they can have real impacts on air quality.

Off road briefing

Pressure group T&E has produced a briefing on non-road mobile machinery – essentially construction plant.

Detail added to airports assessment

Last year the Airports Commission had to go off half cock on air quality as it didn’t have time to do a full assessment. Now it has.

May 2015 headlines

UK must redo plans by Xmas

The UK Government has lost its Supreme Court battle defending its air quality record and must now deliver revised plans to strengthen its response to combat pollution – by the end of the year. The deadline to produce plans is binding on whichever government is elected next week.

Diesel penalty discussed in Camden challenge

Parking charges with extra penalties for diesels have been challenged in the High Court.

ASA rap for TfL

Transport For London has been censured for making false claims for its planned ultra low emission zone.

Comeap rails against cuts

Comeap minutes reveal funding fears for the expert group.

Scottish low emission strategy too tough?

Even Environmental Protection Scotland thinks the Scottish Government’s low emission strategy may be too ambitious.

TTR appointments

Venn Chesterton (pictured right) has replaced Tom Parker as the lead on air quality within consultant TTR. Parker has gone to Bristol City Council. Chesterton originates from TfL where he was involved with the low emission zone.


After 18 years at Bureau Veritas’s air quality team (in its various forms Stanger, Casella, Carillion and Tarmac), Yvonne Brown is joining Transport for London.

Scrappage advice

A guide has been produced on vehicle scrappage schemes aimed at cutting emissions.

Air quality improves in 2014. Cleanest year?

2014 was one of the cleanest years ever in air quality terms, official statistics suggest.

Lack of info leads to refusal

Lack of information has prompted dismissal of plans for an anaerobic digester even though odours could be less than currently, with the planning authority criticised.

Sootfree rankings

Zurich has won the latest ‘sootfree cities’ award run by European green groups.

Idiot’s guide to nuisance?

Defra has posted a guide aimed at explaining to the public how odour nuisance should be dealt with by local authorities.

$1.6 trillion bill for European air pollution

The World Health Organisation has costed air pollution at $1.6 trillion across Europe.

WHO warns on toxics

The World Health Organisation has warned on the continuing worldwide risk of exposure to toxic pollutants such as POPs.

€3m prize for clean air ideas

€3m has been promised for the best ideas to combat poor air quality.

Pedelec power

Pedelecs – electric bikes - are all the rage says the German environment agency.

Yet another spring pollution event for UK

Widespread moderate PM10 and PM2.5 was measured across London and south-east England on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th April due to a high pressure system over southern England and the northern part of mainland Europe resulting in low wind speeds and extra pollutants.

A vote for air quality?

What have the main parties got to say on air quality, asks Jack Pease

Planning guidance toughened

The IAQM and Epuk have released a final draft of their air quality and planning guidelines. Developers may find they no longer get an easy ride

Heathrow pollution questioned by Gatwick

Gatwick Airport has commissioned independent consultants to show that expansion at the rival Heathrow Airport will jeopardise attainment of EU air quality standards.

Ikea dominates Sheffield thoughts

More from the South Yorks Care4Air conference held in Sheffield last month. Despite austerity, local councils are still doing good work

Cut emissions and health improvements will follow

The study referred to by Mudway was contained in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers wanted to see what effects had been seen following the long term improvements in air quality in California which pioneered tight vehicle regulations.

 All about monitors

Every two years monitor firms show off their kit – they continue to put on a brave face at this year’s Telford show

Some progress seen

A ‘synthesis’ report suggest that Europe’s environment and climate policies have delivered substantial benefits, improving the environment and quality of life, while driving innovation, job creation and growth.

Cut price AEA

Ricardo-AEA has launched a “low cost” data service.

April 2015 Issue 108

£75m for strategic roads?

The successor body to the Highways Agency – Highways England – has come into being endowed with a dedicated air quality fund.

Clientearth back in the Supreme Court

The long-running saga of attempts to force the UK government to do more on air pollution will see Clientearth back in the Supreme court this month (16th April). It will be streamed live on Sky News.

Budget brief

The last Budget of the current government has led to little change on the environment beyond some tinkering with low emission vehicle tax and benefit structures.

Expressways ahead

The outgoing government pledged a series of expressways across the UK to increase road capacity and provide ‘mile a minute’ speeds on non-motorway trunk roads.

Aberthaw indictment

The European Commission has referred the UK to court due to the absence of a reduction in emissions by the Aberthaw coal-fired power station in Wales. Emissions of NOx were found to exceed the permissible limits under EU legislation on emissions from large combustion plants which had a deadline of 2008 to comply.

Bad air but ea okay....

The fight against Sheffield City Council’s decision to allow a huge Ikea store to go ahead in an air quality management area has been abandoned. The deadline for further challenges has now passed.

.... air prompts refusal despite small impact

Plans to build flats in a leafy Windsor street have been rejected with air quality cited as a reason for refusal by local politicians.

Dundee gets electric taxi fleet

Dundee has welcomed a fleet of 30 electric taxis onto its roads.

£20m taxi fare

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles has launched a £20m UK-wide competition to set up ultra low emission taxi schemes.

Gas boost

There will be an additional £4m to support the early deployment of publically accessible gas refuelling points for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) across the UK.

Beacons again

A dozen cities bidding for a share of a £35 million fund will become centres of excellence for low emission vehicles.

Ultra LEZ confirmed for London

The London ultra low emission zone will go ahead largely as planned. Plans had been criticised for being too weak and too late (AQB March p2).

BreatheLondon website launch

The BreatheLondon website has been launched and aims is to provide public health advice and tools to help individuals to reduce the risk of harm from air pollution.

20mph in London

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have outlined plans for eight new pilots of 20mph speed limits on the main road network.

Glasgow Ecostars

Glasgow City Council became the latest Scottish local authority to join the Ecostars clean fleet initiative.

Cycling & walking

DfT has released a paper explaining how to cost the benefits of encouraging walking and cycling.

Fine particles dominate ‘very high’ event

Fine particle PM2.5 dominated the smog event last month.

2025 date unchanged by action

Leicester has published its draft air quality action plan. Action will make no difference to the expected compliance date of 2025.

Government defends air quality record

In its response to criticism from MPs on the Environment Audit Committee, before Parliament was dissolved, the Government defended its stance on air quality.

BID London win

A business improvement district has won this year’s Corporation of London Sustainable City Awards.

Scottish plans

SEPA has issued guidance on how air quality should be dealt with in land use planning. It says that air quality must be explicitly included in both strategic and local development plans.

Westminster idles not

Westminster is adopting anti-idling powers on its roads. From 1 May 2015, if a driver is asked to turn their engine off by a marshall and refuses they could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20.

Measly pot

The Local Government Association points out that care of the young and elderly now makes up half of local authority spending.

EU exit: what it may mean

If Britain withdraws from the EU?– the so called Brexit – where would it leave air quality and the environment, asks Jack Pease

NO2 and particles clarified (not!)

Two statements have been released intended to update the UK position on the health effects of NO2 and particles. Jack Pease struggles to interpret them

Diesel debate gets dirty

Motor manufacturers have launched a counter attack on what they see as unfair demonisation of diesel. Why, asks Jack Pease?

March 2015 Issue 107

Sheffield challenged on Ikea

Sheffield has been served pre-action papers as part of a legal challenge against its support for an Ikea store.

Consultation ends on planning guidelines

Consultation has ended on planning guidelines used for assessing air quality impacts of developments

Dr. David Hall

David Hall of consultant Envirobods died last month age 73. He had been undergoing treatment for cancer.

Mixed responses to ULEZ

Plans for a London ultra low emission zone have had a mixed response from stakeholders. The Mayor consulted on his plans (AQB?November 2014 p1) and responses are now trickling out. Many want the scheme to start earlier and stretch further out than central London.

York agrees congestion commission

York City Council has set up a ‘congestion commission’ in a bid to explore ways of cutting congestion in the city and reducing air pollution.

Plug-in rise

More than 25,000 plug-in car and plug-in van grant claims have been submitted since the scheme began in 2010 in England.

France v Diesel

France – which has historically encouraged diesel use to boost its car industry – is to offer scrappage grants to get rid of old diesel cars.

Search on for 60mph alternative

The Highways Agency has published results of its consultation on the use of lower speed limits on the M1 to cut air pollution.

Green group highlights dirty bus loophole

The ETA (Environmental Transport Association) claims bus operators are exploiting a loophole to avoid buying cleaner Euro 6 buses.

Aarhus weakened

Campaigners say Aarhus rights to environmental justice have been weakened as a result of a EU Court of Justice Ruling.

Red lights spell danger

Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution, a new study finds

Range extended petrol hybrid London taxi

Taxi maker Metrocab has made the first zero-emission-capable taxi to be licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.

US agrees new wood boiler standard

New standards have been agreed for wood burners in the US.

LEZ works, claims Oxford....

A low emission zone based on buses has worked, claims Oxford City Council.

...while Leeds kicks LEZ plans into touch

Leeds is unlikely to set up a low emission zone. It joins cities such as Newcastle which believes that costs and benefits do not stack up.

Green wall for Redbridge school

A brand new green wall at Winston Way Primary School has been opened as part of efforts to help improve air quality in Redbridge.

Kiwi move

Cheshire West and Chester air quality officer Graham Aveyard has retired.

Poor affected

A team of researchers including the Imperial College Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) have shown that air pollution disproportionately affects health. SAHSU advises Public Health England on issues such as air pollution and health.

Fracking halt

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing has announced that there is to be a moratorium on granting consents for fracking.

Flow breakdown in DMRB

The Highways Agency has finalised DMRB guidance on how to model emissions from trunk roads and motorways in congested conditions.

New modelling shows pollution spread

A Freedom of Information request has uncovered present and future hotspots. Data has been provided showing the top 50 most polluted places in the UK and it reveals that Heathrow pollution becomes an issue in future years.

Is hydrogen clean?

Government is consulting on whether hydrogen is clean.

Black humour for dark times

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett has teamed up with cartoonist Ed Davey to poke fun at Boris Johnson’s record on air quality.....

Battle for hearts and minds

Local authorities are trying to persuade the public to care about air quality and change their behaviour. Jack Pease sees what Sheffield is doing

Data geeks crawl over Sheffield

A series of initiatives are being held to explore how data can be used more effectively in Sheffield.

February 2015 Issue 105

Big guns seek new alliance

Lords and former ministers are backing Epuk’s hope to build a high power alliance to raise the profile of air quality. 

Diesel parking penalties in London boroughs

London Borough of Hackney drivers will have to pay an extra £50 a year for a borough parking permit – and Islington diesel owners £96.

Scotland toughens LAQM?stance

Scotland has set out the shape of air quality in coming years through a draft low emission strategy.

Disley dismissed

Air quality concerns over the A6 Disley road improvement have been dismissed in a planning inspector’s report.

Model v map

A comparison has been released of Welsh modelled concentration maps and automatic monitoring results. They were found to be “generally satisfactory”.

M&A’s dominate global market

Mergers and acquisitions have changed the face of the global consulting market, Environmental Analyst claims.

Further fiddling claims on NO2

London Assembly member Darren Johnson says the London Mayor may be fiddling air pollution statistics.

Better breathing campaign for London

The London Mayor has formally launched the Breathe Better Together campaign aimed at helping reduce exposure and encouraging lower pollution behaviours.

Fracking impacts discounted

The highly controversial Cuadrilla fracking application currently before Lancashire County Council’s planning committee will have some air quality impacts but not sufficient to recommend refusal.

....but US says impacts may add up

US researchers believe fracking could cause air quality problems.

Study fails to find cancer link

The US Health Effects Institute has completed a study which failed to link diesel exhaust and cancer.

Common ‘smog index’

The European Commission has asked Ricardo-AEA to produce a EU-standardised air quality index.

Low emission grant

Public sector organisations have been given guidance on how they can bid for £5m of money for ultra low emission vehicles. Guidance from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles is intended for public sector fleets to bid for funding to pay for low emission fleet reviews.

Don’t just  blame the foreigners

Cold, calm, murky conditions allowed the build up of local emissions in London over Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th January – with only ourselves to blame.

Clean Air Act changes

A number of changes have been made to the Clean Air Act. Changed regulations cover dark smoke, chimney heights, arrestment plant and furnace types.

UK dirty man of Europe?

The European Environment Bureau has produced ‘infographics’ for a handful of European countries.

Aether Olé

Aether, the air emissions specialist consultancy, has opened a new office in Madrid. This represents Aether’s first permanent base outside the UK.

Mitigation position

The Institute of Air Quality Management has issued a ‘position statement’ on mitigation of air quality impacts.

Benzene monitored

Ion Science has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first continuous benzene specific monitor.

Geofencing for hybrid Bristol buses

Geofencing will be used to switch off engines on hybrid buses in polluted areas of Bristol.

New transport toolkit

A new toolkit outlining measures that can be taken to tackle transport-related air pollution in the UK’s city regions has been created by consultants Transport & Travel Research Ltd (TTR) in partnership with TRL.

Natural capital

Air quality is one of the areas of the environment at risk from continued industrial growth, says the Natural Capital Committee – an independent advisory body set up to advise the Government.

Scotland sets out ambitious LES

Scotland is consulting on a low emission strategy which puts England to shame. Jack Pease reports

Bad reaction to LAQM plans

Some respondents have already released their responses to the LAQM consultation. Defra reassurances on monitoring are not being heard, finds Jack Pease

January 2015 Issue 104

LAQM review sees monitoring slashed

A new consultation on the future of LAQM expects local NO2 monitoring to drop by three quarters.

SupportingU collapse leaves £0.5m shortfall

Monitor maintenance firm SupportingU has now officially gone into administration with a £436,000 shortfall. The firm announced it was in trouble last month (AQB December p1).

Roads planning takes on targets

Air quality appears once again to be included in strategic planning for new roads.

Mergers abound

The end of 2014 saw yet another consultant merge.

Amec has merged with Foster Wheeler to become Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure UK ltd. Meanwhile design and engineering consultancy Ramboll has bought Environ.

Earlier in the year consulting giants Aecom and URS merged. Both have active air quality businesses in the UK.

WSP has bought Parsons Brinckerhoff – again, both were active in UK air quality.

Dutch consultant Arcadis also merged with Hyder Consulting.

Croydon electric bus

The two battery electric Optare MetroCity buses are now in service in South

NI highs

Very high levels of air particles were monitored overnight on the 29th December 2014 in Newry, Northern Ireland.

News from IAQM Dispersion modellers user group meeting

Little agreement between firms

Arup consultant Michael Bull has compared various consultants’ estimates of pollution impacts of new development in Essex.

Microsimulation influences local action

Microsimulation of traffic can be a useful tool for seeing where emissions are worst – and where to focus action.

Open source models save time

An urban area twice the size of London has been modelled with free software in just ten minutes of computing time. Such a model can sometimes take days to run.

Beevers: the future is hybrid

Exposure modelling will in future move to incorporate personal exposure to better reflect health impacts.

Emission factors: what changed with v6

Bureau Veritas’ Yvonne Brown explained to the DMUG conference audience the differences between the latest version of the emission factors toolkit (v6) and the previous v5.2.

Directive weakened

EU air quality directives are set to be retained. There had been fears that the newly-re-negotiated air quality package (AQB December p3) could be abolished altogether.

Epuk Alliance

Environment Protection UK is continuing with plans to set up a new lobbying group.

Roads advice

Air Quality Consultants Ltd is part of the team assembled by WSP and Parson Brinckerhoff  (WSP/PB) that has been appointed to a Highways Agency (HA) framework contract to deliver its road investment programme.

iapsc conference held in Birmingham last mont

Mudway: twice the impact

King’s College London’s Ian Mudway explained the WHO Revihaap findings to the Iapsc audience.

Particle mass or number for vehicles?

Should we use particle mass or particle number for on board testing of vehicles?, asked Ricardo’s John Andersson at Iapsc.

More results from real world tests

More details have emerged from real world testing of vehicles.

New buses help Putney High Street hotspot

TfL’s policy of targeting new buses on pollution hotspots appears to be having some success.

Boiler standards underestimate emissions

A study carried out for Decc suggests small biomass boilers are not as clean as they should be.

Ultra low city cash for LEZs

Between two and four UK cities will share £35m ultra low emission cash which can be used for low emission zones. Bids for Go ultra low city grants will be administered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles.

Car industry argues for tougher ULEZ limits

UK car makers have argued for tougher ultra low emission standards in London – in particular that standards apply equally to petrol as for diesel.

Green screen benefits claimed

Monitoring of pollutants near a playground suggests a green screen may be reducing pollution.

Taxi help

The London Mayor claims he intends to take action to improve air quality on the capital’s roads by funding a scheme to help black cab drivers affected by a ten year age limit proposed for their vehicles, and that he will deliver another 2,400 hybrid buses in London by 2020.

Barrier modelled

Solid noise barriers have been modelled to see their effect on air pollution.

NO2 plummets at official sites

Air Quality Bulletin’s rough and ready yardstick indicator for 2014 suggests pollution will appear to have halved.

2015 limits breached

Analysis from Clean Air in London shows Oxford Street has breached the NO2 hourly limit value for the whole of 2015 four days into January. Putney High Street was expected to breach on 5th January. Brixton Road was expected to breach soon after.

Firework night warning

Analysis of PM10 concentrations last November show dramatic exceedences, claim AQDM’s Geoff Broughton. Broughton analysed the last bonfire night for AQB pointing out that official metrics may underestimate the impact.

Ecodriving app

A smartphone app has been launched aimed at encouraging ecodriving to cut vehicle emissions.

Pollutants drop

All pollutant emissions dropped according to the latest (2013) statistics listing key polluting emissions.

Planning guidance proposed

New planning guidance has been proposed by Environmental Protection UK and the Institute of Air Quality Management.

£1m shared across councils

T wenty four local authorities in England share £1m of air quality grant for the current (2014/15) financial year.

Damage costs of big factories unpicked

Air pollution damage from industry has been dissected by the European Environment Agency.

Planning  key to action

MPs suggest planning is a key to improving air quality in their latest report

December 2014 Issue 103

Gary Mahoney

Sefton’s Gary Mahoney has died unexpectedly from a heart attack. Mahoney, aged 56, was a friendly and well known face in the air quality community not least because of his role in the Low Emission Strategies group for which he was a deputy chair, and present-ations at conferences.

Government loses EU?fight

Environmental law specialist Clientearth has won another stage of its battle to obtain an order requiring the Government to do more on air quality.

SupportingU goes into liquidation

Monitor support company SupportingU has called in the liquidator.

LEZ action ‘complete’

The Government considers it has completed its work on a national framework of low emission zones.

School streets

Edinburgh is trialling street closures near schools as means of improving the local environment and encouraging walking and cycling.

Fife stars

Fife has launched a new green recognition scheme aiming to tackle air pollution from transport.

Body call

Another grouping has called for a body to deal with air pollution following on from a similar call from Epuk (AQB?November p6).

Four boroughs demand ULEZ extension

Four London boroughs have written to the London Mayor demanding that the planned ultra low emission zone be extended to their boroughs to increase its effectiveness.

Official launch for AirSensa

There has been an official launch of the AirSensa project which aims to install 10,000 air quality sensors across London (AQB November p3).

Regulation plea from IAQM

Regulation has been behind historical improvements in air quality and is needed to secure further improvements, claims Institute of Air Quality Management chairman Roger Barrowcliffe at the group’s recent AGM held in London.

Juncker plea

Environmental groups are lobbying European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to rethink suggestions that the air quality directive could be abandoned (AQB October p3).

Funeral protest

Thousands of cyclists staged a ‘die in’ to protest at health impacts of traffic pollution in central London.

Breathe campaign

The European Respiratory Society is launching its Healthy Lungs for Life campaign with a theme for 2014 on Breathe clean air.

Homes refused due to motorway pollution

A housing estate has been refused planning permission on noise grounds – however air pollution from a nearby motorway was highlighted as a concern.

Dust fears sink quarry plans

Dust was at the centre of an appeal to extend sand and gravel operations at Broad Green Quarry near Hertford.

Rushed probe for post-tail pipe clean up

DfT will hand out £300,000 in grants to fund experiments to cut ambient NOX.

Lords unveils LEZ progress (or lack of)

At a recent Lords question time, Baroness Parminter asked: “Many local authorities are starting to introduce low emission zones. If they are led locally, these will have different criteria and be introduced at different times. What is the Government doing to ensure an effective network of low-emission zones, right around the country?”

Clean air probe

Defra has run a short consultation on changes to the Clean Air Act and its associated regulations as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge. The review aims to reduce burdens on business and modernise the legislation to make it “more relevant” to current air quality challenges

Indoor emissions

The World Health Organisation has introduced indoor air quality targets for stoves and heaters.

Walking boost

A national scheme will reward English schools that encourage children to walk and cycle to school.

Assembly commence diesel probe

The London Assembly is midway through a probe into diesels and consequent pollution health effects.

Johnson rebuts claims of Kings’ threats

Meanwhile London mayor Boris Johnson has sharply rejected claims that he threatened Kings College London over claims about pollution in London’s Oxford Street.

QCumber opens up pollution data

David Carruthers of modelling firm Cerc told October’s Epuk conference about his firm’s involvement in the European QCumber initiative.

Mercury method proposed by metals network

Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (UK) and mainland Europe have proposed a mercury measurement standard.

Europe round up

The new 2014 European annual air quality report presents an overview and analysis of air quality in Europe from 2003 to 2012, as well as estimates of urban population and ecosystem exposure to air pollution.

Air e-petition

An e-petition has gained over 500 signatories demanding a public inquiry into air pollution deaths.

York gets serious with plan

Modal shift doesn’t work, says York as it plans a tough Clean Air Zone to come into operation by 2018 – two years before London

Hard to prove text is best

King’s College research struggles to prove the financial benefits of the Sussexair air quality health warning system

Airports Commission guesses airport impacts at Heathrow and Gatwick

What is claimed to be a detailed analysis of airport proposals contains a vague guess at air quality impacts. Jack Pease reports

November 2014 Issue 102

ULEZ plans spelled out

London Mayor Boris Johnson has set out the proposed shape of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) for London.

Lutz warns Bristol of Euro 6 promises

Berlin’s head of air quality Martin Lutz has warned that policymakers cannot assume that Euro 6 will rescue cities from poor air quality.

UK cleaner?

A UK report to Europe suggests further “directive” improvements in air quality.

Mayor misleads committee, claims Birkett

Air quality campaigner Simon Birkett is claiming London Mayor Boris Johnson misled the Environmental Audit Committee which is currently scrutinising air quality (see p8).

Guidance aims to cut waste fire scourge

New guidance for waste and recycling sites has been issued by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum to provide site operators with the information and standards they need to reduce fire risk.

Waste planning

Detailed planning practice guidance for waste in England has been revised replacing PPS10.

Electric boost

Between July and September 2014, over 5,000 electric car grants were provided, more than double the number than in the previous three months and almost a third of all grants since the scheme was launched in 2010. There are now over 17,000 (£5,000) grant-funded ultra low emission vehicles on the UK’s roads.

Ireland review

Consultant Aether has been commissioned by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency to provide a comprehensive review of its national air quality and greenhouse gas projections.

£500,000 Sussex habitats probe

Habitats constraints have prompted Wealden Council in Sussex to commission a £500,000 study into nitrogen deposition.

£1m donation helps fund 500 London sensors

The Change London group has announced it will fund 500 low cost air quality sensors.

Fracking fine

A US study suggests fracking leads to minimal air quality impacts.

Grossinho goes

Ana Grossinho has left consultant WSP to start an MBA at the London Business School. She is also working as an independent consultant.

Dusty Ben

Ben Williams has joined the Air Quality Management Resource Centre at UWE Bristol as a Research Associate.He was previously with Dustscan.

Cerc updates

Model maker Cerc has announced

Text warnings hard to justify

An attempt to quantify the benefits of the Airalert air pollution warning system in Sussex has struggled due to a small sample size.

Small engines may not deliver benefits

Smaller engines could worsen emissions, Emission Analytics warns.

BBC sting uncovers rampant DPF removal

AQB recently Googled DPF removal and Stoke when following up the news that BBC local radio researchers had mounted a sting on local garages to see whether they would illegally remove a diesel particle filter.

Flexibility fears

A grouping of European environment NGOs say that flexibility could weaken plans to cut emissions.

Consultancy growth

The latest report from business intelligence and market research firm Environment Analyst finds that the UK environmental consultancy sector expanded by 5.2% in 2013.

Court action: what next?

Environmental lawyer Alan Andrews of Clientearth told the Sheffield audience of progress on the ongoing court action against the UK Government.

Sheffield councillor defends Ikea decision

Local air quality activists gathered in Sheffield quizzed councillor Jack Scott on the council’s record on air quality.

Mudway: LEZ made little difference to NO2

King’s College London medic Ian Mudway told the Sheffield conference that the London LEZ had made no significant difference to NO2 due to the failure of emission standards.

Commission reports

Smoking in public parks should be banned, the London Health Commission says. It also says more should be done on ambient air pollution.

Student win

Recipient of the £500 EPUK 2014 student prize is Celine Bouvet for her paper entitled Assessing temporal and spatial variations of PM2.5 concentrations in Edinburgh in relation to air quality limit values for the protection of human health.

Betty is back

Former Environment Agency air quality monitoring boss Betty Ng is joining Ricardo-AEA as a managing consultant in its air quality and environment team.

Euro 6 fears outlined

As Euro 6 vehicle trickle onto the roads, early signs are that new vehicles are much cleaner but still don’t meet standards in real life driving conditions.

Call for new body for air lobbying

Environmental Protection UK is seeking a new “national alliance” to work towards cleaner air in Britain. It roped in heavyweights such as vice president Lord Hunt and succeeded in having a letter published in The Times.

Big politics fears

Former environment secretary Lord Deben – John Gummer – has criticised Coalition policy on air quality and planning.

Odour expert dies

Odour expert Victoria Henshaw has died from cancer aged 43.

Report confirms Euro 6 fears

A meta analysis of Euro 6 cars says that cars are cleaner – but still not as clean as claimed

Ministers’ turn to face grilling

Government ministers put in a dismal performance defending their record on air quality to theEnvironmental Audit Committee.

October 2014 Issue 101

Plea for diesel scrappage grants

London Mayor Boris Johnson has demanded scrappage grants to get rid of dirty diesels in London.

Aarhus plea rejected at dusty site

A resident has been refused a protective costs order to enable a court action against dust nuisance for an opencast coal mine in Wales.

Dirty denial

The London Mayor has published a study he commissioned in a bid to counter suggestions that London is particularly dirty.

Awards: 14th year

The Corporation of London’s Sustainable City Awards are back for their 14th year.

Vertical pollution profile probed

Researchers are investigating how exposure varies with building heights up to hundreds of feet tall.

Environment diluted in Europe

DG Environment is being amalgamated with other departments as part of the Juncker review of European governance.

2012 inventory shows some increases

Some increases can be seen in the latest pollutant inventory released for the UK.

Bad air in UK

High levels of particle pollution were measured in Northern Ireland last month.

Public health frozen

Public health budgets have remained the same for 2015/16 representing a real terms cut.

Volcanic signal

The Irish EPA has detected signals of an impact on air quality from the Bardarbunga Volcano.

‘Red card’ for pollution failure

The Government has been judged on its environmental record and been given a ‘red card’ on three out of ten issues – air pollution, flooding and biodiversity. The rest get amber (unsatisfactory).

Labour restates claims

Labour shadow environment secretary told last month’s Labour party conference of plans to tackle air pollution.

Speakers boosted

Epuk has boosted topics at its forthcoming conference to be held in Aston on the 16th October.

ADMS update

A new ADMS update reflects two new versions of Defra's Emission Factor Toolkit released this summer.

WHO honoured

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been awarded the annual European Lung Foundation award for improving the lung health of millions of people by providing outdoor air quality guidelines.

Welsh urged to get grants

Welsh local authorities have been urged to put forward air quality projects for funding.

Fracking: Should we be worried?

Andrew Kibble of Public Health England outlined possible air quality impacts of fracking to councils attending the Welsh Air Quality Forum meeting last month.

Benefits of roads growth questioned

A study questioning the pollution-busting potential of new roads has been published.

Fire engine fitted

A grant of £500,000 from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Cleaner Vehicle Technology Fund will also enable a London fire engine to be retrofitted for the first time, extending technology proven on London’s buses to the London Fire Brigade.

Travel award

The Institute of Air Quality Management is seeking entries for the 2014 Ian McCrae Award from “early career” air quality professionals.

Smartphone monitor

The AirProbe and Widenoise apps, developed by an EU-funded research project called EVERYAWARE, has made air and noise monitoring possible from a smartphone.

IAQM to tackle mineral dust

IAQM takes on yet another project to create guidance – this time on mineral dust

Horn Lane provides case study for regulators

Environment Agency regulator Chris Lowe used the well known ‘dust’ flashpoint of Horn Lane in West London to illustrate the problem of mineral and waste sites.

Boris pinned down by MPs

Under attack, unable to rely on his faithful lieutenants and on the back foot, London Mayor Boris Johnson did his best to defend is record on air quality Jack Pease reviews and comments on what was said

MPs here about life outside of London: not rosy

MPs were keen to hear from the regions and Sheffield councillor Jack Scott, gave his evidence. “I suppose for me the key message around public engagement is really important but, more broadly I don’t feel that technology alone will get us out of this issue,” he told MPs.

WMO highlights CO2 concentration surge

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013 – mainly made up of CO2, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

West Mids guide

The West Midlands LETCP has now finalised and published its Good Practice Procurement Guidance, which is available

Big popular hybrid

A large pick up is now the UK’s “most popular” plug in hybrid.

Green wall for London school

St Cuthbert with St Matthias School in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has held a special assembly to celebrate the installation of a living green screen, made up of ivy, clematis, jasmine and lonicera.

September 2014 issue 101

Speed limit for A556 upgrade

The transport secretary has given the go ahead for a road improvement with a speed limit justified on air quality grounds

SPG to cut construction emissions

The GLA has agreed special planning guidance to control construction dust and machinery emissions – including both PM10 and NOX through a “low emission zone for non-road mobile machinery”.

Local costing

Air Quality Consultants has costed the impact of air pollution in the Bristol City Council area. Locally-derived traffic pollution kills more than twice as many as road traffic collisions.

Labour pledges action

The shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle has pledged more action on air quality if Labour wins power at the next General Election.

Diesel train problem overblown?

King’s College London researchers have released research which suggests that the impact of diesel-hauled trains has been overstated. Actual measurements failed to pick up predicted modelled exceedences.

EAC Boris plea

London Mayor Boris Johnson has tabled written evidence to MPs justifying his record on air quality.

SO2 comes...

Cuts at Cheshire West and Chester Council threatened the existence of an active air pollution forum countering public fears about chemical industries at Ellesmere Port. Personal budgets from local councillors have been raided to keep the forum going.

... and SO2 goes

Dover District Council is lifting the air quality management area at the Eastern Docks called due to sulphur dioxide from Channel ferries using the Port of Dover.

PDR extended to more commercial premises

Permitted development rights are to be extended still further.

More BAM choice

More BAM particle monitors have been granted equivalence status.

Biomass backdown

A high level rethink on the benefits of biomass may lead to less biomass burning at a local level.

Clean Air Act responses released

Defra has released responses to its consultation on the Clean Air Act.

Hotspot modelling revealed

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett has succeeded in his bid to obtain detailed monitoring results for London’s 187 air quality hotspots.

The Sun launches ‘diesel weasel’ campaign

A diesel car campaign has been launched with an usual angle – and from an unusual source.

European policy role for UWE

AQMRC at the University of the West of England has been selected by the European Environment Agency (EEA) as single operator for three major Framework Agreements in the areas of air quality, climate change and environmental noise.

Matt’s move

SLR’s Matt Stoaling is going solo as Isopleth Ltd.l

Capita Sheng

Capita has appointed Dr Xiangyu Sheng as head of its air quality team.

Fracking risk

The Government pledge to boost fracking in areas away from national parks may lead to air quality impacts, a report suggests.

Website review 2014

Scotland's air quality website won our 'others' award - and York our local authority award

August 2014 Issue 100

Compliance dates slip

Critical dates for complying with the EU directive on NO2 have slipped, the Government has admitted.

Grant once again capped at £1m

English local authorities will be able to bid for air quality grants this year – but capped at £1m again. In the past they have been £3m but last year dropped to £1m and were massively oversubscribed.

Speed cut abandoned in haste

Politicians appear to have vetoed lower motorway anti-pollution speed limits even before results of a consultation have been finalised.

Thompson dies

Former Corporation of London air quality officer and Epuk trustee Philip Thompson has died, aged 62, following a short illness related to cancer.

Boris plans £10 diesel tax

London Mayor Boris Johnson is proposing to charge drivers of older diesel cars £20 in central London from 2020.

1,000 buses ‘clean’ – more to come

TfL has now completed retrofitting 1,000 buses and says emissions are down.

Green anti-pollution wall for London school

Transport for London (TfL) and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham have launched an innovative new green wall at The Warren School, the first scheme to be delivered as part of the Mayor’s £20 million Air Quality Fund.

Paterson out

Environment secretary Owen Paterson has left and been replaced by Liz Truss.Truss is a former management accountant and former education minister.

Electric grants

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles has set out criteria for funding plug-in car grants favoured by many local authorities in their action plans.

Back in court for Clientearth

Environment law firm Clientearth is back in the Court of Justice of the European Union seeking clarification of what the UK Government should be doing about NO2 exceedences.

Complaint paved way for UK infraction

A European Commission lawyer has said that citizen complaints about air quality are a critical factor in infringement proceedings. It appears the persistent complaints by environmental lawyer Clientearth were instrumental in the UK being the first to be infracted for excess NO2.

New buses cut Putney pollution

Targeted renewal of buses in the polluted Putney High Street has cut concentrations, a report suggests.

AQMesh & NO2

In our article on Air Monitors’ AQMesh last month, we suggested the monitor does not directly monitor NO2.

Abstracts sought

Abstracts are invited for this December’s popular AAMG monitoring meeting.

AQ champions

Twelve businesses and organisations operating in London’s Victoria district are being recognised for their air quality efforts.

Flow is key to bus emissions

Air quality features in £2.5m barrier trial

Duffy takes AQMesh for a ride

Singer-songwriter Duffy rode a bicycle equipped with AQMesh monitoring equipment at a recent Cleaner Air Bike Ride in Camden. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was also at the event.

Mobile monitors for Leicester electric cars

University of Leicester scientists are to monitor city pollution levels using air quality sensors in electric vehicles.

New Dr Barnes

University of the West of England academic and consultant Jo Barnes (pictured) has successfully completed her PhD.

Heathrow justifies third runway

Jack Pease visits Heathrow to see why it believes air quality won’t be a showstopper for the third runway – and what problems the airport faces in cutting emissions

Highways Agency bares its soul

The Highways Agency usually keeps a low profile but welcomed IAQM members up to its Manchester base to explain about air quality

July 2014 Issue 99

Work together – or else. Defra

Defra is beginning to get tough with non-unitary districts that cite difficulties with county council transport authorities.

Clientearth takes aim at councils and Govt

Legal activist Clientearth has sent a letter warning Sheffield City Council that a new Ikea store could be illegal.

Costa can (based on 0.2µg NO2 tube gap)

Costa can serve coffee on a Henley café pavement. It had been told that because of high hourly NO2 levels it couldn’t (AQB January p1).

News from the Iapsc conference in London last month

New roads may not improve air

Gary Fuller of Kings College London told the Iapsc conference held in London last month that road widening and the supposed reduction in congestion might not improve air quality.

Passing mention for air in research strategy

Defra has released its strategy for research. Air quality is barely mentioned.

Scotland keeps air high on the agenda

By contrast to England, Scottish decision makers still appear to prioritise air quality as an environmental problem.

Mixed success from Cambridge

Cambridge City Council’s Jo Dicks reported back to Iapsc on the results of work in the city to cut emissions.

Defra eats humble pie over consultation

Defra’s Sean O’Byrne admitted that last year’s consultation on air quality could have been better handled.

Stacey restates indicative monitor fears

Ricardo-AEA monitoring guru Brian Stacey has restated his fears on difficulties with indicative monitors.

Joint Defra/DfT guide for councils imminent

Defra has worked with DfT to commission Ricardo-AEA to produce guidance on what local authorities can do about air quality.

Planning guidance for W. Mids

West Midlands authorities have agreed special guidance on air quality as part of its joint low emission strategy programme.

Cargo bike idea

The CycleLogistics project says new cargo bikes could cut journeys by polluting vans.

Member states start sniping at EU strategy

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) says it is deeply concerned about the lack of commitment in fighting air pollution shown by several national ministers at a recent Environment Council in Luxembourg.

Breathe Scotland

Environmental Protection Scotland has launched its Breathe Scotland cleaner air initiative.

Dual fuel halved

A trial of dual fuel trucks suggests that to date, less than half of mileage is carried out with diesel being replaced by gas.

Diesels feature in RAC report

Ricardo-AEA has compiled a report on air quality for the influential RAC Foundation. The Foundation says diesel is the ‘main culprit’.

Permitting activity drops in 2013

The latest survey of local authority permitting suggests a continued drop in the number of permits.

Hydrogen hybrid vans work in London

A fleet of hydrogen-hybrid delivery vans have been deployed as part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) consortium project.

Car makers manipulate test results

Car makers have been accused of manipulating results that suggest new cars emit 4% less CO2. Failure of new vehicles to deliver real world emissions savings as promised by emission standards has led to air pollution failing to fall as predicted.

21st birthday

The Environmental Research Group at Kings College London celebrated its 21st birthday with a two day conference last month.

Elliott introduces ‘omics’

Small Area Health Statistics Unit boss Paul Elliott told the conference that new mass population sampling techniques and ‘meet in the middle’ research could open up new research possibilities. (Editor’s comment: Elliott used a lot of fancy words and which we try to paraphrase!).

Recent pollution episode misunderstood

Several speakers at the ERG conference made reference to the fixation of the media on Saharan dust for the recent pollution event (AQB April p1).

Smog, not health effects, drove US action

Dan Costa of the US Environmental Protection Agency told the Kings College London conference of key differences between UK and US air quality policy development.

EU justification

Markus Amann is part of Austrian body IIASA and sits on many high level European air pollution policy bodies. He put up a defence of the latest EU air quality package that many have criticised for being unambitious (AQB January p4).

Oxford St. NO2 ‘world’s highest’

Kings College London’s David Carslaw says that London’s Oxford Street could have the “highest NO2 concentrations in the world”.

Diesel to blame for European air issues

Eckard Helmers of Trier University in Germany was roundly critical of Europe’s drift into favouring diesel over petrol for passenger cars.

Toxicology progress

Flemming Cassee from the RIVM in The Netherlands provided a toxicological viewpoint.

2012 EU data in

Detailed industrial pollution data has been published, covering around 31,500

Port Talbot clean?

Natural Resources Wales says Tata has cut emissions from its Port Talbot steelworks enough to satisfy permit conditions.

£5m for councils

Councils can bid up to £500,000 each for part of a £5m DfT pot for clean vehicles.

Air cuts emissions

A zero-emission refrigerated trailer is due to start tests this summer conducted by a consortium of the Dearman Engine Company, Air Products, the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) and Loughborough University.

Highways Agency Bill

Government has tabled the Infrastructure Bill which includes plans to turn the Highways Agency into a separate government company.

Electric help

A new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) on the take-up of electric vehicles looked at the relationship between incentives and take-up in eight European countries plus China, Japan and the US.

MPs’ probe: Lambasting inevitable

Yet another scrutiny of air quality by MPs. Previous criticisms have been ignored, will this one be any different?

Helpdesk updates

The local air quality management helpdesk, run for Defra and the devolved regions, has issued a number of updates to advice.

Electric top up

Top up funding has been announced for encouraging electric vehicles.

Student competition

Environmental Protection UK?is holding a student prize competition with £500 on offer for a winning paper on noise, air pollution or land

UN action on air

Air pollution was a chosen as an action topic at the inaugural UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) held in Nairobi.

June 2014 Issue 98

Fines warning for councils

Defra has written to English local authorities warning them what they can expect if the UK is infracted by Europe for poor air quality.

Mayor demands money from Government

Freedom of Information requests reveal that London Mayor Boris Johnson is demanding more than £150m to tackle air quality in London.

Labour: ‘race to the bottom’ claim

Shadow environment minister Barry Gardiner has criticised Government action air quality.

Neutrality makes it into SPG

The GLA has finalised special policy guidance which includes the concept of air quality neutral for new developments.

WHO brings together world city stats

The World Health Organisation claims that only 12% of people living in cities breathe air that complies with WHO air quality guidelines.

Banners for street posters

East Dunbartonshire Council has held a banner competition as part of its profile-raising plan for its Bearsden air quality management area. The council is using funding from the Scottish Government air quality fund.

Inner orbital

A new inner orbital motorway is mooted in plans for London’s roads.

More diesel tax

Air pollution is costing advanced economies plus China and India an estimated £2 trillion a year in premature deaths and ill health, a new OECD report says.

Ultra-LEZ details emerge

GLA air quality specialist Elliott Treharne has outlined how an ultra low emission zone for London may look.

Andrews sets out court action

Clientearth lawyer Alan Andrews set out progress on legal action currently rumbling on against the UK government.

How to use the law to force action

Environmental law firm Clientearth has produced a guide to using EU laws on air quality.

Go west

The Air Quality Management Resource Centre at UWE, Bristol needs a research associate in air quality and carbon management.

Transport and health

On the anniversary of the transfer of responsibility for public health to local government, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has published a new report highlighting the importance of transport policy in delivering safety, sustainability and health objectives.

Glasgow strategy found lacking

Environment Protection Scotland has criticised Glasgow City Council plans for transport.

Nitrogen dioxide pollution as art?

Nitrogen dioxide pollution from an Edinburgh street has been the inspiration for an art exhibit at Scotland’s Centre for Carbon Innovation.

Dual fuels next in line for real world probe

Vehicle emission consultant Emissions Analytics has begun the real-world assessment of dual-fuel commercial vehicle emissions.

Margam burner

Natural Resources Wales is inviting comment on an application from Margam Green Energy Limited for an environmental permit to operate a waste wood incinerator in Margam, Neath Port Talbot.

US air poor

Nearly half of all Americans – more than 147 million – live in counties in the U.S. where ozone or particle pollutions levels make the air unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014 report.

WebTAG updated

WebTAG assessment modules have been updated.

Electric van

Nissan has announced pricing for its new battery electric van.

Horn Lane refusal: a first?

The Environment Agency has turned down a standard permit for a waste firm – believed to be the first time on air quality grounds.

Report details UK emission changes

A new report unpicks thinking behind UK emission inventory calculations.

Air cleansing poem launched in Sheffield

The University of Sheffield has erected a large advertising hoarding with a NOX-eating coating carrying a poem on air pollution. The poster is claimed to remove the equivalent of 20 cars-worth of NOX every day.

Thomas goes solo

Bob Thomas has left Bristol-based Air Quality Consultants ltd to go solo and concentrate on air quality assessments.

Inquiry demand

Air pollution campaign groups have joined together to demand a public inquiry into air quality.

Regulation approach

The Environment Agency has set out its thinking on regulation.

Paris odd/even ban assessed

Paris air quality monitoring body Airparif has released preliminary monitoring results for the recent extreme smog episode. In March the city put in place an odd/even number plate ban to cut traffic levels (AQB April p6).

Mayor persuaded to attend MP scrutiny

London Mayor Boris Johnson has agreed to be grilled by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee as it probes air quality.

Citizens log 150 sites

Citizen monitoring is claimed to reveal pollution levels more than twice EU limits in south east London.

Scotland spends more on air than England

A Scottish Parliamentary answer suggests that Scotland gives more money to local authorities for air quality than Westminster hands to English authorities.

N. Ireland reform

From April 2015 local councils in Northern Ireland will be reduced from 26 to 11 under a programme of reform. This month the new councils are working in shadow form.

Odour adverts: a new nuisance?

The IAQM conference on odour held last month heard how smells could be deliberately introduced into the environment.

Odour guide finalised to aid planning

Chairman of the IAQM odour guidance working group Michael Bull said he was ‘pleased and relieved’ guidance is now finalised.

Dust forecasting

The UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, has commissioned Fugro and the University of Leeds to research the timing, severity and duration of meteorological processes in the North Africa region, where dust can cause problems for oil and gas production and personnel.

Health check

A website has been launched to encourage the public to check air quality levels online.

Airport proposals set out

Are the air quality impacts of airport proposals quite as benign as suggested? asks Jack Pease

May 2014 Issue 97

Air quality unlocks ULEV funds

Urban areas can now bid for ultra low emission status and share £35m of DfT funding.

Wood burning trumps LEZ particle saving

Particle pollution from lifestyle wood burning in London far exceeds PM10 saved by the low emission zone, Kings College London researchers suggest.

Who dies where

The number of deaths in UK local authorities that can be attributed to long term exposure to fine particle air pollution have been published by Public Health England.

Airtext v Defra

Software developer Cerc says that the Met Office air quality forecasts prepared for Defra overestimated the recent air quality smog event (AQB April p1).

Dust ‘grossly exaggerated’

Clientearth air quality lawyer Alan Andrews has argued that the recent smog event has been over-hyped as a Saharan dust episode.

Fracking prospectors given free reign

Exploration for onshore gas (essentially fracking) will be exempted from the need to obtain IPPC permits.

Shipping backtrack

Plans to oblige shipowners to report NOx and other polluting emissions alongside CO2 emissions have been thrown out.

NPPF under scrutiny

MPs are to investigate the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework in its first two years of operation.

Strategic review for regulation

Government has published its terms of reference for the strategic long term review of environmental legislation.

Duty cuts applauded by Treasury

Fuel duty cuts are very successful, the Treasury claims – based on modelling which excludes ‘externalities’ such as pollution.

Supporting U launches data website

SupportingU has launched a new air quality data website in a bid to display complex data in an easy-to-understand way.

Charges revealed

Environment Agency permitting charges for 2014/15 have been released.

Pong is ‘safe’

The Biffa landfill site in Redhill, Surrey, has attracted a large number of odour complaints over the recent months of wet weather.

Puff released

Cerc has released ADMS-Puff.

2013 stats suggest no change

2013 was broadly the same as 2012 in air pollution terms – a relatively clean year – ratified statistics suggest.

Ward level stats released

The Small Area Health Statistics Unit (Sahsu) has produced an online interactive map that allows researchers to compare air pollution with various health outcomes down to ward level.

Mid April smog

Londonair has reported a particle pollution episode on 20th & 21st April. An influx of particulate pollution from mainland Europe resulted in widespread moderate readings.

IPCC report

The IPCC has produced its Fifth Assessment Report which considers the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation.

Comparison stretches monitors

Speaking at last month’s Scottish air quality meeting held in Glasgow (AQB April p6), Ricardo-AEA monitoring expert Brian Stacey outlined early results from tests of non-reference particle monitors.

Dusty direction for Enviro Technology

Monitor firm Enviro Technology has launched a new CDM monitor specifically aimed at construction dust. The construction industry is a new market sector for ET.


Air quality specialist Gary Wilson has left consultant SKM to join SLR Consulting at its Shrewsbury Office.

BGI sold

US instrument firm BGI Instruments has been sold to Mesa Labs for $10m.

Biomass approval

Three biomass plants are among eight renewable electricity projects given the go ahead by the Government.

Micro LEZs: we have the technology

Storrington in West Sussex is a one-horse town with a nitrogen dioxide problem – it is trying to do something about it through a low emission zone

PM2.5 death toll goes local

For the first time local estimates are made on the number of air pollution deaths at a local level. Jack Pease mulls over the impact

April 2014 Issue 96

Smog reawakens interest in air quality

A succession of pollution events have occurred in March. The middle of last month saw high pollution events spilling over from Europe but late in the month widespread soiling of cars from Saharan dust ensured that pollution dominated news bulletins into early April.

Forecaster change

Defra is now using the Met Office rather than Ricardo- AEA to produce five day air quality forecasts.

Practice guidance unchanged

There have been few changes to planning guidance. DCLG consulted on the streamlined wording drawing concerns that the simplification would lead to fewer environmental safeguards (AQB September 2013 p1).

£400,000 bung despite imperceptible impacts

Ikea is proposing to spend £400,000 mitigating air quality impacts despite predictions that a new Sheffield store will have ‘imperceptible’ air quality impacts.

Sussex sets out action

Green MP Caroline Lucas opened the 2014 Sussexair conference held in Brighton last week. She said: “All these people are dying from air pollution and somehow people think it is inevitable but it should ring alarm bells.

Taxi drivers reach agreement with CAL

Taxi’s – long considered a major culprit in the war against air pollution – have linked up with campaign group Clean Air in London.

City firms support clean air

The City of London Corporation, which runs the Cityair scheme, is helping 18 firms to introduce more forward-thinking measures to improve London’s air quality. A Cityair event was hosted by Nomura, which last month won a Clean Air award at London’s Guildhall.

7m deaths a year says WHO

The World Health Organisation says air pollution leads to seven million premature deaths a year.

Ceilings breached

Official European Environment Agency data shows that 11 EU member states breached at least one emission ceiling in 2012, compared to 10 countries in 2011.

Dust certification

Exeter based Air Quality Monitors Ltd has announced that the AQM DM11 Dust monitor has been awarded Mcerts certification.

Eire emissions rise

The Irish Environmental Protection Agency says increased coal fired electricity generation has lifted emissions of key air pollutants.

Spreadsheet ready

The National Diffusion Tube Bias Adjustment Factors Spreadsheet March 2014 update is now available.

EIA safeguards kept

Environmental bodies have welcomed a European Parliament vote on the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. A key revision strengthens EIA provisions.

AQMA website change

Defra’s AQMA website content has migrated from to uk/aqma.

Emission maps

A trio of reports explain how emission maps are compiled. Data for 2011 is explained, and catch-up reports for 2010 and 2009 have been released.

York boost

The University of York has officially opened the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories – claimed to be the first dedicated lab for atmospheric chemistry research.

Odour guidance to help planners

The Institute of Air Quality Management has launched a guide aimed at improving the handling of odour in planning.

BIDs fund air quality monitors

Business improvement districts (BIDs) are proving to be a fruitful new funding source for air quality monitors as cash-strapped councils struggle to keep funding for existing monitor stations.

Taskforce restates case for gas trucks

A Government task force has recommended use of gas for trucks in a bid to cut CO2 emissions and air pollution.

LEZ advice site now free

A site disseminating information on low emission zones across Europe has won extra funding to cover traffic regulation schemes.

Ammonia stable

Ammonia emissions from agriculture in 2012, the latest year for which data is available, were relatively stable.

Monitor rental option

Ashtead Technology has added TSI’s leading portable air quality monitors to its rental fleet.

EU deaths costed

More detail has been released on the health benefit costing used to underpin the EU revamp of the air quality package (AQB January p4).

Scotland ponders what next for air quality

Scotland has relaunched its air quality website. The relaunch was showcased in Glasgow last month as the Scottish Government outlined plans for toughening its air quality regime. It has consulted on bringing fine particle limits into local authority regulation (AQB July 2013 p1).

Holyrood devotes debate to bold air quality plans

Scottish Parliament has debated air quality representing the first political confirmation that Scotland intends to push forward with its plans to adopt a new national low emissions strategy.

Traffic bans: can they work?

Paris introduced an emergency traffic ban to curb excessive pollution. Could it – and should it – happen here, asks Jack Pease?

March 2014 Issue 95

EU starts legal action

Following years of breached air quality limits, the EU has finally commenced court action against the UK.

Sentencing guidelines target environment

Environmental offences in England and Wales are now covered by bespoke sentencing guidelines.

Birds chosen over houses

Developers have lost a tortuous legal battle centred on nitrogen deposition impacts on the sensitive Ashdown Forest area of Sussex.

Horn Lane gets affiliated

The high profile Horn Lane monitoring site in west London is to be incorporated into the official UK air quality monitoring network.

Yes to Trafford burner

The courts have rejected further challenges to the Barton incinerator in Trafford, Greater Manchester, and it is now set to go ahead.

Schools pack

North Lanarkshire Council has produced a schools pack covering air quality.

EU rap

There have been further technical legal developments on the issue of the UK’s compliance with the Aarhus Convention.

Houses rejected near steelworks

Six new houses have been rejected on a polluted site near Scunthorpe steelworks.

£5,000 fire fine

A waste disposal firm has been fined £2,500 with a similar amount in costs following prosecution by North Lincolnshire District Council.

Report ties together

EU action plans A new EU report draws together planned action across Europe to tackle air quality.

Balance of competence reviewed

The Government has concluded its consultation into the ‘balance of competence’ between local action and EU action on the local environment and climate change.

Health impacts explained by Europe group

The European Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the pan-European ESCAPE project have launched a series of information leaflets aimed at providing individuals, health professionals and heart, lung and asthma patient groups with the latest science-based guidance on how air pollution affects health in Europe, and prevention tips.

Particle protocol

A pan European protocol on modelling PM10 and PM2.5 has been proposed.

Receptor modelling

standardised European experts have come together in a bid to harmonise source apportionment – techniques to see where pollution is coming from.

Green consultancy up 6%

The latest report from business intelligence firm Environment Analyst finds that the UK environmental consultancy sector expanded by 6.1% in 2012, the latest period available, to stand at £1,334 million.

EU clarifies air quality responsibilities

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett has received clarification from the European Commission on the legal interpretation of the EU air quality directive.

TfL: ‘World’s first’ transport health plan

Transport for London says it is the first authority to produce a transport and health action plan. Alongside road safety, the plan sets out how it will tackle air quality and noise.

TfL asks the people

TfL is holding an online survey on air pollution. Incinerators endorsed Defra has updated its guide to energy from waste. A new chapter on future directions has been added giving continued encouragement to use of incineration – with safeguards.

Air mapper launch

Aerial mapping company Bluesky is launching a service to map air quality across towns and cities.

Agency bears down on speed

For years the Highways Agency has refused to do pay attention to air quality, suddenly air quality-prompted speed limits are all the rage. Jack Pease looks at the reasoning

February 2014 Issue 94

Huge grant for Southwark

The £3 billion regeneration of Elephant & Castle in Southwark has been boosted through a £200,000 grant from the London Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

Limit compliance no bar to heart attacks

Air pollution can still cause heart attacks even if levels are below limit values, a report in the British Medical Journal concludes.

John Dinsdale dies

Well known EHO John Dinsdale died last month following a sudden heart attack aged 62.

Vaughan to go

There have been a number of key personnel changes at Defra. Air quality officer Robert Vaughan moves to recycling within Defra. His replacement is understood to be Dr James Cooper, head of energy-from-waste at Defra.

Brighton agrees bus LEZ

Brighton has agreed to implement a bus low emission zone in its central area. Measured NO2 in the city centre streets has been increasing in recent years.

Future taxis must be clean says Mayor

New London taxis must be ‘zero emission capable’ from 2018, the Mayor has claimed.

Electric buses trialled in London

Transport for London is trialling pure electric buses on busy central London commuter routes.

Urban burial could help pollution

Burying the dead in tree-filled urban parks could improve air pollution, researchers claim.

Dust discussed

Last week we incorrectly attributed the IAQM’s new dust guide. The working group was in fact chaired by Claire Holman of Brook Cottage Consultants.

Scotland dirty?

Friends of the Earth Scotland has crunched data and named and shamed

Hybrid bus emissions disappoint

Low carbon vehicles have failed to deliver expected emission improvements, a Ricardo report released before Christmas suggests.

Brighton buses to reveal real world emissions

Brighton & Hove Buses, Ricardo and Horiba Instruments are working together to monitor real-world emissions of buses in the city.

Text alerting for Northern Ireland

An Air Aware text alerting service was launched in Northern Ireland before Christmas.

Red tape woes

Prime minister David Cameron’s further calls for red tape cuts has annoyed the Environmental Industries Commission.

Advice and hub from LES

The Low Emission Strategies partnership has produced a series of advice notes and a hub to pull together information on cutting transport emissions.

Clean ferry planned

Brittany Ferries has ordered the building of a giant 52,000 tonne gas-powered cruise-ferry.

Map shows national chargers

More organisations have been given grants to encourage electric vehicle use.

Hydrogen high

Air Products will introduce the first of its Smartfuel hydrogen high pressure tube trailers capable of transporting large volumes of hydrogen at high pressure to its growing network of hydrogen fuelling stations.

Death ‘segment tool’

A ‘segment tool’ has been released for areas of the England where there is a life expectancy gap. The tool can be used to analyse whether issues such as air pollution are having an impact.

Public health flawed

A report based on a survey of public health professionals working in local authorities found the majority believe health decisions are being made based on politics rather than evidence.

Tyre fire left to burn

A tyre fire in Sherburn in Elmet, near Selby, is being left to burn out.

Report compares five models for urban areas

King’s College London has led a team comparing dispersion models for Defra. A new report released before Christmas covers urban modelling, a second covers rural areas (see below).

... and report compares nine regional models

A linked second report compares regional (as opposed to urban) models.

Compost clean up

Natural Resources Wales has served a formal warning and an enforcement notice on the Bryn Composting site near Caerphilly.

EPS joins

EFCA Environmental Protection Scotland has joined the European Federation of Clean Air and Environmental Protection Associations (EFCA).

Agency action

A joint action plan has been produced for the Environment Agency and Natural England.

Cancer action

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, warns that there is an alarming increase in cancer burden.

Sensors to be installed in Enfield

Low cost sensors are being installed in Enfield as part of a plan to provide high resolution monitoring of the North London borough.

Diesel manufacturers cleared of blame?

The US-based Health Effects Institute has once again downplayed health effects from diesels.

Five day breach

The Clean Air in London Campaign says that analysis of LAQN monitoring data shows that London’s Oxford Street reported a breach of the nitrogen dioxide hourly legal limit for the whole of 2014 in the first five days.

Filter plea

A European pressure group is urging the use of filters on petrol cars. Filters are used on diesel cars but there are growing fears that modern lean-burn petrol cars that are designed to operate with diesel-like efficiency may produce diesel-like particles.

Heathrow pollution safeguards recede?

Have air quality concerns on extra capacity at Heathrow been downgraded in the latest quest to solve south east England airport capacity?

Advice given on boilers

Facilities managers cannot be expected to understand the subtleties of climate change and air pollution so a new guide has been written to help them out

HS2: ‘moderate’ impacts

The massive environmental statement for the HS2 rail line reveals some air quality impacts

January 2014 Issue 93

Scotland goes it alone on PM2.5

While Defra rethinks its plans to dismantle the LAQM system in England (see p6), Scotland is to toughen its regime and put PM2.5 into local authority regulation.

Speed controls for 32 mile section of M1

Another motorway improvement will see speed limits imposed because of poor air quality.

Agency sets out ‘national position’

In response to the storm of publicity surrounding the latest M1 announcement and last month’s M60 announcement, the Highways Agency has set out its ‘national position’ on air quality.

Costa can’t serve coffee with extra NO2

South Oxfordshire District Council has told Costa Coffee that it cannot have tables on the pavement in Henley on Thames because of air pollution.

Fracking effects

Truck traffic from fracking operations could impact local air quality, a government report suggests.

News from the IAPSC meeting held in Birmingham last month

Newcastle rejects LEZ option

Newcastle upon Tyne believes a low emission zone will not solve its air quality problems.

Defra defends LAQM ‘option 3’ stance

Iapsc delegates heard Defra defend its consultation on LAQM.

Keep monitors on, says Defra

Defra’s recommendation in its consultation on LAQM that AQMAs be abolished and reviews and assessments scaled back has raised fears that local authorities may turn off monitoring equipment.

Extra Ecostars

The Ecostars fleet recognition scheme is expanding with the launch of two more schemes in North Lanarkshire and Dundee – bringing the total number of schemes in the UK to 11 – with almost 300 members and approaching 20,000 vehicles.

Two for one from ET

ET has announced its new Teledyne API T204 NOx/ozone analyser measuring NO, NO2, NOx and ozone in a single, 19” rack mount instrument.

Nice backtracks on air advice

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) looks set to downgrade plans to provide advice on air quality.

Sheffield guns for Euro 6 LEZ

Sheffield City Council has endorsed a report calling for a Euro 6-based low emission zone – and action on private diesel cars.

Particles monitored

Detailed particle monitoring in the UK has been reported for 2012.

Farming advice

A new guide has been produced by Defra which incorporates advice to farmers to minimise odours and ammonia emissions which worsen nitrate and particle air pollution.

High pollution

A high pressure system centred over near Europe brought calm and at times foggy conditions with light south/south easterly winds bringing polluted continental air before Christmas.

New EU package proposed

The European Commission has set out its long-promised revamp of European strategy. Europe is talking up the proposals as ambitious while environmental groups say they are lacklustre.

2012 breaches noted and reported

The UK has reported the number of zones breaching EU directive thresholds for 2012.

Emission reductions stall in 2012

The yearly statistical round up of UK emissions to air reveals that emission reductions for common pollutants has stalled in 2012, the latest year for which statistics are available.

IAQM on dust

The Institute of Air Quality Management has consulted on monitoring guidance for construction and demolition sites.

Stove clampdown

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first new standards for new wood boilers in 25 years.

Ban old diesels plea

Older diesels should be banned in London through an ultra low emission zone says Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London.

MOT amended to include filters

The annual MOT roadworthiness test is to be amended to include a check to make sure diesel filters have not been removed.

AQB ‘yardstick’: 2013 much like 2012

The Air Quality Bulletin ‘yardstick’ (the green line, above) is a rough and ready measure aimed at providing a quick summary of national air pollution soon after the New Year, using unratified data some months before official indicators are produced.

UK coal bad

Figures on the harm to health in the United Kingdom associated with air pollution from coal-fired power plants have been released by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

Temple expands

The Temple Group has bought The Ecology Consultancy.

Exova expands

Exova has bought Catalyst Environmental Limited, a stack emissions testing specialist in the UK and Ireland.

Grant pegged at £1m. Just be grateful!

Local authorities have been given £1m of funding by Defra to tackle air quality.

Defra gets a drubbing

Defra has received a bloody nose over its plans to dismantle the LAQM system. A summary of responses has now been released

Focus falls on ADMS

Consultant Cerc held its annual ADMS 5 and Roads User Group meeting before Christmas. Ruth Fain, Richard Lane and Chris Willans of Golder Associates report back

o to previous headlines  pre-2013