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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 www.eea.europa.eu

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

Greenzones.eu 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

SO2 AQMA

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.
l www.nrdc.org

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.
l www.airmonitors.co.uk.

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

#NO2DirtyAir

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 uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library

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 petermfleming@outlook.com

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 http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/

Tube update

The National Diffusion Tube Bias Adjustment Factors Spreadsheet September 2015 update is now available.l http://laqm.defra.gov.uk

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. www.goultralow.com

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.

BfL

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 http://isopleth.co.uk

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 contamination.www.environmental-protection.org.uk

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.

SKM to SLR

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 http://aqma.defra.gov.uk to http://uk-air.defra.gov. 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. https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/planning/air-quality-survey 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

December 2013 Issue 92

Air sinks M60/M62 motorway expansion

Air quality has been cited as the main reason why a motorway widening scheme cannot go ahead as planned. The decision signals acceptance by the agency that it risks being challenged if it continues to ignore increased pollution due to capacity improvements.

LAQM update

Defra is ploughing through over 17,000 responses to the LAQM review consultation which recommended the dismantling of the local air quality review and assessment regime (AQB October p1).

Jail for fire

Two directors of a Swansea waste firm were jailed for six months each having pleaded guilty to permit offences.

Sulphur up due to hard winter

Serious pollution incidents have dropped but sulphur dioxide emissions rose by 19% due to increased coal burning due to cold weather, the latest Environment Agency business report notes.

PM2.5 death count rises in London

PM2.5 death statistics in London have been revised upwards by Public Health England.

Man made explanation

The DoH statistics exclude the health impact of air pollution from non-anthropogenic sources e.g. Sahara dust.

IAQM on Clean Air Act

The Institute of Air Quality Management has warned that simply removing provisions from the Clean Air Act will fail to modernise the Act. Defra is currently consulting on it as part of attempts to cut red tape.

Tubes: one in five

One in five local authorities in England use the Defra NO2 diffusion tube database.

Death qualification remains

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution says it will not simplify its advice on air quality death risk.

Speed limit “may” have an effect

The first year’s data is emerging from a continuous analyser next to the M4 in Newport in Wales. It is claimed to be the only continuous analyser remaining at the side of a motorway in the UK.

Government green economy claims questioned

Leading environmental groups came together to criticise the record of the Coalition Government – originally billed by Prime Minister David Cameron as “the Greenest Government ever”.

EU decides soon

Conclusions from the European Commission’s review of air quality legislation should be published next week, according to Aeris Europe’s Les White.

Slight data slip

AURN data capture rates slipped slightly in the latest reporting period.

Fracking may affect air quality

Public Health England has warned that fracking could worsen air quality.

Two in one for Enviro Technology

Monitoring firm Enviro Technology has announced the new Teledyne API T204 NOX / ozone analyser measuring NO, nitrogen dioxide, NOX and ozone in a single, 19” rack mount instrument.

Sepa makes the case

Air quality is the first topic in a series of ‘”making the case” themes for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

£70,000 fine for dust nuisance

A Swindon waste disposal firm has been fined £72,000 for dust offences.

ADMS updated

ADMS Roads Extra and ADMS Urban have been updated.

Composting questions remain

A report carried out for Defra suggests there remain many uncertainties on assessing emissions from composting facilities.

Plea to retain annual MOT

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett says the UK should not be supporting calls to water down annual vehicle MOT testing.

Hydrocarbons down but capture worsens

Hydrocarbons such as benzene went down in 2012 but data capture worsened, a Ricardo AEA report reveals.

Golder years

Canadian consultant Golder has celebrated 40 years in the UK. The firm carries out much air quality work.

Coldalert repeated

Coldalert, the Sussex-wide cold weather alerting service for vulnerable people will commence a second year of operation on 1st November 2013.

Mayor launches ‘official’ website

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched the capital’s “official” Cleaner Air’ website.

London app to cut personal exposure

City of London and King’s College ERG have launched a new iPhone and iPad app designed to alert users to high pollution events in London and give advice on simple actions Londoners can take to lower their emissions and their exposure in the city.

Sussex planning

Sussex authorities have consulted on air quality and emissions mitigation guidance.

Ulev probe

The Government is seeking ideas on ultra low emission vehicles.

Defra deals with Data

Defra is working hard to disseminate the data it collects. Interactive emission and concentration maps are now available

People-power to the rescue?

Austerity has knocked back enthusiasm to tackle the environment generally and air quality in particular – LSx is hoping to rekindle some action. Jack Pease reviews the worthy but possibly doomed attempts to make us care for air

November 2013 issue 91

Air knocks back housing

Air quality has featured in a High Court appeal lost by developers against the Government and a district council. The decision to refuse on air quality grounds was ‘unimpeachable’ said the judge.

Whitty opens Epuk conference

Former environment minister Lord Whitty opened Epuk’s conference last week and starkly laid out problems facing its membership.

LAQM timetable slips

The overwhelmingly large response to Defra’s review of the Local Air Quality Management regime has pushed the timetable off course, Parliament has been told.

ET & AEA in Manchester win

Enviro Technology Services has won the contract to maintain a large monitoring network covering the 2.68m residents of Greater Manchester.

Guerrilla monitoring for East End

Anti road campaigners in east London have used their own monitoring to highlight high pollution levels.

US authorities lose patience on wood

A coalition of public authorities has joined forces to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency over slack standards for wood burning stoves.

Weather effects on models

A Ricardo-AEA report has analysed how weather forecasts can be used in air quality predictions and monitoring.

Location Location

A report has analysed the legal status of the siting of monitoring stations in the UK AURN monitoring network.

Birkett demands scrapping of London Plan

London air quality campaigner Simon Birkett has criticised the London Mayor’s planning guidance for allowing lax emission standards.

Bus lane removal prompts formal complaint

Clean Air in London (CAL) has released details of his formal three-part complaint with the European Commission over the revocation of the M4 bus lane (AQB June p5) in west London.

Permit freeze

Permit fees for smaller local authority-regulated industrial processes will be frozen again, a consultation proposes.

Ally silence

A protester has criticised Defra for failing to respond to calls to monitor aluminium in the air.

Consultant hits 20yr milestone

Air Quality Consultants – the largest specialist air quality consultant in the UK – has celebrated 20 years in business.

All electric car club for Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets is hosting the country’s first fully electric car club.

Valuation compared

A study has compared valuation techniques for natural methods of improving the environment, including street pollution.

Exam probe

Michael Ryan, an active campaigner against incinerators, has asked the Government whether it has considered the impact of industrial pollution on exam results.

UK is clean. Official.

The UK has reported to the European Commission that it is clean – in PM terms at least.

European warning on nitrogen pollution

A European Commission report focuses on the environmental (rather than health) impacts of excess nitrogen, including ammonia and nitrogen emissions.

New station

Amidst waves of closures of monitoring sites, Leicester University has been able to open a new AURN site.

Emissions guidebook

A new 2013 version of the EMEP/EEA air pollutant emission inventory guidebook has been published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

EU together

Over 2000 European towns and cities joined in the 12th edition of European Mobility Week.

European air quality still poor

Air quality across Europe remains poor, the European Environment Agency claims.

UK factsheet

The European Environment Agency has prepared country by country factsheets on air quality containing distilled graphics and data on pollution.

24hr dust monitoring in London

Casella’s 24hr real time Boundary Guardian has been used at the Mitre House project in central London. Real-time monitoring of noise and dust levels was required by contractor Keltbray because of its in close proximity to a private school.

Reach for the air

Air quality studies carried out by environmental firm, SLR Consulting have helped to secure the planning green-light for a proposed development of 51 mixed tenure homes at Abbey Street in Southwark, south east London.

Air in Eire

Air quality monitoring in Ireland shows there were no exceedences of the main pollutants in 2012, however particles, NOx and ozone remain a concern.

Green shoots? Market rebounds

The annual Environment Analyst survey of consultants suggests that the consultancy market is growing.

Airalert service extended to Surrey

The airAlert service pioneered by the Sussex Air Quality Partnership in collaboration with King’s College London has now been extended to cover East Surrey.

Black carbon data capture hits 96%

Aethalometers in the black smoke network are operating at 96% capture rates, the most recent Black Smoke Network report reveals.

Awards open. Hurry.

The City of London Sustainable City Awards is open to participants showcasing air quality expertise across the UK. Previous winners of the air quality category include Clean Air in London, Invisible Dust and the GLA.

NI planning fear

A planning specialist claims the Northern Ireland Planning Bill neuters laws aimed at providing environmental protection.

Small diesel benefit

University of California researchers have studied the real world performance of hybrid diesel-electric construction equipment.

Cancer link underlined

Does the World Health Organisation’s announcement that air pollution causes cancer leave you with a sense of déjà vu? Jack Pease explains

October 2013 issue 90

LAQM: massive 300+ response

Over 300 detailed responses have flooded in to Defra’s consultation on dismantling the local air quality management regime. Thousands more were generated by the online campaign group 38 Degrees.

uBreathe app gets Android capability

There has been an upgrade (and update) to Ricardo-AEA’s uBreathe iPhone app.

Strategy plea

Environmental experts have called for an update to the UK air quality strategy, last updated in 2007.

Capture up

Data capture for PM10 analysers was up in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Kidderminster dioxins were safe

While dioxins from the Kidderminster waste fire which burned for 52 days were deemed ‘safe’, further details have emerged since the fire was put out over a month ago (AQB September p3).

Tyneside odours prompt £14k penalty

A Tyneside waste transfer business has been ordered to pay more than £14,400 for bad smells.

Massive mercury conference concludes

Nearly 1,000 visitors attended the huge Mercury 2013 International Conference held in Edinburgh last month. The conference saw more than 400 oral presentations and over 500 poster presentations.

Adept cuts emissions

A new Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain (ADEPT) project aims to apply the “intelligent electrification” concept for the first time to a diesel vehicle (a Ford Focus).

Coming together

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has grown to 72 partners and is pledging to cut short-life climate pollutants such as methane and black carbon emissions from the oil and gas industry as well as from municipal solid waste and landfills.

US power curbs

The US has agreed carbon pollution standards for new power stations.

School pollution maps online

London assembly member Jenny Jones has produced a web page which details air pollution outside London schools.

25yrs of the cyclone

US monitor specialist BGI has celebrated its 25th anniversary of the development of its signature product line, the cyclone.

UWE to advise Europe

The University of the West of England AQMRC has won a prestigious contract to advise the EU on air quality.

Hot weather brings pollution

A late burst of hot weather in the south of the UK has caused some pollution events.

Smog ‘cover up’ claimed by Birkett

Clean Air in London claims that Defra has covered up smogs by failing to warn the public.

Inventory split by UK region

Emissions inventories have been broken down by UK region in a new report.

Old age split

Official statistics have shown the differences in life expectancies across the UK. Poor air quality has been shown to be a factor in life expectancy in the past.

Slow shipping

Progress on cutting shipping emissions has been slow.

Public information

Defra has released a short guide listing sources of air quality information.

Barrowcliffe guidance cull plea

IAQM chairman Roger Barrowcliffe warned of the impact of cutting guidance at last month’s planning talks.

Mismatch between air quality protections

Experts at the recent IAQM conference on air quality and planning have highlighted inconsistencies in policy.

Planning plea

The Woodland Trust provided an unexpectedly sharp criticism of changes to planning guidance (see p6): “Detailed and yet key points seem to be lost in the drive for simplicity and brevity.

Scotland appointment

Air Monitors has appointed Peter Lawson as regional sales manager (Scotland).

Planning guidance shrinks

We are in the midst of unprecedented change to the planning regime in England. Tried and tested guidance on air quality is about to be abolished, Jack Pease comments on the anxious mood amongst air quality experts

Clean air probe (yet again)

Further desperation from Defra as it launches yet another Clean Air Act review seeking ‘ideas’ on what to do.

back to top

September 2013 issue 89

End in sight for guidance limbo

The shape of planning advice on air quality has been revealed as the Government beta-tests new planning practice guidance.

Option 5 may avoid impending ‘catastrophe’

Responses have poured in to Defra’s consultation on the dismantling of the English local air quality management regime (AQB August p1).

Hotel near blood and guts a bad plan

Plans to build a luxury country house hotel near an abattoir have been turned down at appeal.

London neutrality draws near

A report has set out how air quality neutrality could work in London.

£5m bus clean up awards

Eleven local authorities have been awarded grants from the Clean Bus Technology Fund to clean up almost 400 buses.

Late summer ozone

Incoming pollution from mainland Europe combining with warm and sunny conditions led to an ozone event for three days from 23rd August says Kings College ERG.

Emission guidebook

A new 2013 version of the EMEP/EEA air pollutant emission inventory guidebook has been published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Monitor man

Ex-Monitor Europe (Casella) international sales manager, Peter Lawson is joining Air Monitors to manage the firm’s sales activities in Scotland.

Spate of recycling fires

Local authorities have been working hard to reassure local populations following a spate of accidental fires at recycling yards in recent weeks.

Dumfries incinerator set to close?

The novel Scotgen gasification incinerator in Dumfries is set to lose its permit because of repeated pollution breaches.

Leicester pollution viewed from the air

Leicester scientists have installed air quality monitoring equipment on a plane to map pollution around the city.

Lewisham declares

Further parts of the London Borough of Lewisham have been declared as an AQMA.

Agency separate

The Environment Agency and Natural England should be retained as separate public bodies with separate purposes and functions.

Local environment

Air quality is a concern for people – but crime and dog fouling cause more annoyance, a survey for Defra suggests.

Read guilty

Former managing director of Enviro Technology, Steve Read, has been found guilty of a number of sex offences in Gloucester Crown Court.

Rushlight pause

The annual Rushlight environmental awards are going to skip a year and will return in 2014/15 year.

Website review 2013

More doom and gloom as the continued attack on local authority funding shows. Jack Pease personally reviews UK websites featuring air quality

August 2013 issue 88

LAQM: end of an era?

Defra wants to abolish the local authority duty to review, assess and report on air quality. Local authority monitoring would not be required, air quality management areas would be abolished.

Barking. Stupid.

MP Barry Gardiner – recently appointed shadow environment minister – has commented on LAQM plans (see news, left) at a recent Policy Exchange debate: “The idea that abolishing air quality management areas somehow magically gets a better handle on the air quality problem is clearly barking.

Waste and PM

The Environment Agency has published its long-awaited update on monitoring particles near waste facilities.

Dirty diesels revealed

Defra has been forced to release data revealing which manufacturers have vehicles with high real-life emissions. Some cars are four times more polluting than others in the same class.

Port Talbot escalation plan approved ...

The Welsh Government has formally adopted a short term air quality plan for Port Talbot.

... as enforcement notice served to cut dust

Recent hot weather has led to dust complaints near the Tata Steelworks in Port Talbot. An enforcement notice has been issued by Natural Resources Wales, the body that took over from the Environment Agency in Wales.

FDMS correction

Last month AQB published data on Teom FDMS performance across the UK network (AQB July p5). Data was supplied by Air Monitors and there was an inadvertent arithmetical error which overstated Air Monitors’ claimed performance.

Action notes

Defra has issued a short note listing local public health impacts resulting from air pollution. It is intended to be useful to those needing to influence public health directors wrestling with PM2.5 objectives.

Euro 6 only for ultra zone

London Assembly members have discussed emerging plans for a London ultra low emission zone. Mayor Boris Johnson mooted the zone earlier this year (AQB March p8).

TfL spreads clean bus benefits

At the recent King’s College London LAQN meeting, TfL’s bus emission expert Finn Coyle explained what TfL was doing about the problem of bus emissions.

LEZs: looking for a business case?

Hauliers have launched a blistering attack on low emission zones and the EU’s record on cutting emissions.

Liverpool charges

Liverpool City Council has been criticised for charging consultants £135 for reports that are supposed to be freely available to the public.

Horn Lane hosts air ‘summit’

Continued problems with air pollution at Horn Lane in West London have prompted the Environment Agency to call a ‘summit’ between residents and regulators.

Clientearth calls for early court ruling

Legal pressure group Clientearth says the UK Supreme Court has called on the European court to fast-track its case against the UK government over failure to meet air quality standards. Clientearth secured a ruling that the Government was failing to take air quality seriously (AQB May p1).

Help the aged

The Department of Health is seeking views on improving the health of vulnerable older people.

Job opportunity

The Air Quality Management Resource Centre at UWE in Bristol is now recruiting.

EMAQ+ AQ Webinars

Air quality training provider EMAQ+ is to provide online training through webinars.

NOx remains a sticking point

Many air pollutant emissions are below internationally agreed limits, but not NOx, according to a new European Environment Agency report.

CIWEM: Strategy out of date

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has released a report urging more action on air quality. It was prepared prior to Defra’s consultation plans to carry out less work on air quality.

Heatwave prompts fewer alerts than usual

The July heatwave prompted fewer than expected air quality alerts partly due to favourable weather and partly due to the recent change in index trigger values.

Latest FDMS sampler gains certification

Mcerts and EU Equivalence approvals have been awarded for newest Teom FDMS ambient particulate PM2.5 and PM10 monitors.

Boundary hit

Derbyshire-based Merebrook Consulting, which specialises in environmental and engineering projects, is to use the newly launched Boundary Guardian from Casella CEL to gauge noise and dust levels on a client’s construction site in Portsmouth.

Smoking kills?

Enviro Technology has helped out ITV’s Daybreak programme with some in-vehicle particle monitoring. It used an Aerocet 531 laser particulate profiler to count particles when someone lit up – providing a rather useful reminder of how second hand smoke can rather overshadow ambient pollution.

LAQM: Improvement or the end?

Defra is presenting the proposed changes to local air quality management as an improvement. But could the preferred option spell the end of local air quality as we know it? Six pages of analysis and observations

Abracadabra. AQMAs vanish!

Option three would see an end to local authority monitoring and assessment and the reliance on the AEA ‘Stedman’ PCM strategic air quality model.

July 2013 issue 87

Scotland consults on LAQM

Scotland is consulting on how it will shake up local air quality duties north of the border.

Clean Air Act stalls

Donna Yates of Defra told the recent Iapsc conference in Sheffield about progress on the updating of the Clean Air Act. Not much.

News from the London Air Quality Network conference

Defra suppresses dirty vehicle data

Defra redacted data from a recent roadside emissions report which showed some vehicle makers in a poor light.

Pollutants show decline at last

There are increasing signs that air quality in London is improving after several years of flatlining, claims Gary Fuller of King’s College London.

Williams reinforces need for local action

Martin Williams, formerly Defra air quality head and now with King’s College ERG, outlined the policy implications of what was going on.

Gap grows on CO2 performance as well

In a move that appears to echo air pollution, there appears to be a growing gap between legislated CO2 emissions from cars and actual emissions.

Non-exhaust pollutants rise in importance

ERG’s David Dajnar warned that non-exhaust particulate was becoming an increasing proportion of the pollution mix.

WHO switch

Ex WHO air quality chief Michal Krzyzanowski has become visiting professor at Kings College London.

Mudway: tackling PM2.5 ‘moral crusade’

Tackling PM2.5 should be a moral crusade, claims Ian Mudway, a medic at King’s College London.

News from the IAPSC meeting held in Sheffield last month

LAQM review explained by Defra

Speaking before the publication of the consultation on the review of the local air quality management system by Defra, Robert Vaughan of Defra outlined thinking behind the changes at the Iapsc meeting on emissions held in Sheffield.

Bradford inspires with LES plans

Sally Jones of Bradford told the Iapsc conference held in Sheffield that the city had some of the worst air quality in the UK.

York: back where we started?

Liz Bates of York City Council explained how the city has taken forward its ambitious air quality action plan launched earlier this year (AQB May 2012 p8).

Rich pickings likely from MOT data

MOT annual vehicle test data can yield really interesting results on vehicle emissions, suggests Tim Chatterton of UWE.

Hurricane warning

Better air quality may have led to more North Atlantic hurricanes.

News from the IAQM meeting held in York last month

Norris highlights engine impasse

There appears to be a dilemma – vehicle emission standards are tightening, vehicle manufacturers are working hard to meet standards but air quality is not improving – indeed it is worsening in urban areas.

Emission factors underestimate by 26%

James Tate of Leeds University has pioneered roadside testing of vehicles and worked with David Carslaw at Kings College London.

Euro 4 done little for Reading

Graham Harker of Peter Brett Associates described the outcome of modelling in support of a potential low emission zone in Reading.

M4 analysis confirms traffic worsening

Duncan Whyatt of the Environment Agency told the York IAQM conference how ‘conditional analysis’ can be used to try and establish what is happening on busy roads.

Apsimon gets CBE

Imperial College London air quality professor of air pollution studies Helen Apsimon has been made a CBE in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

Puri to Atmos

Dr Geeta Puri, formerly principal special scientist for Scottish Government, has joined Atmos Consulting. l www.atmosconsulting.com

London shares £5.4m grant

£5.4 million from the £20m London air quality fund has been allocated by the Mayor to work on new measures to tackle air pollution.

FDMS performance linked to maintenance?

Not all FDMS Teoms perform badly, claims Air Monitors managing director Jim Mills.

Grant solutions reviewed

In time for the next round of grant applications, a review of previous Defra-funded projects has been released.

Premature deaths mapped

Public Health England has plotted a map showing relative life expectancies. Urban areas and a red (bad) band across the north show up as worse. l website http:// longerlives. phe.org.uk/

More cuts

Environmental and council budgets took a battering in the recent spending review.

Gasmet monitor

Gasmet is to launch a new continuous mercury monitoring system (CMM) at Mercury 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland (28th July – 2nd August).

Survey reveal review rational

Much of the thinking behind the imminent review of the LAQM system is contained in a report released last month.

Holman moves back into private practice

Claire Holman has moved from Peter Brett Associates to once again set up her own consultancy – Brook Cottage Consultants.

Free toolkit

The Myair Toolkit for model evaluation is now available to download free from the CERC website.

Burner go ahead

Scottish Government has granted consent for Forth Energy, a joint venture between Forth Ports Limited and SSE plc, to develop a wood fuelled renewable combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Port of Grangemouth.

West Mids. on ‘emission creep’

Good practice guidelines and mitigation strategies have been proposed by West Midlands authorities as part of a draft low emission strategy.

Sussex proposes planning guidelines

Sussex local authorities have recently consulted on air quality mitigation guidance for developments.

SupportingU takes on monitor making

Monitor support firm SupportingU has taken on manufacture of spare parts to keep popular monitoring equipment going – potentially saving local authorities £7m in avoiding scrapping obsolete equipment.

Forecasting improves

A report on air quality forecasting in 2011, the latest year for which data is available, suggests Ricardo-AEA’s forecasts have continued to become more accurate.

More bus help

Local bus firms will be able to bid for £5m of extra clean bus funding on routes where air quality does not meet European standards.

Green week targets air quality

Jack Pease reports from Brussels where air quality was the focus of the Commission’s annual Green Week. Are we heading for a ‘strategy lite’?

June 2013 issue 86

Grant cut

Local authorities are being asked to bid for air quality grant for the current year (2013/14) – but the amount on offer has been halved.

Euro 6 tests suggest emissions not all good

Euro 6 vehicles may not be all that they are cracked up to be.

Odour guidance

New landfill odour guidance has been released.

‘Improved’ environment guidance

Government is consulting (again) on streamlining environ-mental regulation. It has also tasked the Environment Agency with rewriting guidance.

Government questions

EU regulatory competence The UK Government is consulting on whether EU regulation on the environment is working.

Tighter controls

A public consultation on EU air quality (AQB January p1) suggests that there is support for tighter air quality controls rather than further relaxation.

Saudi air

Saudi Arabia has appointed Ricardo-AEA is to provide a consolidated air quality evidence base to support future air quality policy for Riyadh.

Process note updated

A number of industrial regulatory notes have been updated including 21 in the solvents sector, 12 covering the metals sector and one covering animal carcass incineration.

Conversions allowed

New rules allowing empty offices to be converted to homes have come into force.

Guidance process reflects consultation

It looks as though specific planning guidance – such as that on air quality – will be retained while new shortened guidance is prepared (see above).

Tube plea

Local authorities are reminded to return co-location studies for diffusion tubes by the 12th June 2013 for inclusion in the next National Bias Adjustment Spreadsheet due at the end of June 2013.

Valuation techniques updated

A raft of documents have been released explaining how to value air quality impacts. They are part of the Treasury Green Book which is used to by economists to value development and interventions. (Editor’s comment: these documents are important but are written in economist-speak so we will do our best….)

Eco-payments advice

A best practice guide has been launched on a system aimed at valuing environmental benefits.

Air progress

Air quality indicators are contained within a newly released broad-brush environmental round up.

Burner bonus

A number of controversial burners have been given the green light.

UK clean?

The UK met EU national emission ceiling directive limits in 2010 – but 12 member states breached their limits.

Queen’s speech to end FA’s

The Queen’s Speech included plans for primary legislation to allow the dismantling of LAQM further assessments.

Nanoparticle warning from Birmingham

Birmingham University researchers warn that non-vehicle exhaust nanoparticles (aka ultrafines – PM0.1) are becoming increasingly important.

Off road plea for better standards

European pressure group Transport & Environment has responded to the ‘Consultation on the revision of Directive 97/68 on emissions from non-road mobile machinery engines’ by the European Commission.

Biomass help

Householders are getting extra encouragement to install renewable energy plant such as biomass.

Aviation growth impacts on air quality

The London Assembly has criticised the Government’s aviation strategy saying it is a lost opportunity for air quality and noise.

High speed impacts

A draft environmental statement setting out the likely impacts of the first phase of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project has been published for consultation. It includes measures to cut dust such as surfacing haul routes.

Ticker tells time of next death

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett has launched his own air quality index and an app suggesting when the next air quality death will occur.

M4 bus lane at heart of valuation challenge

The replacement of the M4 bus lane with a car lane is the trigger for a challenge to DfT’s update to monetary evaluation procedures.

Hybrid roll out

The first production diesel electric hybrid ‘bus for London’ is on the road – and GLA tests suggest improved air quality.

Ecostars’ 50th member

The South Yorkshire Ecostars fleet recognition scheme is celebrating its 50th member with the sign up of B&Q in partnership with DHL.

Directive development advice

The Institute of Environmental Sciences has published a briefing note on legal aspects of air quality and planning.

Sniffer offers help for offensive rendering

Scottish environmental charity Sniffer has released a review of best practice for dealing with rendering smells.

Horn Lane hosts first 2013 limit breach

Horn Lane – the UK’s ‘dustiest’ monitoring site – breached the allowable 35 PM10 exceedences objective in May, the first UK exceedence of 2013. The breach came a month later than last year (AQB May 2012 p5). It’s been a record cold spring.

Scottish pollutant reporting change

Sepa is seeking comments on the proposed revision of the Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI) pollutant list and other reporting requirements. This is the first time the SPRI pollutant substance list has been subject to review since its introduction in 2002.

AQMRC recruiting

AQMRC at UWE in Bristol is seeking a research fellow in air quality and carbon management at a salary of over £30,000. l http://tinyurl.com/puvc52n

Composite map

A composite map has been created in a bid to create a consistent picture of air quality across Europe.

US panel scrutinises diesel cancer risk

The US Health Effects Institute (HEI) is convening a panel to revisit the health effects of diesel. It will evaluate the strengths and limitations of current epidemiology evidence to estimate the cancer risks associated with exposures to diesel exhaust. It is expected to report by late 2014.

Time for another revamp

It seems like only yesterday that Epuk and IAQM were discussing significance and development impact guidelines. It’s already time to update them

Dust consultation

The Institute of Air Quality Management is also carrying out a short online survey on its December 2011 assessment guidance on construction impacts on air quality.

Remote sensing takes in NO2

Measuring vehicle exhausts in real time appears to be the only way of making sure manufacturers are not fiddling the emission figures

May 2013 issue 85

Supreme Court rules on plans

The UK Supreme Court has ruled against the Government in the latest twist of a long running battle on the legality of plans to tackle NO2 exceedences.

Local guides useful for other authorities?

The GLA is preparing a series of borough-level guides covering public health and air quality. The guides provide a good example of what can be prepared by local authorities bringing together evidence to inform the new public health regime which came into being last month.

Blame passed for LAQM failures

Air Quality Consultants’ Duncan Laxen blamed vehicle manufacturers and legislators for the failure of the local air quality management (LAQM) regime to fully solve air quality problems.

2012 confirmed as clean year

Finalised statistics show that 2012 was a relatively clean year. This agrees with the AQB ‘Yardstick’ (AQB January p4) produced in the absence of the official early provisional indicator which is no longer published.

Changes cause step change in trendline

Defra has released a guidance note explaining minor tweeks and updates to the Daily Air Quality Index used to form the indicator.

Website switch

Defra has joined other government departments and switched its website to the standardised www.gov.uk portal.

Gas talks

The first UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference is being hosted by ADBA, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Defra, the Transport KTN, Cleaner Air for London and LowCVP at City Hall, London on 5 June 2013.

Ireland unites

Northern Ireland and Eire are to cooperate with a study on smoky coal burning.

Governments to blame for emission failures

Clean Air in London’s Simon Birkett says failures of successive Governments have dwarfed failures of European engine emission standards. “Ignoring 10 years of warnings, Governments are responsible for more than doubling primary NO2 emissions from diesel vehicles – even after allowing for the increase in NO2 emissions as a percentage of NOX emissions from around 5% to over 20%”

Cement BAT

The European Commission has published new best available techniques (BAT) details for use in setting permit conditions for the production of cement, lime and magnesium oxide.

Tier 3 for US

Sulphur in fuels will be a key target of the new Tier 3 emissions programme in the US.

Air quality minister clueless?

An air quality debate in the House of Lords saw the Government criticised for its record on air quality leaving air quality minister Lord de Mauley repeatedly unable to answer questions.

Hinton Organics back in court (again)

Waste composting firm Hinton Organics has been back in court again.

EEA rounds on shipping emissions

A European Environment Agency report says shipping needs an integrated monitoring, reporting and verification system for emissions in European waters to systematically address both polluting and greenhouse gas emissions.

Coal is dirty

The recent increase in coal use has health consequences, the European Environment Agency claims.

Three priorities

60 European NGOs have jointly set out what they want to see from the European ‘year of the air’.

Charge leans against diesels

Following a three month consultation (AQB February p5), the London Mayor has agreed plans to tighten the discount structure for low emission vehicles. Diesels need not apply.

Sun finally comes out prompting ozone alert

The long cold winter and delayed spring held back ozone events this year.

Face masks

Government has been asked in Parliament whether face masks offer any benefits for cyclists riding in polluted city centres.

Diesels increase car fleet efficiency

The average car sold in the EU in 2012 was 9% more fuel-efficient than the average three years before, according to new data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Improved technology and an increase in the share of diesel cars (now 55%) are the main reasons behind the fall.

Signals 2013

 The European Environment Agency has produced a ‘state of the air report. The 2013 edition was prepared in the context of the European Year of Air, when EU policy makers are planning

Burner modelling

A pressure group opposed to incineration has offered advice on how incinerators can be modelled.

Rugby case. Final answer?

Long running protester Lillian Pallikaropoulos appears to have won the latest stage of her long running battle centred on pollution from the Rugby cement works.

Plan for POPs is widened

A National Implementation Plan (NIP) sets out how the UK will implement the Stockholm Convention covering persistent organic pollutants (POPs). New POPs are added to the plan.

Merged agency comments published

A sample of comments received in response to the planned merger of the Environment Agency and Natural England have been published by the Government.

Wandsworth roadside voluntary tests

Wandsworth has carried out voluntary car emission tests at a supermarket car park.

Poultry £50,000 fine

Smells from a poultry unit in Kirkby on Bain, Woodhall Spa, made nearby residents feel sick and depressed, Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard.

Euro 6 to the rescue?

A lot rides on the new Euro 6 standard. Many are openly expecting this to be a standard that actually delivers the emissions savings it promises

NO2 dominates medic’s meeting

Any lingering doubt that NO2 is benign and merely a marker for other pollutants was kicked into touch at last month’s Cranfield meeting

Fears emerge that EU directive will not get revamped

Martin Williams, former Defra air quality chief now with Kings College London, took up the theme: “It remains to be seen whether or not the ambient air quality Directive will be revised; at present this seems unlikely, so that the WHO review may not be acted upon in the short term.

April 2013 Issue 84

LEZs: only if based on Euro 6

There is no point in talking about low emission zones unless you are specifying Euro 6, Ricardo-AEA’s Beth Conlan told the recent Scottish air quality database and website annual review meeting in Edinburgh.

£4bn biomass bill?

An impact assessment reveals that air quality controls on domestic-sized biomass boilers would save over £3bn in health costs.

Clean Air Act revamp faces further delays

Defra has admitted delays to the revamp of the Clean Air Act and has issued interim advice that it will be business as usual until changes are agreed.

Report from the scottish air quality database and website seminar in Edinburgh

Database and website improved

There are to be further improvements to the Scottish air quality database, Scottish Government told a recent air quality conference.

Database shows mixed trends in Scotland

AEA-Ricardo’s Stuart Sneddon outlined preliminary conclusions from air quality monitoring in Scotland.

Athletes study suggest performance reduction

Tentative early results suggest that pollution can reduce athletes performance.

Scotland gets into STEP

Scottish organisations are joining together in a bid to coordinate action on air quality across various disciplines.

Agency audited on AQ claims

Price Waterhouse is auditing the Highways Agency to see whether it is fulfilling its terms of reference on air quality.

Network monitor performance slips back

Teom FDMS particle monitor issues are still being cited as a contributing to a fall in monitor reliability.

Inspector accepts 1.5 OUe/m3

A planning inspector has accepted the use of 1.5 OUE/m3 as the threshold for nuisance – but allowed an appeal as that threshold would only be breached intermittently.

Cold weather brings pollution

Sunny hot weather in March in recent years has led to early ozone alerts. Not this year – late, cold weather had led to cold weather pollution events.

Air breaches but not in the UK

Air pollutant emissions were above legal limits in eight member states (not the UK) in 2011, preliminary data shows.

Dispute reaches Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court has heard arguments that the Government should do more to tackle air pollution. A decision is awaited.

Lorry charges should reflect health cost

Differential lorry charges should be used to reflect varied health effects of traffic pollution across Europe, says the European Environment Agency (EEA).

City of London awards air quality efforts

The Corporation of London named TfL and GLA as recipients of the air quality award within its high profile 2013 sustainability awards.

More Clean air awards

Clean Air in London has announced its own awards.

Sentencing guidelines

Polluters may be hit with bigger penalties following introduction of new sentencing guidelines in England and Wales.

Epuk to rise from the ashes

As Environmental Protection Scotland splits, does Environmental Protection UK still have a future? AQB finds there are signs of life south of the border

Farnham rounds against diesel

At last someone thinks the unthinkable. Waverley looks set to take on diesel drivers of Farnham. See feature

AQE shakes off Mcerts blues

Last month’s rebadged Mcerts conference – now known as AQE – tripled in size as it embraces ambient air quality. Jack Pease reports here

High quality PM monitoring via a FIDAS

Air Monitors’ Jim Mills was on his AQE stand with Fidas system – which could prove to be a future compliment to the FDMS Teom.

Direct NO2 way to go

Enviro Technology’s Duncan Mounsor demonstrates the Los Gatos Research NO2 analyser at AQE. This continuous analyser does not use chemilumine-scence and provides a direct reading with no converters via a laser system.

PM modelling

Fairmode – the European working group overseeing modelling best practice – has issued a draft of its proposed particle modelling guide.

Inventory changes

Key pollutant emissions went down in the UK in 2011 – apart from ammonia.

Biomass certification

A government response to a consultation on the renewable heat incentive sets out its latest thinking on setting air quality limits on new biomass boilers.

Tube update

The National diffusion tube bias adjustment factors spreadsheet March 2013 update is ready.

Wales changes

From 1st April, leading regulators in Wales – including the Environment Agency Wales – have come together under the single body Natural Resources Wales.

Champions sought

Healthy Air Campaign partner Sustrans is providing training and support for volunteers and volunteer groups to be champions for clean air in the London boroughs of Hackney, Redbridge and Havering (AQB March 2013 p8).

Fees frozen

Local authority fees for regulating industrial plant have been frozen, as mooted in a recent consultation.

 Low emission regs good for the economy

A report by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA suggests that vehicle emission legislation leads to increased employment albeit at an increased cost of €1,100 for a typical car,

Permitting guidance updated

Core guidance on environmental permitting has been updated.

March 2013 Issue 83

Abatement costs shoot up

Proposed guidance on how to value air quality impacts will include a high marginal cost of NOX abatement in areas that breach EU directive limits.

Big three Europeans argue against wood

Scientists from the big three European capital cities – London, Paris and Berlin – have argued for increased controls on wood burning.

Monitoring downside

Monitoring rather than modelling compliance with EU directives would lead to the UK needing to report half as many exceedences to the European Commission, a report suggests.

Guidance probe

Epuk is to hold an afternoon meeting to inform an update to its popular development control guidance.

Another £1m found for grant

Defra has found a further £1m for air quality grant.

Cornwall agrees countywide action plan

Cornwall has set out an action plan for dealing with air quality.

Factors revised

An updated Emission Factors Toolkit (Version 5.2) incorporates updated NOx emission factors and vehicle fleet information.

Bad air for NI

Northern Ireland has had a spell of bad air.

Air not fair

The Sheffield Fairness Commission says that bad air quality in the city is not fair to the poor.

Permitting change

A consultation proposes a number of minor amend-ments to permitting regulations. The changes concern waste, ground source heating, public registers and appeals.

SCRT rolled out across London buses

Eminox SCRT emissions technology is to be rolled out as part of a major bus retrofit programme in London to tackle air pollution (AQB February p6).

Ecostars spread

Four more areas of the country are benefiting from the launch of the Ecostars fleet recognition scheme.

TfL LEZ advice ‘misleading’

TfL has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for giving out incorrect advice to van owners affected by the London low emission zone.

Cold, calm February prompts alerts

Cold, dry and still air over much of the UK prompted a number of pollution alerts in February.

Airplane plumes can be pushed up

EPSRC funded research suggests that a redesign of airport blast fences could help cut pollution near airports.

Electric boost

Central Government has announced a £37 million funding package to encourage take up of plug-in vehicles.

Black carbon

A report has highlighted black carbon trends for 2011, the latest period for which data is available.

Ultrafine spared blame again

Experts still can’t bring themselves to blame ultrafine particles for health effects.

Planning guidance shake up criticised

CIEH has published a withering criticism of the Government planning practice guidance shake up.

Prepare for statistics worsening

A ‘pre release’ statistics note is softening up the public to expect worsened air quality results.

Hearing looms

Clientearth’s high profile legal battle with the Government on EU directive compliance will hit the UK’s Supreme Court next week. It seeks a ruling that the UK Government should step up action to ensure compliance with objectives. The hearing will be streamed live on the Supreme Court’s website.

Biomass quest

More questions have been asked in Parliament about the impact of biomass burning on pollution emissions.

Lay person needed

The Department of Health is seeking to appoint a lay member of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (Comeap).

Modelling choice has downside

The UK may have thought it was saving money when it chose to model for European air directive compliance. Had it monitored, it may have avoided its current pickle

In defence of further assessments

Last month AQB was surprised it couldn’t find anyone that mourned the proposed passing of further assessments. It’s left to UWE to mount a defence

London: action or empty spin?

More pledges about London air pollution from Mayor Boris Johnson. A welcome recognition that something needs to be done – or empty rhetoric?

How London initiatives will be funded, and what is planned

The Mayor announced a £20m grant for air quality – spread over a decade. This works out at £2m a year and grant applications are already being encouraged with an early deadline.

February 2013 Issue 82

‘Cleaner air boroughs for London?

A £5m programme of air quality initiatives in London has had mixed success. A £6m fund is now being set up and there will be ‘Cleaner Air Boroughs’.

New direction for EU as WHO restates worries

The European Commission appears to be changing tack on how it deals with member states who breach air quality objectives. Meanwhile the World Health Organisation has reworked its Revihaap health analysis of air pollution.

Support for action

The European Commission has carried a poll of 25,000 citizens asking about air quality.

IAQM raises the bar

It will be harder to become a member of the Institute of Air Quality Management.

Development concerns

The CIEH has warned on the dangers to residential amenity as a result of extending permitted development rights.

Planning red tape

It is the turn of planning to be the focus of the Government’s quest to find redundant red tape.

Air quality: The case continues…

The long running legal action against the UK Government for breaches of the EU directives rumbles on.

Biofuel impacts

Defra may start monitoring acetaldehyde and formaldehyde to make sure biofuels do not lead to adverse pollution impacts.

NI air for 2011

Air quality in Northern Ireland improved in 2011. There remained some NO2 and PM10 exceedences but the long term trend is improving, says a Ricardo-AEA report.

Measures costed

A report has been published outlining progress towards updating details of air quality measures that go beyond business as usual.

Further assessment set to go

Consultation is underway on removing the need for further assessments.

£1m ‘radar’ air monitoring lab for NPL

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is investing £1 million in a new mobile instrument lab to remotely monitor airborne emissions.

Biomass up

Some biomass emissions will more than double between 2015 and 2020, the Government has admitted.

Register updated

The 2011 UK Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) is now available.

Defra change win

Defra won a special partnership award at the Change London awards recently.

HS2 opts for clean construction

Dust has been thought about in proposals to build the HS2 high speed railway between London and Birmingham.

Air quality important for speed setting

New speed limit setting criteria includes advice on air quality effects.

Persistent burner is jailed

An Environment Agency prosecution has secured a jail term for a man found guilty of persistently burning rubbish and causing pollution.

Agency investigates

The Environment Agency Wales has launched an investigation after an incinerator breached emission limits.

Odour dominates

Serious industrial pollution incidents have fallen and industrial emissions are down according to the Environment Agency in its Sustainable Business Report.

Another breach

Scotgen’s novel gasification waste-to-energy plant in Dumfries has reported a further dioxin breach.

Scottish changes

PPC regulations have changed in Scotland.

Less ozone

Dull and wet weather in 2012 led to fewer ozone alerts across Europe.

Congestion charge targets diesel

Small efficient diesel cars will no longer be exempt from the London congestion charge under new proposals.

2013 starts with highs and exceedences

Very high pollution has been seen already this year, reports King’s College London.

Hydrogen network expands

The London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project, a government-backed initiative co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, is to create the UK’s first hydrogen powered transport system across London and the South East.

Clean fleet help

A newly launched Clean Fleets project offers public authorities and fleet operators in Europe free assistance in purchasing vehicles with higher environmental standards to comply with the Clean Vehicles Directive.

Health boost

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has welcomed the Government increase in ring-fenced public health grants to local authorities for 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Pasodoble webinar

The EU funded Pasodoble project is holding a webinar for air quality experts.

London results discussed

Results from the £5m Clean Air Fund in London were discussed at a recent GLA/Epuk/April conference. Independent consultant Sarah Legge reports

Mcerts morphs into AQE 2013

As others fall by the wayside, Mcerts has been rebadged as the Air Quality and Emissions show and is gathering increasing support

Mixed success for clean air fund

Don’t judge an air quality action by how it affects concentrations – the Clean Air Fund has had more subtle impacts, finds Jack Pease

January 2013 Issue 81

Beleaguered Defra sets out plans

Defra’s Robert Vaughan gave an update on Government air quality policy at last month’s Iapsc (Investigation of Air Pollution Standing Conference) meeting held in Birmingham last month. Nowadays such top level policy updates are rare given the demise of the twice-yearly Epuk air quality update meetings.

Taylor review: air guidance needed

Despite pressure to abolish planning guidance, advice on local environment issues should be retained.

EU consults

As part of the revamp of European air quality policies – and the 2013 ‘Year of the Air’ – the Commission has launched an online consultation.

News from the Institute of environmental science DMUG meeting held in December

Ten years of IAQM: retrospective

“Can we really believe that the Institute of Air Quality Management has been going for ten years?”, asked Martin Williams, formerly head of air quality of Defra and now at King’s College London opening last months Dispersion Model User Group meeting. He gave a retrospective look at the first ten years of IAQM. The organisation has taken DMUG under its wing since the collapse of Epuk as a commercial organisation early in 2012.

Air quality clashes with climate change

The scale of the policy clash between global warming and pollution is not really well known – especially when it comes to biomass.

Particles: no closer on which metric

Tim Murrells of Ricardo-AEA manages transport emissions within the national emissions inventory – the area blamed for overpredicting forecast air quality improvements.

Nucleating particles

Birmingham University’s Professor Roy Harrison told DMUG of the difficulties inherent with nanoparticles. For some time there has been a school of thought that counting nanoparticles is a better metric to reflect health effects than the currently favoured PM10 mass.

News from the investigation of air pollution standing conference held in Birmingham

Keeping the wind out of tubes

Trials have been carried out to see if keeping the wind out of diffusion tubes makes them any more accurate.

Airtext must stand on own feet

Sussexair’s health warning service must stand on its own feet if it is to survive, project manager Nigel Jenkins told Iapsc,

Bristol backs ‘web of data’

The ‘web of data’ holds the key to managing the increasingly large amounts of air quality monitoring data, says Bristol City Council.

Barnsley realities

Soon air quality professionals will find that public health directors will take on some responsibilities for improving air quality. Air quality has been included in a list of indicators and targets for public health and these ‘go live’ from April.

Information tips

Brighton researcher Kirsty Smallbone has carried out public attitude research on how best to inform the public about air quality.

AQB ‘yardstick’ improves but hides extremes

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.

First winter smog episodes

Kings College London has reported on high pollution in London in mid December.

US tightens PM2.5

In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalised an update to its national air quality standards for PM2.5 of 12µg/m3.

Clean ships rules

New environmental rules on marine fuels are now in force.

Traffic pollution remains harmful

Transport in Europe is responsible for damaging levels of air pollutants, the European Environment Agency’s annual report under the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) says.

Councils to share £2m grant

£2m of air quality grant is being shared by local authorities across England in a bid to improve air quality – with a possible further £1m being found for supplementary projects.

SEPA & PM2.5

Air Quality Consultants has reviewed PM2.5 in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The review aims to help SEPA determine how it can contribute to meeting European Union (EU) and UK exposure-reduction targets.

Gedling’s Ecostars

Boots, Asda, Sainsbury’s and 3663 are some of the most recent companies to sign up to Gedling Borough Council’s Ecostars campaign, launched in March 2012.

Euro 6 is in

The Euro VI standard for commercial vehicles became law on 31st December.

HEI studies diesel

With more studies available on diesel and cancer risk – and the recent IIARC classification of diesel as a carcinogen (AQB July 2012 p6) – the influential US Health Effects Institute is to study the issue.

PM2.5: more research please

Another year, another report on particles. Will the latest Aqeg PM2.5 report on particles make any difference?

Monitoring PM: not getting easier

Arguments about metrics and monitoring methods continue at the 21st AAMG conference held in London.

Life assessment

An analysis has been published of the EU Life programme which supports environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU

December 2012 Issue 80

Lawyers target odour makers

Waste operators better beware – no-win no-fee specialist lawyer Hugh James is trawling the country for odour complainants to launch group actions.

AEA is dead. Long live Ricardo-AEA

Automotive specialist consultant Ricardo has bought the failed AEA Technology consultancy group following its widely expected collapse into administration last month.

Barrowcliffe: stepping out and up

Roger Barrowcliffe, formerly of ERM and more latterly RWDI Associates, is now going it alone. He has named his firm Clear Air Thinking.

Grant trickles out

Air quality grant was due to be officially announced this week by Defra as AQB went to press.

Fee freeze

Consultation is underway on proposed fees for LAPC and LA-IPC charges for smaller industrial processes.

Fog causes mid-November alert

Widespread moderate PM10 was measured at several busy roadside sites on Thursday 15th November, including sites in central and outer London, and in Reading.

Free air app for Iphone

AEA – now Ricardo AEA – has produced a free air pollution app for the Iphone.

ET MD switch

Enviro Technology’s founder Steve Read (above) has resigned from the company to defend criminal charges not associated with the business.

Doctors prescribe walking

UK doctors say transport’s impact on health has become unnecessarily harmful – to the point where it is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

Cerc update

The Emission Factor Toolkit (EFT) version 5.1.3 includes updated NOx emission factors and new fleet data predictions.

UK health atlas emerges

The Small Area Health Statistics Unit (Sahsu) is developing an atlas of England and Wales which will include air quality.

Borough-level analysis mapped

Data has been released on borough-level air quality incomes.

Statistics to be streamlined = 50% cut?

A swift two week consultation suggests Defra wants to cut air quality statistics gathering.

Grossinho goes

Ana Grossinho has moved from Mouchel to WSP’s London office taking up the post of UK technical director of air quality.

Bill prompts fears

The proposed Growth and Infrastructure Bill which has had its second reading in Parliament may water down planning protection for local environmental effects.

LES tender

The Low Emission Strategy Partnership is seeking a contractor to produce an online ‘information hub’ for low emission strategies.

Three from Air Monitors….

Air Monitors has launched a new fixed area dust/aerosol monitor for continuous monitoring and a portable monitor for personal exposure at multiple locations.

….and three from Enviro Technology

Enviro Technology has announced three new products.

EIA regs set for revamp

The European Commission has outlined new proposals to streamline legislation on environmental impact assessments.

More London AQMAs

There should be more air quality management areas in London, Clear Air in London’s Simon Birkett says.

Ammonia added up

A comprehensive ammonia emissions inventory has been produced for UK agriculture.

IAQM award

IAQM has awarded the Ian McCrae Travel Award to Dr Mofoluso Fagbeja.

In Parliament

Environment minister Richard Benyon has told Parliament that there were now 255 local authorities which have declared air quality management areas (AQMAs) across the UK. There are now 600 AQMAs in total.

Pocket parks to aid air quality

London mayor Boris Johnson has announced funding for 100 ‘pocket parks’ in the capital – partly justified on air quality grounds.

US firm launches online cost benefit tool

A new online tool has been launched to calculate the air quality benefits of climate change policies down to city level.

Diesel surcharge

London assembly member Jenny Jones is demanding an end to the discount for efficient diesel cars for the London Congestion Charge. 22% of London cars are now diesel.

POP consult

Defra is consulting on management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Permitted development

Government is consulting to make it easier for householders to build extensions and businesses to expand without planning permission.

Taxis join Ecostar scheme ...

The Ecostars green fleet recognition scheme has expanded to include taxi and private hire vehicle operators in a bid to help local air quality in Mid Devon.

…. as Edinburgh reassesses Ecostars

Early members of Edinburgh’s Ecostars schemes have been reassessed.

Eminox: Real world emission savings claimed

A recent Eminox trial with Transport for London (TfL) is claimed to demonstrate how vehicles equipped with retrofit technology can achieve emissions performance better than vehicles manufactured today, even when operating in urban environments.

Appeals consultation

As part of wider plans to streamline the planning system and kickstart the economy, the Government is consulting on shortening planning appeal timescales and tightening up procedures.

Emissions factor advice for roads

The Highways Agency has issued an interim advice note outlining changes to emissions factors.

Agency adopts significance drop?

The Highways Agency presses ahead with controversial changes to air quality assessment guidelines in interim guidance.

Short term action for steelworks

The Welsh Government shows that it is prepared to micromanage air quality at Port Talbot

Monitoring building site dust

The IAQM has produced guidance on how to monitor dust near demolition and construction sites

November 2012 Issue 79

Odour class-action succeeds

A class action against a Staffordshire foundry has led to a £1.4m nuisance payout to 132 claimants. They claimed they had been blighted by fumes and noise from the Norton Aluminum plant.

Corporation re-runs air quality awards

Applications are invited for the prestigious annual City of London Corporation Sustainable City Awards. Clean Air in London was a past winner.

IAQM commences odour quest

The Institute of Air Quality Management has launched a quest for new guidance on odour at a recent meeting in London.

Profile lift sought by Defra

Defra is seeking a consultant to try and lift the profile of air quality among local decision makers – especially new public health boards.

Fog brings alerts and poor air quality

Elevated particle concentrations were measured across London and south-east England in mid October.

Directive exceedences grow

There are now quite a few sites busting the allowable 35 days-per-year exceedence allowance for PM10:

EEA seeks more NECD progress

Europe needs to do more to tackle air pollution, says the European Environment Agency.

Health boards warned on air pollution

Newly formed health and wellbeing boards and directors of public health are being urged to prioritise air quality.

Fairmode responds

The Fairmode group has responded to the review on EU air quality policy and makes many recommendations on modelling.

Welsh ponder FDMS alternatives

A report for Welsh Government has looked into possible replacements for troublesome FDMS particle measurement instruments.

Slight drop in monitor performance

There is has been a very slight drop in particle monitoring performance, statistics reveal.

Epuk minutes reveal ongoing battles

Minutes from the recent Environmental Protection UK annual general meeting reveal ongoing problems for the charity following its near-dissolution earlier this year (AQB December 2011 p1).

Welsh Government tells it straight

The Welsh Government has told local authorities that air quality should be given higher priority.

... but FoE disagrees

Friends of the Earth Cymru has criticised the Welsh Government for claiming air quality is improving. Last month Welsh

Future of guidance under review

Guidance – in limbo since the introduction of the new planning regime – is to be reviewed.

Councillors block SPG on air quality

Breckland Council has blocked adoption of special planning guidance on air quality fearing it will stifle development.

Protesters claim victory in Sainsbury’s battle

A hotly fought battle has seen a supermarket withdraw plans for expansion.

NI wants guidance

Northern Ireland has published new planning guidance aimed at protecting sensitive industries.

Back to court for cement protester

Rugby cement protester Lillian Pallikaropoulos has emerged from a further hearing in Europe on her claim that originally focused on excess pollution.

Williams restates diesel fears

Former head of Defra air quality Martin Williams has restated his concerns on the dominance of diesel.

Climate change health effects updated

The Health Protection Agency has updated its health effects of climate change analysis. Ozone deaths in the UK could rise from the current 11,900 a year to 15,000 by 2030.

SO2 how to

 The operators’ instruction manual has been reprinted for the old smoke and sulphur dioxide network (formerly the National Survey of Air Pollution) that operated between 1961 and 2005.

Speed consultation

The DfT is consulting on the revision of the Speed Limit Circular which contains speed limit setting rules.

Section 106 review

Section 106 planning agreements – some of which have been negotiated for use to fund air quality monitoring equipment – may be renegotiated under plans contained in the the new Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

Analyser web rental

Signal Group has just launched its new, fully interactive rental website.

Boroughs propose own plan

In an apparent snub to the London Mayor who is supposed to coordinate action, London councils have commissioned their own report into cost effective ways of improving air quality.

Hyder hi

Stephen Pyatt (pictured) has recently been appointed as air quality team leader at Hyder Consulting based in its Warrington office.

Personal ozone probes

Air Monitors has launched a new portable UV-based ozone personal monitor.

Air aware for Port Talbot

A new service, called Airaware, is currently being evaluated in Port Talbot which provides real-time pollution monitoring information to adults who suffer from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease to take action to protect their health when air pollution levels are raised.

Cold alert is launched in Sussex

Sussexair has launched a cold alerting service alongside its Airalert warning service.

Scottish progress on PM2.5 revisited

A report has been released on how Sepa can contribute towards meeting EU and UK exposure-reduction targets for fine particles.

Funding shake up mooted for Sepa

Sepa and Scottish Government are consulting on a new funding mechanism for environmental regulation north of the border.

Revihaap reviews

EU air quality policies WHO Europe is coordinating the international REVIHAAP project to provide the European Commission and its stakeholders with evidence-based advice on the health aspects of air pollution.

Aviation air quality costed

Talk of aviation expansion is re-igniting the debate about Heathrow air quality. Jack Pease samples the mood.

October 2012 Issue 78

Breaching despite extension

The UK’s time extension obtained in a bid to meet EU directives has failed to prevent further breaches in 2011.

Epuk AGM leaves continuing uncertainty

Epuk has held its first annual general meeting since becoming a near-voluntary organisation. Many issues remain unresolved.

Background changes

Background NO2 concentrations have been changed upwards – more than expected – but declining trends remain optimistic.

FDMS foibles

A report has listed the difficulties being experienced with FDMS Teoms in Wales with potential solutions.

Air Lords

Owen Paterson MP has been confirmed as the new environment secretary replacing Caroline Spelman.

Biomass bung revealed

Three consultations have been launched in England on the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) which encourages biomass. Air pollution impacts are costed at £90m a year.

Waste wood warning

The Breathe Clean Air Group is warning not to allow waste wood to be burnt.

Scotland sets out how it would like to see biomass expansion

Local authorities in Scotland have been given advice on how to deal with biomass.

AQC now 13

Air Quality Consultants Ltd now has 13 consultants making it one of the largest air quality specialists in the UK.

Clooney joins

Air Quality Monitors has expanded further into service and calibration with the appointment of Chris Clooney as a service engineer.

Highways planning changes

The Highways Agency has initiated a limited “technical review” on how it intends to handle air quality impacts.

State of the (polluted) union

An annual update of European air pollution has ranked pollutants according to their population impact.

Grant trickles out

Local authorities are now aware of provisional awards for air quality grant.

Agency tinkers with permit fees

The Environment Agency is consulting on changes to a small proportion of its permit fees.

MPs electric fears

MPs have criticised the take-up of non-polluting electric vehicles.

Disputed wind farm starts up

A wind farm has commenced operations prompting fears it will waft benzene downwards and cause possible exceedences.

Turn off campaign gathers momentum

Transport for London is ramping up its campaign to cut unnecessary vehicle idling in a bid to cut emissions.

McHugh move

Dr Christine McHugh has left Cerc to join AMEC Environment & Infrastructure (which absorbed Entec) as an associate director.

Budding writers?

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched a photo story competition ImaginAIR, giving a chance to show the impact of air quality and pollution in local areas of Europe.

SupportingU: and data too

SupportingU has bought the air quality data management business of Casella Monitor.

Welsh authorities properly fund action

Welsh Government has allocated £500,000 to support 14 local environment projects aimed at improving air quality and noise.

Olympics closure helps Putney High Street

With the London Mayor and the Government apt to blame Europe for bad pollution in London, it is worth studying a graph created by Kings College London showing the effect of the closure of Putney High Street for the Olympic cycle road race.

Aarhus victory

Air quality has featured in an argument about the Aarhus Convention.

Cleaner marine fuel

EU Parliament has agreed by a large majority to an amendment that aligns EU legislation with the stricter standards for sulphur content in marine fuels agreed in 2008 at the International Maritime Organisation.

Changes mask trends?

AQB invited Air Quality Consultants to assess the impact of recent changes to background pollution maps

Helpdesk sets out five updated tools & FAQs

Defra’s air quality helpdesk has updated five tools and three new frequently asked questions aimed at local authority assessments.

Waste fine

Essex composter Heatherland Limited has been fined £9,000 with £7,000 costs for burning waste and odour emissions.

FTIR for hire

The new Gasmet DX4040 portable FTIR multi-gas analyser is now available for hire from Quantitech.

Quantitech addition

Monitor firm Quantitech has added a further engineer to the company’s service team.

600 hybrids now ordered for London

Transport for London has approved purchase of 600 new hybrid buses for London over the next four years.

Bus shake up

Government is consulting on the shape of the regime to replace the Bus Service Operator’s Grant (BSOG).

Emissions. Going down?

Yearly government reports on air quality pollutants usually paint a rosy picture of improvements. This year is no different.

Which direction for AQB?

Readers have told us they prefer Air Quality Bulletin printed on real paper. But a small but growing number say they are going paperless. Here’s a plan!

September 2012 Issue 77

CAA abolition: one step too far?

Abolishing the Clean Air Act in the name of red tape cuts could have adverse consequences for air quality, an AEA report for Defra concludes.

Mouchel crashes but reborn, AEA wobbles

Consultant Mouchel, which has been struggling for years, went into administration – but has been quickly resurrected as a going concern.

Dutch LEZs disappoint

Another study has failed to show that low emission zones reduce pollutant concentrations.

ET markets indicative monitor

Enviro Technology is marketing a low cost indicative air quality monitoring system.

Air Monitors lowers the cost of monitoring

In response to public sector cutbacks, instrumentation company Air Monitors has announced that it will lower the cost of ambient air monitoring consumables until the end of 2012.

Dagenham plume rise

King’s College London ERG reported on a huge fire in East London with potential air quality impacts.

Euro 6 nears

Volvo Trucks is encouraging early take up of Euro 6 trucks.

Rushlight Awards

The annual Rushlight Awards for environmental excellence loom once again and entries are invited.

KPIs restate need for pollution reporting

Key performance indicators for companies will be shrunk from 22 to five in a bid to cut red tape. Air pollution gains increased relative importance in the streamlined corporate reporting guidance now out for consultation.

Fear no grounds for refusal

Fear of pollution – as opposed to actual pollution – has been discounted as a reason to refuse an incinerator.

Olympic pollution: High – low – high

Pollution alerts were in force as the main Olympic games started – and finished – but during the games pollution was relatively benign. There had been fears that hot weather and traffic changes could increase pollution and affect performance.

Climate links to air quality

Golder’s Sam Arnold reports on the recent ‘Measurement and standards to enable sustainable cities’ meeting organised by NPL last month at Arup’s offices in London.

Sweets, air fresheners and goodie bags

The City of London is backing up its Cityair campaign (AQB November 2011 p8) with specially commissioned ‘goodies’.

August 2012 issue 76

Comeap yields on deaths

The Committee on Medical Effects of Air Pollution has endorsed the use of local air pollution death estimates despite reservations they may not be wholly robust.

Hillingdon: M’ways cause 60% of NOx

TRL has completed an emissions database for the London Borough of Hillingdon to assess changes in emissions and fuel consumption of measures in their Transport Local Implementation Plan (LIP) and air quality action plan.

Air quality relegated

A new set of sustainable development indicators are proposed for consultation.

Directive appeal

Environmental law group ClientEarth has sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court to argue that EU air quality breaches are enforceable by UK courts rather than by Europe.

Cooking particles surprise

David Green of Kings College London opened the recent London Air Quality Network conference describing how new measurements of particulate are allowing better analysis of pollution.

Fuller looks back at health index change

It has now been six months since the air quality index changed. King’s College London’s Gary Fuller explained how King’s had quickly implemented the new index for its forecasts, and suggested that other providers had yet to change their systems.

Monitoring improves

There has been a marked improvement in the performance of particle monitors in the national network.

Fines outlined

The protocol by which local authorities could see EU fines passed on to them has been outlined.

Hot burst causes Olympic scare

A period of hot weather allowed a build up of pollution just as the London Olympics started. But a return to rainy weather allowed levels to subside.

New app for air warnings

Kings College London has launched an updated website and air pollution app.

Euro 6 probe

Europe is seeking tenderers for a study on implementing Euro 6 light-duty vehicle pollutant emission standards in the EU including a benchmark against international emission standards.

Australia advice

Air Quality Consultants, in partnership with local consultancy PAEHolmes has been awarded a contract by the New South Wales government to evaluate options for an exposure-reduction framework for the control of air quality in Australia.

Air quality expenditure rises in 2010

Capital expenditure on air quality rose in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available.

Chapman changes

Mark Chapman has joined Bureau Veritas’ air quality team from Mouchel. Chapman specialises in odour and LAQM work.

Subsidy cuts favour biomass

Biomass subsidies appear to have escaped relatively unscathed in the latest review of alternative energy policy. However boilers will now have to comply with emission limits if they are to get the subsidy.

UK environmental market stabilises

An annual review of the fortunes of UK environmental consultants show a hint of growth – this follows two years of falls (AQB Dec 2011 p6).

UK meets NEC pollution targets

The European Environment Agency has confirmed its preliminary analysis (AQB March p4) that while the UK met NEC limits for NOx, NMVOCs, SO2 and ammonia, 12 countries did not.

Cooking smell appeal

A restaurant seeking retrospective planning permission for change of use and installation of ventilation equipment has been turned down on appeal.

Dioxin released

A gasification energy from waste plant has been closed down following dioxin releases.

Report: Air is ‘forgotten crisis’

A report from the Policy Exchange, a UK think tank, says air quality is a forgotten crisis. Diesel and biomass are targeted among various recommendations.

UK knocks off 80% due to dust subtraction

A European Environment Agency report has compared the number of days member states avoid air quality exceedences because of naturally occurring dust.

Second green wall installed in London

A second ‘green wall’ has been installed at The Mermaid Theatre to help reduce traffic pollution.

Road Traffic Emissions Factors

The Air Quality Helpdesk has announced an updated version of the Emissions Factors Toolkit (v.5.1.1) has been released. This toolkit relies on revised emissions factors and vehicle fleet information (AQB January p1).

Padeswood: £500,000

A £500,000 investigation into Hanson Cement’s Padeswood works is to stop with investigators finding no health effects.

Green walls, big reductions

Green walls can produce dramatic reductions in pollution, an Institute of Air Quality Management meeting was told.

Petrol to follow diesel?

Diesel cars morphed from big and heavy to small and efficient and promised much – but delivered little – in the way of emission reductions. Will the same be true for petrol?

Parliament piles on pressure

Another committee of Parliamentary MPs have questioned efforts to tackle UK air quality

Diesel targeted in London Assembly probe into air quality

The London assembly environment committee has also held an inquiry into air quality in the Capital. Much focus was on the need to control diesel vehicles.

July 2012 Issue 75

Europe rejects UK extensions

As AQB went to press, the EU has ruled on the UK’s bid for NO2 deadline extensions. Many are rejected with particular criticism for local low emission zone policies.

Three boroughs push hard on cabs

Three London boroughs have joined together to urge the London Mayor to get tough on taxi emissions.

Parliament scrutiny

Also as AQB went to press, MPs were questioning officials and campaigners about air quality.

Objective breached

A second pollution monitoring site has exceeded the critical 35 days exceedences on PM10.

Air key issue in framework

Speaking to the Iapsc conference held in London last month, Defra air quality manager Robert Vaughan has explained the importance of air quality to the Public Health Outcomes Framework – and vice versa.

North Lanarks in Scottish AQMA revocation

North Lanarkshire Council has become the first council in Scotland to successfully revoke an air quality management area.

Fit for purpose?

A report says environmental legislation in the UK is becoming increasingly fragmented.

No change for heavy metals in 2011

The formal report listing concentrations of heavy metals in 2011 shows little change.

Cockermouth OK despite smell

A large development at Cockermouth that was refused planning permission on odour grounds will now go ahead after an appeal.

Casella pulls out of ambient gas analysers

Monitor firm Casella has withdrawn from the manufacture and supply of reference method gas analysers for air quality monitoring (previously operated under the Casella Monitor brand name). Casella sold its network support operations to Enviro Technology recently (AQB May p1).

‘True’ cost of UK monitoring?

Ever asked how much monitoring costs and met by much sucking through teeth and ‘that depends’?

New campaign group

A new campaign group has been set up to influence air quality policy.

Waste burning fine

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has prosecuted James Moffat Cunningham for burning controlled waste, namely wood, plastics, plasterboard, fibreboard and other mixed waste. He was given a 160 hour community service order at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Public health

CIEH has released a report outlining how public health services in England might be delivered from April 2013. From that date public health is being brought under the responsibility of local authorities and Public Health England.

Where are the bad air warnings?

Clean Air in London is bemoaning the continued lack of bad air quality warnings in London.

Heat incentive linked to boiler performance

The renewable heat incentive is set to include emission limits on biomass boilers.

Biomass conversion

AEA has been commissioned by Defra to produce a ‘ready reckoner’ for converting biomass boiler measurements from NOx /PM10 concentrations to ‘per giga joule’.

AQM Ltd wins Hinkley monitoring work

Air Quality Monitors Limited of Exeter is supplying EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point development with indicative particulate monitors.

EPA PM2.5 plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a tightening of PM2.5 standards – but 99% of air quality areas already meet the toughened standard.

US airtext

The American Lung Association has released an edgy public service advertising campaign featuring provocative television, online and out-of-home channels to encourage people to download the charity’s new State of the Air smartphone application,

Acid rain policies have worked

Chemicals in the air have largely declined as a result of acid rain policies, a report concludes.

Mesh to sample hotspots

Air Monitors, working in partnership with a team from the Cambridge University and Geotech, will soon be launching a new air quality monitoring system.

ET webshop

Air quality monitoring specialist Enviro Technology has launched an online shopping portal for common consumable items and small, handheld ‘out of the box’ monitoring equipment.

Guidance on Inspire

The European Environment Agency has released a report explaining how air quality data should be prepared for the Inspire data directive.

Cancer risk confirmed

Monographs on cancer may sound dull but can assume great importance. They’ve been recast and equivocally blame diesel for causing cancer.

Hints emerge in EU review

A series of consultation responses on the EU air quality review may suggest the shape of things to come

June 2012 Issue 74

Grant agreed: £2m to share out

Local authorities have breathed a sigh of relief as £2m of grant money has been made available for 2012-13. The grants are very popular and are usually three-times oversubscribed.

The real cost of removing monitors?

Researchers have attempted to put a cost on the impact of removing air quality monitors. An increasing number of local authorities are pulling out of monitoring because of budget cuts.

Grants to aid air and noise in Wales

Welsh Government has announced a new £500,000 grant scheme linked to air quality and noise.

Appeal fails

ClientEarth has failed in a bid to get UK courts to enforce EU air quality legislation.

Bus lane removal worsens air

A Highways Agency analysis supports the permanent abolition of the M4 bus lane near Heathrow despite a rise in emissions. Campaigner Simon Birkett of the Clean Air in London campaign says it is unacceptable to agree a proposal that worsens air quality in the face of continued breaches of EU air quality limit values.

Housing allowed despite odour fears

A further appeal has been won by a developer seeking to build 101 dwellings near a sewage treatment works in Stanton, Suffolk.

Indicator finalised

The final air quality indicators for 2011 are now available and show little change on the provisional set (16 urban bad air days rather than 17, AQB February p3).

Agency reveals ‘showstoppers’

The Environment Agency has revealed draft guidance for those industrial installations that need both a permit and planning permission.

Hot weather prompts highs. Two days to go?

Recent hot weather has prompted more pollution.

Fire impacts picked up by LA monitoring

Local authority monitoring networks were consulted following a recent chemical fire on the Greenwich Peninsular.

New thoughts on FDMS reliability

FDMS monitor firm Air Monitors says maintenance procedures could be behind past problems with FDMS Teoms.

ADMS updated

Cerc has announced that ADMS-Airport version 3.1 has been released. Meanwhile a new release on ADMS-STAR is also available.

Testing in Canterbury and London

Canterbury City Council will be carrying out remote emission testing to better characterise vehicles contributing to pollution near the city’s AQMA.

Testing with fines returns to the streets

South Lanarkshire Council’s environmental services team is carrying out a series of roadside vehicle emissions tests throughout the district.

UK makes formal reports to EU

AEA modelling of UK heavy metals for 2010 and 2009 has shown continued exceedences.

Coal clamp down

The Government says its energy shake-up takes account of the need to avoid burning too much coal with a consequent rise in emissions.

Mapping public health

The Health Protection Agency is contributing to a public health map for Europe, with a focus on environmental factors.

Anti-80mph campaign grows

A coalition of safety and environmental organisations has been formed to protest against plans to increase the motorway speed limit.

Modern diesel exhaust ‘mild’?

A report from the respected US Health Effects Institute has been interpreted as suggesting diesel exhaust from new technology vehicles is safe.

Steelworks study

The Environment Agency has released 2011 monitoring data taken in Port Talbot.

Sulphur agreement

 The European Council and the European Parliament has reached a provisional agreement on the sulphur content of marine fuels.

Peel appeals

Peel Energy, which wants to build an incinerator in Davyhulme near Manchester, is to appeal against Trafford Council’s refusal of planning permission earlier this year.

AQC wins

Air Quality Consultants Ltd has been awarded a contract by the London Borough of Hillingdon to identify and evaluate measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations at specified hotspots in the borough, and within the wider area surrounding Heathrow Airport.

Leicester looks at London air

Leading air quality medics, statisticians and modellers met up for their annual two day conference at Cranfield last month. The Institute of Environmental Health hosts the two day conference which contains much unpublished thinking on air quality and health.

Waste site contributes 27% of PM10

Kings College London has studied the impact of a Lewisham waste processing site on air quality.

Airship sensor

The European Commission-funded research project PEGASOS (Pan-European Gas AeroSOL Climate Interaction Study) will use an airship (blimp) to monitor air chemistry across Europe.

EP Scotland takes shape

More details are emerging of the future shape of Environmental Protection UK since its demise as a trading enterprise in March.

Gothenburg Protocol tightened: PM2.5 in

The Gothenburg Protocol has been tightened, albeit not as much as many would have hoped. PM2.5 is drawn in for the first time.

AQ-style duties for climate change?

The Committee in Climate Change is suggesting that councils should have statutory duties to cut greenhouse gas emissions (not unlike what happens with air quality).

LESP reshapes

The local authority grouping which sprang out of a Government best practice programme on air quality is considering its future.

New portable analyser

Gasmet Technologies has launched the DX4040.

Mayor’s lieutenant

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s environment boss Kulveer Ranger is being replaced by Matthew Pencharz. He is a former BBC producer.

Reports look at tree benefits

Air quality benefits are lauded in new reports on trees and resilience

Olympic alerts

Plans have been put in place to inform Olympic organisers about air quality problems during the games period.

Hydrogen mix

ITM Power and The Hardstaff Group have announced that they are to develop a hydrogen compressed natural gas (HCNG) fuel system for heavy goods vehicles. Hardstaff has pioneered the use of biomethane in its distribution fleet.

May 2012 Issue 73

Network support shock

The air quality monitoring marketplace has been given a jolt with the news that Casella has sold its network support operation to Enviro Technology.

New background maps lift pollution by 30%?

New background maps have been published. Samples studied by AQB show a sharp increase in concentrations – by as much as a third.

UK Government in court again

Environmental justice group ClientEarth is once again back in the High Court seeking to bring the Government to account on its record on air quality.

Significance test in High Court

An incinerator approval decision will stand – despite long arguments on the use by the Environment Agency of its 1% significance criteria for air quality impacts.

New style Epuk(s) take shape. Members to pay half?

Epuk trustees have been working behind the scenes in a bid to relaunch Environmental Protection UK on a reduced fee, semi-voluntary basis.

Call for input on Clean Air Act revamp

In one of its first activities since the demise of Epuk in it’s old form, the new Epuk is seeking comments on the planned deregulation of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act plans were flagged up in the recent resolution of the Red Tape Challenge (AQB April p7).

Odour prompts Ombudsman rap

Dudley MBC has been told by the Ombudsman to pay £7,000 compensation to residents near a foundry due to odour and noise. The council’s unwillingness to prosecute a permitted process because of potential loss of jobs was at the heart of the dispute.

Another day, another landfill odour fine!

Odour from landfill has once again caused problems for residents, regulators and operators.

NI odour guidance

Guidance has been issued on odour for Northern Ireland sewage treatment works.

Neasden leads UK PM10 breach

A UK monitoring site has breached the 35 allowable days of PM10 pollution. The breach (37 days) at Neasden Lane, in Brent, North London, was widely anticipated (AQB April p3).

CAL guide to London air quality politics

Simon Birkett of the Campaign for Clean Air in London has produced advice on who to vote for in the London Mayoral elections based on air quality pledges.

Leicester looks at London air

University of Leicester researchers are set to use their DOAS technology to monitor the impact of increased traffic on pollution levels in London during the Olympics.

Air alert assists docks fire assessment

ERG’s Airalert system has been used in a bid to assess impacts of a fire at Southampton Docks which generated much smoke.

UK deaths: up to £62bn a year health cost?

An analysis of UK pollution and health impacts by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that premature deaths are valued between £6bn and £62bn a year.

Forecasting accuracy bombs, admits AEA

Two reviews of forecasting have been released by Defra, covering 2010 and 2009 data.

Oxford, Cambridge. Now York

‘Nice’ cities seem to be bearing the brunt of poor air quality – York is the latest to try to tackle deteriorating air quality

Aspire arrives

Aspire Measurement is a new UK company focused on supplying solutions targeted at the air monitoring and measurement market.

Solvents fine

A Durham engineering firm has been ordered to pay almost £11,000 for failing to comply with solvent regulations.

Dublin on coal

Eire is consulting on smoky coal regulations which have been behind dramatic improvements in air quality and health in Dublin.

Healthy move

ClientEarth has confirmed that it will manage and continue to develop the HealthyAir Campaign. ClientEarth is currently suing the Government on air quality

Kendal to try NOx eating paving

A town centre regeneration project is to use NOx eating paving in a bid to improve air quality.

Canny Scots

SEPA has frozen permit charges for the second year in a row.

New calibrator

Quantitech has launched a new hand-held calibrator; the TCR Tecora Flowcal, which has been developed to enable the fast, accurate calibration of high volume air samplers.

Signal grid

CEMS Signal Group is supplying a mobile monitoring laboratory to National Grid, the third ordered by the firm.

Sector guidance

Defra is consulting on guidance notes for various industrial sectors, including metals and minerals.

Heathrow probe

London Assembly members, fearing further expansion at Heathrow, have revisited the issue of air quality.

Eurodata update

The European Commission and the European Environment Agency has published updated information on releases and transfers of pollutants from industrial installations included in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).

Car clubs cut emissions, says TRL

A TRL study of car clubs has shown club members make fewer journeys and so are responsible for fewer emissions than non club members.

April 2012 Issue 72

Planning framework out

The National Planning Policy Framework is finally out. It replaces 1,500 pages of guidance such as that in PPS23 with 50 pages of top-level strategic policy.

High pollution: 35 days looms

The recent spell of sunny weather has led to a large number of high and very high pollution alerts in London.

Budget removes diesel penalty

The company car tax penalty for diesel powered cars is to be removed, it was revealed in the Budget.

Odour leads to Ombudsman rap

Odour and noise from a farm in Durham has led to the local authority being fined and censured.

Wales says LAQM must respect noise impacts

Welsh Government has issued explicit guidance to local authorities that air quality policies should take into account noise.

Odour appeal rejects thresholds

An important High Court appeal has rejected reliance on fixed numbers of complaints as an indication of nuisance.

Agency starts on waste guidance update

The Environment Agency is to update guidance on air quality monitoring near waste sites. It has asked RPS’s Jon Pullen to revise and update the M17 Technical Guidance Note which covers monitoring of particulate matter around waste management facilities.

Ecostars for Gedling

Gedling Borough Council is the first council in the East Midlands to adopt the Ecostars scheme which encourages transport operators to clean up their vehicles.

Waste sites over-triggering high alerts

Analysis of recent episodes by Kings College London ERG suggests that monitoring sites near waste transfer stations are causing too many high alerts under the new banding system introduced in the New Year (AQB January p4). ERG notes that ‘other providers’ continue to use out of date methods.

ERG makes Youtube film on new bandings

Kings College ERG has made a short film to explain the use of pollution warnings and the new banding system.

Olympics makes things better?

An analysis of the impacts of imposing traffic restrictions for the London Olympic games has shown that some areas could see better air quality, and others worse.

Simon says: Spelman should resign

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett says environment secretary Caroline Spelman should resign for misleading the European Commission over UK air quality plans.

Euro top ten air policies

Ten principles for clean air have been released by top European academics ahead of review of air quality legislation.

Airtext applauded in City awards

Airtext was runner up in this year’s Sustainable City air quality award organised by the Corporation of London. Last year Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London won the award (AQB March 2011 p1).

More on Pasodoble

The PASODOBLE project has created a new tool that allows health professionals to monitor the day-to-day risks posed by short-term exposure to main urban air pollutants.

Heathrow air

The London Assembly has released a new report outlining concerns about air quality and noise around Heathrow. The report comes as there is renewed speculation that the decision not to build a third runway at Heathrow may be reversed.

Long van journey

Zero emission electric vans have a long way to go before they are cheap enough to compete with diesel, suggests a report. I

Air quality escapes further cuts

Air quality appears to have escaped further cuts in the latest Budget and red tape announcements

Bus advice for councils

Official advice has been given on buses for those trying to improve air quality.

Fuller fills in the public

Is ERG’s Gary Fuller the Brian Cox of air quality? We interviewed him to find out

£101m bus bung

Winners have been announced in the third round of the Government’s Green Bus Fund where operators were allowed to bid for up to 80% of the cost difference between the low-carbon bus and its diesel equivalent.

BSOG going

The Government announced that the Bus Service Operators Grant, with subsidies linked to fuel use, is to be replaced. Some say this grant dis-incentivised cleaner buses.

IED: 7 into 1

Defra is consulting on transposition of the Industrial Emissions Directive which pulls together seven existing directives.

Wandsworth checks

Wandsworth Council is carrying out free vehicle exhaust checks at a supermarket.

Health lottery

London Councils warn that boroughs will get wildly differing public health funding under the proposed new system.

Smart Eye online

The smart eye traffic monitoring system is now compatible with Envirologger products.

Ozone problems

Ozone exceedences in Europe were less frequent in summer 2011 than in any year since monitoring started in 1997.

Act now says OECD

Despite the recession, the OECD says countries should take action now to avoid irreversible damage to the environment.

March 2012 issue 71

Government rejects MPs

The Government has rejected key findings of MPs who have criticised air quality policy.

Landmark Sheffield judgement set for appeal

Supermarket firm Sainsbury’s looks set to challenge an appeal decision which concluded it could not expand a store in Sheffield because of incremental traffic impacts on air quality.

FAQ rejig as reassurance given on factors

Frequently asked questions on the topic of local air quality management have been rejigged on the air quality helpdesk website.

Electric van grants give low emission hope

Van buyers will now be able to receive 20% – worth up to £8,000 – off the cost of a first wave of seven different models of plug-in electric vans.

Wales ponders NO2 failure

AEA has released a report outlining the implications for Wales due to the failure of NO2 and NOX to fall as predicted.

Just like UK, EPA sued for standards ‘failure’

Echoing what has happened here in the UK, the US Environmental Protection Agency is being sued for failing to improve air quality. Last year ClientEarth sued the UK Government for failure to comply with EU directives which ended broadly in favour of the Government (AQB January p1).

Rendering odours lead to £35,000 fine

Ulster Farm By-Products, an animal rendering operation near Glenavy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was fined a total of £35,000 plus court costs at the Lisburn Magistrates Court last month.

Odour 1.5 OU/m3 dropped

Specific reference to an odour standard of 1.5OUE/m3 has been dropped from the final version of the Waste Water National Policy Statement (NPS) now published.

Very high in NI

Meanwhile in early February, high to very high levels of air pollution were being monitored in the Newry area of Northern Ireland. Moderate levels are also being recorded in Armagh, Londonderry and North Down.

More pollution

The cycle of high pollution prompted by January’s cold weather (AQB February p3) spilled over into the following month, Kings College ERG says.

Toolkit tenders

The Low Emission Strategies Partnership (LESP) is looking for consultants to carry out a review of its low emission toolkit.

Stats show air quality worsening

More details about UK emissions have emerged, complementing those released in the New Year (AQB January p2). Long term comparisons remain favourable, but comparisons with more recent data suggest some pollutants are rising – dioxins by 14%.

AURN better

There has been a slight improvement in data capture in the automatic urban and rural monitoring network.

Model talk?

European modellers in the Fairmode group have produced a further draft to their modelling guide.

UK meets 2010 NEC limits

The UK met emission limits set under the EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive.

New look for pollution information system

A UK web database which covers the impacts of air pollution on the natural environment has been given a revamp.

New technology for Liverpool

2020 Liverpool, a public-private partnership between Liverpool City Council and Mouchel, is working with the council on a trial project involving sensors measuring traffic pollution in two areas of the city.

Leicester to take part in £2.4m project

Leicester will be a lead city in a £2.4m project aimed at cutting transport emissions.

Toolkit help to take buses low carbon

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has created a toolkit to help councils choose low carbon buses.

Cleaner fuels closer

A key vote in the European Parliament brings cleaner ship fuels a step closer.

WHO inequalities

The World Health Organisation has released a report on environmental health inequalities in Europe.

Consultants merge

Royal Haskoning and DHV intend to merge to create a top 10 independently owned global engineering consultancy, (and within the top 40 overall).

Scotland joins text revolution

More details have emerged about Scotland’s new Know & Respond air pollution forecast system (AQB February p3).

Public health advice

CIEH has produced suggestions on how environmental health professionals can engage with the new public health service.

Local transport funds

Local communities and businesses could be given control of decisions and budgets for major local transport schemes.

EIAs clarified

The European Commission has brought together all existing EU legislation governing environmental impact assessments to simplify the process.

Northern Ireland PAH problems analysed

PAH concentrations in Northern Ireland continue to cause concern, says the Northern Ireland Government.

Limp excuses on air?

Late last year MPs were not impressed at the Government’s inaction on air quality. Government doesn’t appear to be about to change tack. Jack Pease takes a weary look at the excuses

Oxford forges ahead with LEZ

The Government thinks that local low emission zones are the way forward to cut NO2. Oxford may be ahead of the game

February 2012 Issue 70

Air included as indicator

Air quality looks set to become an indicator within the new public health performance framework.

Pollutants cut from inventory

As part of the deregulation agenda, the Environment Agency is consulting on reducing the number of substances in the pollution inventory.

Name change for PPG1

The Environment Agency is renaming PPG1, the pollution prevention guidance note currently known as the General guide to the prevention of pollution. It will renamed Introducing pollution prevention: PPG1.

Putney bus shock

Buses in Putney High Street form two thirds of NOx emissions, Wandsworth Council and TRL have found.

No idling launch

TfL has launched a no engine idling campaign. It urges drivers of all vehicles to “make a small change” and switch off their engines when they are parked or when picking up and dropping off people or goods, reducing the amount of unnecessary and harmful exhaust fumes emitted.

Bus retrofit to catch NOx

NOX has been cut by 88% and PM10 by 77% in retrofit trials on London buses. Based on that success, a thousand more London buses will be retrofitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment which reduces NOX.

Another green wall

A second green wall is now set to be built on the Mermaid Theatre at Blackfriars on Upper Thames Street in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Council fine consultation

The Government is consulting on procedures for passing EU fines (such as for breaching the air quality directive) on to local authorities.

New calibrator

Quantitech has launched a new hand-held calibrator; the TCR Tecora Flowcal, which has been developed to enable the fast, accurate calibration of high volume air samplers.

Indicator released. Not good

The provisional air quality indicator for 2011 has been released. As usual, the indicator highlights the long term improvement in trends – but this good news is increasingly being countered by worsening or static pollution in recent years.

Cold weather brings high pollution

Kings College ERG has reported a series of high pollution episodes brought on by cold weather.

Scotland gets texting

Scotland now has a version of the English Airalert air quality information scheme.

London monitoring

The Association of London Environmental Health Managers (ALEHM) has called for greater partnership between the Mayor and the boroughs on the London air quality network (LAQN).

Sefton sweeps the streets

Road sweeping and cleaning is having some success at reducing dust and PM10 in Merseyside.

Another incinerator study set up by HPA

Just over two years after the Health Protection Agency released a report saying incinerators are safe, it is commissioning more research to see if they are still safe.

Epuk EGM points way forward

The Extraordinary General Meeting of Epuk revealed a “remarkable degree of unanimity” to continue Epuk as a voluntary organisation following closure proposals (AQB December p1).

Epuk sets out CHP boiler guidelines

Epuk has produced guidelines on combined heat and power (CHP) installations. The move is perhaps the final output from Epuk in its current form before it is wound down to a voluntary organisation (see above).

Transcript released

The official transcript for the High Court legal challenge to Government’s plans to tackle air quality has been released – it suggests the Government is in an “unhappy position”.

SCR is the way to go

Selective catalytic reduction is the favoured technology for a certification scheme, a report suggests.

UWE launches innovative MSc

The University of the West of England Air Quality Management Resource Centre is launching a new MSc which it believes is the first of its kind.

Heathrow recasts strategy

Heathrow has laid out its new air quality strategy. It reports some success but continues to blame others for poor air quality.

Permitting cut

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman says she has no knowledge of talks between her department and others about condensing thousands of pages of environmental regulation down to 50.

Electronic nose sniffs out odour pollution

Enviro Technology is marketing an “electronic nose” to sniff out industrial odour.

California cleaning

California has agreed tougher LEV III advanced clean car emission standards that will cut emissions of smog precursors from cars by 75% from 2015.

Edinburgh Ecostars

Awards have been given to fleets operating in Edinburgh to reward them for their green credentials.

Chichester talks

Chichester Council and SussexAir are jointly organising a conference on public health.

back to top

January 2012 Issue 69

Emission factors junked

DfT emission factors are no more. They are to be replaced by European factors which better reflect real life.

Why are emissions so wrong?

Kings College London’s David Carslaw has been instrumental in uncovering the problems with emission factors.

Factor changes listed in NAEI

The impact of emission factor changes (see above) has been listed in an annex to the latest (2010) release of the National Atmospheric Emission Inventory (NAEI).

Rise and fall in 2010

Targets have been met for a basket of pollutants although one – sulphur dioxide – rose in 2010, the main NAEI report reveals.

Mayor to spread more glue to stick PM10

Dust suppressants are to be used outside problematic waste transfer sites and building developments, the London Mayor has announced.

Off the hook

The High Court fight against Government plans to comply with EU air pollution directives has ended with both sides claiming victory.

LEZ toughened in London

The London low emission zone has been toughened from the New Year and now applies to vans as well as trucks and buses. When the LEZ was first introduced, vans were supposed to be included from October 2010.

£10m clean up for London buses

TfL and the DfT are contributing £5m each to equip up to 1,000 London buses with NOX traps.

Green wall revealed

The London Mayor has revealed a ‘stunning’ green wall intended to mop up air pollution at Edgware Road.

More highs from index change

Government has accepted recommendations for changes to the air quality index that could increase the number of reported moderate and high events. It will be renamed the Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI).

Future hope for Healthy Air Campaign

The Healthy Air Campaign looks is set to survive the collapse of its key sponsor Environmental Protection UK which is to cease trading in March (AQB December 2011 p1).

AQB ‘yardstick’ shows a worsening for 2011

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 and some weeks before official indicators are produced.

Kelly replaces Ayres at Comeap

King’s College London’s Frank Kelly has become chairman of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (Comeap). He replaces Jon Ayres.

Mogden odour back in court

The long running Mogden odour case has been back in the High Court with residents winning modest damages which may provide useful precedent for future nuisance cases.

Time limit twist for compliance

London looks set to have complied with the PM10 directive – but only because of higher limits allowed because a time extension was granted, freedom of information documents suggest.

£1.2m grant boost for councils

In a surprise announcement, air quality grant to councils has been boosted by £1.186m.

UK wheels and deals in Brussels?

Speaking at the recent RSC AAMG meeting held in London, Defra’s Helen Ainsworth appeared to suggest that the UK may well prefer to argue for weaker air policy in Brussels, which is considering revisions to the directive.

AQC & Aether win LAQM thinkpiece

Air Quality Consultants and Aether have won a Defra contract to review the effectiveness of local authority air quality action plans and future policy options for local air quality management.

Carbon capture rise

The increased energy required for carbon capture and storage could worsen air pollution, a report from the European Environment Agency states.

European industrial pollution costed

Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost between €102 and €169bn in 2009, the European Environment Agency (EEA) claims.

Better buses

A £50m Better Bus fund has been launched.

PVR guidance

Guidance has been produced explaining regulations on the PVR2 directive which covers petrol stations.

Agency pinned down

The Highways Agency has released data on M25 air quality levels following a freedom of information request.

OPAL runner up

The Open Air Laboratories project (OPAL) was recognised as one of the UK’s best environment projects at the National Lottery Awards

Average exposure

Target PM2.5 baselines on which reductions will be based are discussed in a new report.

Sepa switch

SEPA’s director of science and strategy Professor James Curran has become its new chief executive following the resignation of existing chief executive Dr Campbell Gemmell.

Scottish background

Projected Scottish background maps for NOx, NO2 and PM10 for 2010, 2015, and 2020, have been published.

UWE approved

UWE’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre has had its MSc on air quality and carbon management approved.

Trees: the pollution solution?

Another academic paper has emerged extolling the virtues of using trees to cut air pollution.

Building sites: how to assess

Construction and demolition sites have air quality impacts that need to be assessed, says the IAQM

go to previous headlines  pre-2011