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September 2020 Issue 173

Leeds to drop clean air zone

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

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

Air quality damage costs updated

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

Watchdog needed

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

Incinerator challenge

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

Traffic rising

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

Ancient woodlands damaged

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

Recent heatwave sets of network ‘highs’

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

Activist toolkit

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

Red tape defence

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

CHP omission

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

Planning: less ‘red tape’, more growth

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

PHE to be abolished

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

Air and noise in Oxford

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

County cuts

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

EPS co-chairs

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

Government response lacking

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

Wales analyses Covid effect

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

Real world biofuel emissions up

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

Epuk MPs’ demands

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

Lockdown emissions remain low in London

Lockdown emissions have remained low despite traffic increases.

Covid link weaker than thought

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

Target setting for green Bill

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

£3m Indoor probe

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

Wales ploughs ahead on air

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

English LAQM updates

Many guidance notes for LAQM have been updated including:






August 2020  Headlines       Issue 171







July 2020  Headlines       Issue 171

Parcel tax to cut emissions?

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

Early findings from Aqeg Covid probe

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

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

Scottish delay

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

Manchester delay

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

Fifth MPs inquiry on air quality

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

...and audit committee looks at greening

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

MPs plea to Government on lowered pollution

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

Cars bad

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

New data provider

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

Zephyr for Oxford

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

MPs plea to Government on lowered pollution

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

Lockdown pollution discussed

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

High pollution

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

Croydon dust

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

Fast track clean air measures

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

CO2 rising due to larger vehicles

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

Roads challenge

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

ADMS major update

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

Air quality sinks Reading HMO

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

Congestion charge toughened to preserve air

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

Central Beds gets new sensors

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

Business advice

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

Clean trucks

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

Airspeck assesses Covid impact

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

Lung relief

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

New Manchester sensor network shows drop

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

Technology has air downside

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

Hydrogen plea

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

Construction extension

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

Rail firms play catch-up

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

NO2 worsens Covid risk

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

Covid virus on PM

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

Stove exchange schemes fail

Subsidies for stove replacement may not work.