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January 2020  Headlines       Issue 165

New network for NO2 monitoring

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

Monitoring unpicked at 2019 AAMG meeting

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

Noise as proxy

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

Stop stop start?

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

Airport ultrafines

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

London sensing network

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

‘Microplastics’ warning for air in London

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

Wade sentenced

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

Queen’s Speech

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

Budget date

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

Incineration BAT

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

Ashdown Forest prompts habitats headache

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

Nitrogen arguments rejected

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

Zero emission street draws closer

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

Brexit Bill

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

Jail possibility

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

European air

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

Air directive survives fitness check

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

Fuller looks forward on air quality

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

New thoughts from Fuller’s re-released pollution book

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

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

Wales goes its own way

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

Noise and air linked as ‘airborne pollution’

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

children and human right to breath clean air

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

WHO underestimates deaths

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