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Apr 2019 Headlines       Issue 156

Heathrow judicial review starts

Air quality is a key ground in the current high profile judicial review of the decision to approve expansion at Heathrow Airport.

Natural England unlocks Wealden housing

Housing developments near the sensitive Ashdown Forest look set to become far easier to bring forward under Natural England’s diluted policies.

ULEZ looms

The Central London ULEZ begins on 8 April 2019. It covers the central London area covered by the congestion charge (as opposed to the wider greater London area covered by the existing low emission zone).
It will introduce the “toughest emission standards of any world city”.

More directions

Government has issued directions to more local authorities requiring them to carry out feasibility studies as part of the UK NO2 plan. Many authorities have fallen behind deadlines for complying with the plan.

PM10 breach

Kings College London has announced that London has breached EU limit values – due to daily PM10. Usually breaches are due to hourly NO2 (yet to occur this year).

NICE finalises ‘standard’

NICE – which sets guidelines and standards on health – has finalised its air quality ‘standard’.

14 share £25m

14 local authorities will share £25 million from the Clean Bus Technology Fund.

NPPF habitats

The revised National Planning Policy Framework was updated on 19 February 2019 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied

All councils given legal warning

Clientearth has warned 38 local authorities of the legal consequences of not tackling air pollution. Election purdah is not an excuse for inaction, Clientearth warns.

20mph limited impact on air quality

A comprehensive review of research on the impact of 20mph limits has been released.

£56m research pot

A £56 million research programme has been launched on public health.

CAZ acceptance

A car finance firm has found “worrying” public confusion over clean air zones just days ahead of the introduction of London’s low emission zone. But most accepted the need for zones.

Schoolkids wear air backpacks

Primary school pupils will carry special backpacks with novel air quality sensors on their journey to and from school in London.

Ten London hospitals will be monitored

 Ten London hospitals in polluted areas are to receive new air quality monitors – also part of the Breathe London project (see news above).

Committee will have teeth says Gove

A proposed post-Brexit environment watchdog will have teeth, claim environment ministers Michael Gove and Thérèse Coffey.

Clean Air Act

London Councils has been working on developing new clean air legislation proposals with the boroughs since last year.

MEPs urge action

The European Parliament has backed a motion supporting a tightening of EU air quality laws.

Herts and Beds

A new ‘Herts & Beds Air Pollution Alert System’ website and notification service will be run by Ricardo.


Two roadside sites exceeded annual mean NO2 objectives in Northern Ireland in 2017, the Northern Ireland annual report just released notes.

NO2 bias prompts Scots probe

Air Quality Consultants has studied diffusion tube bias changes that were thought might flatter pollution findings

Five day episode sees multiple highs

A five-day particle pollution episode affected London and most of the UK. The UK recently breached its PM10 daily allowance limit allowed under the directive (see p1).

Basildon speed

Basildon has rejected introducing a charging clean air zone – but will use speed limits to tackle pollution hotspots on the A127 in Essex.

Ammonia inventory

Defra has released ammonia inventories for 2017 and 2016 as required under EU reporting rules.

Zones reported

The UK has set out zones that pass and fail under EU air quality reporting rules for 2016 and 2017.

Barrier evidence builds case

News that Highways England is considering £80m air quality barriers has prompted huge interest. Jack Pease finds evidence that suggests more modest barriers can do some good

Smog stopper?

Steve Barnes of Gramm Barriers is promoting Smogstop as an effective barrier. It has a double wall to act as a baffle which directs polluted air over photocatalytic coatings to increase the impact.

Barriers webinar

Researcher John Gallagher has been behind many of the studies on air quality barriers and is now at the University of Dublin.

PHE rambles on about benefits

In the latest attempt by medics to tell air quality professionals how they should do their job, Jack Pease wades through 263 pages plus annexes of Public Health England’s rather-too-late advice on air quality interventions

Clean stoves may be unclean

Even clean woodburning stoves may not be clean if used badly, researchers suggest.