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November 2020 Issue 175

Free range hens breach limits

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

WFH could worsen heating NOx emissions

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

PM kills infants

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

NI air improves

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

Welsh speed limits cut pollution

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

LAQM to embrace ‘partners’?

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

SEPA sets out online modelling tools

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

No Leeds zone is confirmed

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

Odours, but not health effects, in Southall

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

London tops social costs ranking

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

‘Simple’ health impacts guide

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

Schools monitored

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

Pollutant reporting

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

BAT post Brexit

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

MPs lay into JAQU and agency

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

‘Bevgate’ looms

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

How to handle ‘post peak’ NO2

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

MPs hear concerns on environment bill

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

Green infrastructure

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

London progress continues apace

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