Air Quality Consultation (UK)

My recent posts (in the Air category) cover (a) the decision of the European Court to prosecute the UK as respects Nitrogen Dioxide in ambient air, and (b) the UK Supreme Court decision mandating the UK government to bring forward plans to rectify it’s non-compliance with the European NO2 air quality standard. 

The UK is compliant for nearly all air pollutants. However, it is a significant challenge to meet the NO2 limit values in some areas. The EU Ambient Air Quality Directive (AQD) sets limits on key air pollutants, for NO2, there are two limit values for the protection of human health:
(i) annual mean concentration levels of NO2 should not exceed 40μg/m3; and
(ii) hourly mean concentration levels of NO2 should not exceed 200μg/m3 more than 18 times a calendar year.

The UK is divided into 43 zones and agglomerations for air quality monitoring and reporting purposes. In 2013, 38 out of the 43 UK zones were assessed to be exceeding the maximum annual limit for NO2, together with one zone exceeding the hourly limit.

Road transport is the dominant source of pollution in areas where the UK is exceeding NO2 limit values, although the effects of urban and regional background non-transport sources are also relevant.

The UK government is consulting (Scotland is conducting its own consultation):

The consultation comprises:

(1) A consultation document that summarises the key elements from the draft plans (draft air quality plans for each agglomeration) and identifies the main areas where views are sought;

(2) A draft UK overview document that sets out the UK’s approach for meeting NO2 limit values in the shortest possible time;

(3) Draft plans to improve air quality in each of the 38 zones exceeding the annual mean limit value for NO2. The zone plans contain the information required by the Ambient Air Quality Directive, describe the compliance situation for each zone and include more detailed information on measures being taken at a local level.

The England, Wales and Northern Ireland consultation document is found here.

The Scotland consultation document is found here.

The draft UK overview document is found here.

The draft Air Quality Plans are found here.

Please note the draft Air Quality Plan for the Greater London Urban Area refers to the London Mayor’s new Ultra Low Emissions Zone. I will post about this separately.

Please note I will post about the diesel passenger vehicle emissions situation shortly.

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