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Air Quality Celebration


Prof. Roy Harrison OBE, has received the distinction of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.  Roy is Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Birmingham.  He has a long and distinguished academic career in air pollution and its impact on human health.  He recently arranged a seminar at the University to celebrate his achievement, to which he invited colleagues he has worked with over the last few decades. 

Prof. Duncan Laxen, Managing Director of Air Quality Consultants, was invited to provide a presentation on Air Quality Management in the UK.  Duncan was privileged to be Roy’s first PhD student at Lancaster University.  They first published a paper together in 1977, with their last paper published in 2012.

The presentation by Duncan emphasised that Air Quality Management requires more than an understanding of the science to deliver improvements.  He set out that it also requires campaigns and public support, legislation and enforcement, technology and financial support.  He illustrated this with four examples of air quality management in practice: sulphur dioxide and smoke, lead, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide.  While most had been successfully addressed, he noted that nitrogen dioxide was still a work in progress, with Defra about to provide its updated Air Quality Plan, having failed to deliver the necessary improvements to date.

Photos:  Roy Harrison, Duncan Laxen and cover of book they co-authored in 1981

RH-900px.jpg     SAM_1220.JPG  Lead-Pollution-Book.jpg

Calibrating Defra’s Background NOx and NO2 Maps against 2016 Measurements


Air Quality Consultants has carried out an analysis of the validity of Defra’s national pollution maps of ambient background concentrations in 2016.  These maps cover the whole country on a 1x1 km grid and are published for each year from 2013 until 2030. Mapped concentrations in 2013 were based on existing emissions from a range of different sources (including road traffic) calibrated against monitoring data for that year.  Emission projections are then used to predict concentrations in all subsequent years to 2030.  There is evidence that the current ‘official’ emission factors published by Defra (as used in the Emission Factor Tookit v7.0) over-predicted the rate at which road traffic emissions of nitrogen oxides will fall in the future.  This can affect the mapped concentrations in 2016, as they are derived from a 2013 base year.

Air Quality Consultants has compared Defra’s background mapped nitrogen oxides (NOx) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) values for 2016 with national background measurements made at Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) sites during 2016.  Based on the 56 sites with more than 75% data capture for 2016, the Defra maps have been found to under-predict the background NOx and NO2 concentrations by 20.8% and 10.2% on average, respectively (May 2017 analysis available here).

This analysis also has implications for the suggested approach to treating background concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) when using the Calculator Using Realistic Emissions for Diesels (CURED) V2A, which was published in September 2016 (note available here).  The latest analysis provides the necessary uplift factors to be applied to 2016 base year background concentrations before projecting forwards using the CURED approach.

Nitrogen Dioxide adds to Deaths in Bristol


A report quantifying the health impacts of air pollution in Bristol has been updated by Air Quality Consultants to include the impacts of nitrogen dioxide (in addition to particulate matter). Since the original report was published, there has been growing evidence that further deaths in the City of Bristol could be attributable to nitrogen dioxide. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants has provided a means of calculating the deaths attributable to nitrogen dioxide, as well as the combined number of deaths attributable to both nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter.  The new results show that around 300 deaths each year in the City of Bristol can be attributed to exposure to both nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. This represents about 8.5% of deaths in the City of Bristol being attributable to air pollution.

The proportions of deaths attributable to air pollution vary across the City in relation to pollutant concentrations, from around 7% in some wards to around 10% in others.  The report is available here: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/32675/Health+Impacts+of+Air+Pollution+in+Bristol+February+2017/4df2fce5-e2fc-4c22-b5c7-5e7a5ae56701

Draft NICE Guideline on Air Pollution and Health


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its stakeholder consultation on the draft guideline  on Air Pollution - Outdoor Air Quality and Health, on 1 December 2016. 

Stephen Moorcroft (Director at Air Quality Consultants Ltd) served as a Topic Expert Member on the Public Health Advisory Committee, and submitted expert testimony on the role of the planning regime in delivering improvements to local air quality, and on vehicle emissions standards.  

The draft guideline and supporting evidence can be found on the NICE website.


The consultation will close at 5pm on Wednesday 25th January 2017.

Air Quality Consultants Launches New Central London Office


Air Quality Consultant's new London office is open for business.  Located near Paddington, the central London office will enable Air Quality Consultants to increase the support it provides for clients in London.

Air Quality Consultants is involved in hundreds of projects across the whole of the UK each year, a large number of which are located in London.  Having a London office will make it easier and more cost-effective to provide site-based services, such as air quality, dust and odour monitoring, at competitive rates.  This will complement independent expert advice and assessments the company provides.

Chris Whall and Steve Moorcroft will be the Directors working out of this office, supported by Pauline Jezequel, who has joined as a Consultant from AECOM, together with Marko Ristic-Smith, who has just completed an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College, and shortly to be joined by Dr Aidan Farrow, who has been working as an air quality scientist at the University of Hertfordshire.  

The main office will remain in Bristol, and together with the London office, the 23 members of staff will reinforce the position of Air Quality Consultants as one of the largest air quality consultancy groups in the UK.

Contact details are:

Air Quality Consultants Ltd, 1 Burwood Place, London W2 2UT (just off Edgware Road)

Tel:  0203 873 4780

Email:  London@aqconsultants.co.uk


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