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Updated CURED to V2A


Air Quality Consultants Ltd has updated its Calculator Using Realistic Emissions for Diesels (CURED) spreadsheet to Version 2A (CURED V2A August 2016 version available here)

Defra has released an updated version of its Emissions Factors Toolkit (EFT) (V7.0), which replaces EFT V6.02.  The new EFT takes account of updated emissions functions and updated information on fleet compositions; particularly within the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the centre of London.  CURED, which has been developed to address uncertainties in real-world emissions from diesel vehicles, has been updated to V2A to be consistent with EFT V7.0. 

CURED V2A uses the same information on vehicle fleet compositions as EFT V7.0.  It also uses same shaped speed-emissions curves as EFT V7.0; albeit that these have been uplifted to give higher predicted emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).  The rationale for the uplifts applied in both versions of CURED is given in the review of in-service emissions from diesel vehicles prepared by Air Quality Consultants (review available here). 

As well as updating CURED, Air Quality Consultants has updated its note explaining how future-year background concentrations can be predicted for use with CURED V2A (August 2016 note available here).  This includes fresh calibration factors derived by comparing Defra’s latest background maps against suitable background measurements.

Finally, Air Quality Consultants has provided a high-level comparison of how  predictions made using EFT V6.02, EFT V7.0, CURED V1A, and CURED V2A differ from each other (high-level comparison available here).  This shows that future-year NOx emissions predicted using EFT V7.0 will be much lower than those predicted using Defra’s earlier EFT.  In contrast, future-year NOx emissions predicted using CURED V2A will, for most vehicle speeds and locations, not be appreciably different from those predicted using CURED V1A. There will, however, be some marked differences at certain speeds and within the London ULEZ.


Customer Survey Update


Delivering sound, reliable expert advice and a consistently high quality of service is fundamental to everything that Air Quality Consultants does. The company’s on-going client survey, now in its fifth year, shows that 99% of clients find Air Quality Consultants’ service to be ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, with the vast majority rating it as ‘excellent’. Further details are provided below.

About the survey

In August 2011 Air Quality Consultants commissioned a survey to measure how clients rate the company’ service and find out what they value most about working with Air Quality Consultants.  Since that time clients have been routinely invited to give their feedback in order to ensure that the quality of the work is being maintained.  This forms part of the Company’s QA/QC programme, which is certified to ISO 9001 (2008). 

As of 1 July 2016, 172 survey responses have been received, and the year-on-year results over the five years show consistent performance. 

Key findings

The overall service that clients receive from Air Quality Consultants is rated as either excellent or good by 99% of respondents, with the vast majority (74%) rating the service as excellent. This success is largely down to the knowledge and expertise of the Company, which is rated by 80% of respondents as excellent, while everyone rates the quality of the work as good (27%) or excellent (73%)

The full results are shown below.


Guidance on Assessment of Mineral Dust Impacts for Planning


The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has released new guidance on assessing dust from mineral extraction sites (available here).  Penny Wilson of Air Quality Consultants was a member of the working group that developed the guidance.  The document has been prepared in the absence of any detailed government guidance for assessing dust from mineral sites at the planning stage, and provides advice on robust and consistent approaches to undertaking such assessments.  

The guidance uses a simple distance-based screening approach to determine the significance of any dust impacts.   Where significant impacts are likely, a basic assessment framework is provided to evaluate the risk of dust impacts and effects using the Source-Receptor-Pathway approach, similar to that used in the IAQM’s ‘Guidance on the Assessment of Odour for Planning’.

The guidance includes information on suitable mitigation at mineral sites; both ‘basic good design and best-practice measures’ and ‘site specific mitigation measures’, and also provides information on the recommended content of Dust Management Plans for minerals planning applications.

Air Quality Consultants is now applying the updated guidance to its air quality assessments for all new mineral extraction projects.


DfT Study Provides New Validation for Air Quality Consultants’ Emissions Sensitivity Test


The Department for Transport (DfT) has published (on 21 April 2016) the results of its new Vehicle Emissions Testing Programme (available here).  The principal focus of the study has been to identify whether the use of ‘defeat devices’, as highlighted by the Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal, is widespread in the UK.  The DfT found no evidence of any such devices being used by manufacturers other than the VW group. 

The DfT study also provides a new set of measurements of real-world emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel cars.  The study covered 19 cars in each Euro class, with the cars selected to be representative of those currently on the road in the UK.  The tests showed that real-world emissions are well above the levels set in the emission standards:  Euro 5 emissions were 3 to 10 times the standard and Euro 6 emissions were 2 to 12 times the standard.  On average, both classes of vehicle were found to emit just over 6 times their respective standards.  

The new DfT results validate the findings of the recent review of real-world emissions from diesel cars by Air Quality Consultants (review available here).  The Air Quality Consultants review compiled the results of real-world emissions tests covering more than 170 Euro 6 diesel cars and several thousand Euro 5 diesel cars.  The findings from the DfT study fall within the range of those included in the Air Quality Consultants review and provide further support for its findings.

 Air Quality Consultants used the results of its emissions review, which included heavy duty diesel vehicles, to propose a sensitivity test to be applied when modelling nitrogen dioxide alongside roads.  The latest DfT data further justify the use of this sensitivity test, together with the purpose-built CURED calculator for emissions from road vehicles (available here) that is used to apply the sensitivity test. 

New Calculator to Support Vehicle Emissions Sensitivity Test


Air Quality Consultants Ltd has launched its Calculator Using Realistic Emissions for Diesels (CURED) spreadsheet for use by other air quality practitioners (calculator available here).  This tool is designed to support the sensitivity test being incorporated into air quality assessments of new developments carried out by Air Quality Consultants.  This sensitivity test relies on the results of the review of in-service emissions from diesel vehicles prepared by Dr Ben Marner of Air Quality Consultants (review available here).  CURED provides the necessary emissions for modelling studies. 

Air Quality Consultants is making this calculator freely available for others to use when carrying out modelling studies.  This will help ensure consistency in the approach to air quality assessments, minimising confusion for officers receiving air quality reports accompanying planning applications.  All that is required is that users acknowledge Air Quality Consultants Ltd as the source of the information.

The full sensitivity test, which is designed to provide a ‘reasonable worst-case assessment’, needs to make use of the CURED spreadsheet, together with adjustments to the Defra background maps as described in a separate report (here)

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