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New Sensitivity Test for NOx Emissions from Euro 6/VI Vehicles


Air Quality Consultants has reviewed the available information on real world emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from Euro 6 (light duty) and Euro VI (heavy duty) vehicles (review available here).  The evidence is that real improvements are being delivered, but that these improvements may possibly not be as great as those within Defra’s Emissions Factors Toolkit (EFT) used to inform assessments of future vehicle emissions. 

The review has led Air Quality Consultants to develop a new sensitivity test that it will apply to assessments of vehicle impacts associated with new developments.  Up until now, Air Quality Consultants has applied a sensitivity test that involves no reduction in emissions per vehicle, and has presented this alongside the assessment based on EFT emissions.  This approach was adopted to address the previous experience with emissions from pre-Euro 6/IV vehicles, which did not show the expected decline in real world emissions.  The new sensitivity test allows for real reductions from Euro 6/VI vehicles but with emissions that are higher than those set out in Defra’s EFT. 

The new evidence on Euro 6/VI emissions has also been carried through to the background maps published by Defra, which are an integral part of future year assessments (background map adjustments are described here). 

Air Quality Consultants is presenting its new sensitivity test as a ‘reasonable worst-case assessment’ in its new reports. 

Air Quality Consultants will continue to monitor developments with Euro 6/VI emissions and evidence of real-world performance to ensure it is providing a service based on the most up-to-date information.

New Director joins Air Quality Consultants Ltd


New Director joins Air Quality Consultants Ltd

Chris Whall has been appointed as a Director of Air Quality Consultants Ltd.  He has joined Stephen Moorcroft (Executive Director) and Prof. Duncan Laxen (Managing Director) to help lead a team of 18 air quality consultants.  Chris was formerly Director of Environmental Assessment at Amec Foster Wheeler, where he was responsible for a team of almost 200 staff.

Welcoming Chris, Duncan Laxen said; “Chris is joining Air Quality Consultants at a point where the Company has grown to be the largest independent air quality consultancy in the UK.  The managerial and technical experience that he brings will be invaluable, helping us achieve continued growth and maintain the high quality service we provide to our clients”

Chris Whall said “I am delighted to be joining Air Quality Consultants, a company that has grown organically over the last 20 years and one that is renowned for the expert knowledge and the excellent service it provides to its clients across a wide-range of sectors. The team at Air Quality Consultants has been central to the development of air quality management and assessment in the UK; its reputation in the market place is second to none. I am looking forward to contributing to the sustainable growth of the company over the next decade and working alongside Duncan and Stephen to continue to deliver the high quality advice that clients expect from Air Quality Consultants.”

Chris Whall has over 15 years’ experience as an air quality consultant.  He joined Bureau Veritas (then Stanger Science & Environment) in 1999, when Stephen Moorcroft was the Director of the air quality department.  Chris has worked on air quality assessments for major infrastructure projects across the UK and has presented evidence at public inquiries. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and member of the Institute of Air Quality Management.

Air Quality Consultants, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary (more), works on a wide range of projects and has particular expertise in the assessment of the air quality impacts of airports.  Chris’s extended experience of assessing air quality at a number of UK and international airports will be particularly relevant in this context.

Second China Visit


Prof. Duncan Laxen, Managing Director of Air Quality Consultants Ltd., recently joined the second delegation of air quality experts on a visit to China, to share the UK’s experiences of assessing and managing air quality.  The visit was hosted by the Counsellors’ Office of the State Council – the State Council is the chief administrative authority of the People’s Republic of China and is chaired by the Premier. 

The visit was organised in the UK by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the British Embassy.  While there, the group experienced at first hand a Beijing smog, with PM2.5 concentrations over 280 mg/m3, falling in the ‘Hazardous’ air quality band, as defined by the US.

The main event was a ‘Symposium on Air Quality Control’, at which presentations were made by Chinese and UK experts.  For the UK, Dr David Carslaw presented on “The Use of Science to Improve Air Quality”, Prof. Martin Bigg on “Air Pollution Control”, Prof. Ross Anderson on “The Health Effects of Air Pollution” and Elliot Treharne on “London’s Air Pollution Story: from pea-souper smogs to an ultra-low emission city.”  Prof. Laxen chaired the afternoon session.

Following the symposium the delegation visited two cities in Shandong province being shown a 4GW coal fired plant fitted with Flue Gas Desulurphurisation (FGD) to reduce sulphur emissions and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions, as well as various solar energy projects.  Meetings were held with local representatives in both cities, where the importance of tackling air pollution was emphasied.

It was evident that China is taking air quality seriously, with coal fired plant in Beijing being shut down and new plant being fitted with SCR.  Fortunately, the vehicles in Beijing are largely petrol fuelled, not diesel, thereby minimising particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emissions.  There is, however, a lot to do to bring down pollution levels to more acceptable levels.

The delegation left with an agreement to propose to the Counsellors’ Office of the State Council ways to provide further support using UK expertise.


A New Runway for London


Air Quality Consultants Ltd helped prepare the air quality assessments of the three shortlisted options for a new runway at Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.  The work, which was carried out to comply with the Airports Commission’s Appraisal Framework, was led by Jacobs, who used the considerable experience of Air Quality Consultants Ltd with airport assessments in the UK to deliver the report (access report here). 

The assessment covered three options: two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick.  Emissions inventories were derived for each option in 2030, with and without the new runways, for both nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).  This information was used to model pollutant concentrations to assess compliance with the air quality objectives and limit values, and to calculate environmental damage costs.  Consideration was given to potential mitigation options.

The Airports Commission final report is available here.



Results From On-going Customer Survey


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 shows that 99% of clients find Air Quality Consultants’ service to be ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, with the 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 June 2015, 136 survey responses have been received, and the year-on-year results over the four 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 (78%) rating the service as excellent. This success is largely down to the knowledge and expertise of the Company, which is rated by 78% of respondents as excellent, while everyone rates the quality of the work as good or excellent.  

The full results are shown below.



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