In October, four House of Commons Select Committees joined forces to launch an unprecedented joint inquiry on air quality. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Transport Committees have come together to scrutinise cross-government plans and activities to tackle air pollution, in recognition of the scale of the problem and the roles of different government departments in addressing it.
The committees launched a call for evidence in October, to which the IAQM committee has made a submission. The call for evidence invited submissions on five questions:
- How effectively do Government policies take into account the health and environmental impacts of poor air quality?
- Do these plans set out effective and proportionate measures to achieve necessary emissions reductions as quickly as possible?
- Are other nations or cities taking more effective action that the UK can learn from?
- Is there enough cross-government collaboration to set in place the right fiscal and policy incentives?
- How can those charged with delivering national plans at local level be best supported and challenged?
To read the evidence submitted by the IAQM, download the full submission (pdf).
The committees have since been taking oral evidence from academics, businesses, campaigners and Ministers. To view transcripts or videos of these sessions, or to view other written evidence submissions, visit the inquiry’s web page.
The new Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) assessment tools are now available on the Defra.gov.uk website.
The Environment Act 1995 and associated regulations established the local air quality management system, under which all local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland are required to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas against objectives for several pollutants of particular concern for human health.
The tools can be accessed via https://laqm.defra.gov.uk/review-and-assessment/tools/emissions.html
The first day of this year’s Routes to Clean Air conference concluded with the much-anticipated conference dinner and the presentation of the annual Ian McCrae award. Every year the award is given to an IAQM member who has demonstrated their commitment to the air quality profession. This year the award was open to IAQM Associates or
Members in the early stages of their career. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay, exploring what they think the main UK air quality issues will be in 2030.
This year’s winner was Laurence Lovell, an Environmental Consultant at Arup. Laurence wrote about the importance of Particulate Matter (PM) and how in the future air quality professionals will be able to quantify health effects in addition to air quality impacts. New sources of pollution will include diesel generators for charging electric vehicles, possibly leading to exceedances of short-term NO2 objectives. Making air quality problems ‘visible’ to the public will remain one of the air quality profession’s most persistent challenges. Finally, cheaper sensors may mean we discover that poor air quality is more widespread than we currently think.
Laurence provided a rounded insight into the challenges and opportunities air quality professionals may be faced with by 2030 and gave an inspiring acceptance speech after being presented with his award by the IAQM Chair, Dr Claire Holman.
This award was established in memory of Dr Ian McCrae who sadly passed away in 2010. Dr McCrae was a well-respected air quality practitioner and member of the IAQM.