Air Quality Management Areas
In 2013 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) proposed to abolish Local Authority requirements for regular air quality monitoring and local Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). However, following consideration of around 18,000 consultation responses, the government appears to have backtracked on the plans.
DEFRA’s Consultation Period
The six-week consultation period, which ended in September 2013, revealed significant opposition to the proposed changes. Although DEFRA’s plans sought to cut red tape, the consultation responses from Local Authorities, organisations, campaign groups and individuals highlighted the “overwhelming support for retaining Local Air Quality Management areas” and associated monitoring. The government has now stated that it will “make proposals to introduce regular annual reporting on air quality for local authorities.”
Maria Arnold of the Healthy Air Campaign commented on the government consultation response saying: “overwhelming public pressure has forced the government to rethink plans to scrap local authorities” duties to monitor air quality. The response has demonstrated that industry experts and members of the public feel that DEFRA’s original proposal would have had devastating impacts on air quality and health. Arnold stated that “we will have to wait for the next set of proposals to see whether the message has really sunk in, but for now they appear to be listening.”
Air Quality Advice and Mitigation
Across the UK and internationally, REC’s Air Quality Consultants adhere to government guidance to maintain air quality standards through the production of Air Quality Assessments. This ensures that communities are not exposed to poor air quality and emissions are controlled to acceptable levels. Following recognised local and national guidance and planning documents, REC undertakes dispersion modelling assessments to help protect sensitive receptors such as schools, hospitals, residential areas from high pollution levels and associated effects.