QA/QC Activities within the UK Ambient Air Quality Networks
The QA/QC Unit forms one of several elements in the UK Ambient Air Quality Networks. The Networks exist to provide accurate and reliable data regarding concentrations of the various pollutants at the sites within the Networks, which are to be used by Government, other regulatory bodies, scientists in the UK and elsewhere, and the general public.
The key elements of the Networks, apart from the QA/QC Unit, are the Central Management and Control Unit (CMCU), the Equipment Support Unit (ESU), and Local Site Operators (LSOs). The responsibilities of the CMCU include the repair and maintenance of the Network infrastructure - sites, monitoring and telemetry equipment - and the rapid supply of provisional data, for example via CEEFAX and Web pages. The ESU is contracted by the CMCU to handle problems specific to the monitoring equipment, and also to provide routine servicing of this equipment. The CMCU also contracts an LSO at each site to perform regular, largely routine, checks and calibrations at the sites.
The primary aim of the QA/QC Unit is to ensure the quality and integrity of the data before final ratification and publication. The Unit`s objectives are therefore:
i) to provide a technical and organisational quality control and quality assurance infrastructure for the Network data;
ii) to provide the Department of the Environment with policy advice in relation to the QA/QC of the data;
iii) to ratify and publish final datasets;
iv) to liaise with the Central Management and Co-ordination Unit (CMCU) and local site operators, as appropriate, to ensure the smooth operation of the Network.