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UK Ambient Air Quality Assessments 2010-2013 - AQ0634

There are two important policy frameworks for improving air quality in the UK. These are:
• The European (EU) ambient air quality directives. These include the Framework Directive on ambient air quality assessment and management (96/62/EC), subsequent daughter directives (1999/30/EC, 2000/69/EC, 2002/3/EC and 2004/107/EC) and the CAFE Directive (2008/50/EC). These directives set thresholds (limit values or target values) to be achieved everywhere across Europe, including the UK, for a range of air quality pollutants;

• The UK Air Quality Strategy (AQS). This has been developed by Defra and the Devolved Administrations (DAs) to improve UK air quality. Similar to the European directives, the AQS sets objectives to be achieved for a range of air quality pollutants. These are typically similar, but not always identical to the thresholds set in the European directives (generally thresholds set in the directives are transposed into the AQS so that AQS thresholds are at least as stringent as the thresholds in the directives). The AQS is subject to periodic review by Defra and the DAs.

For many of the air quality pollutants, levels across the UK are below the thresholds prescribed in the directives and the AQS. However, for some pollutants, localised hotspots exist where there are exceedances of these thresholds and for some pollutants exceedances are widespread across the UK.

In this context, Defra and the DAs have ongoing requirements for policy relevant scientific/technical information which can be used to help them make informed policy decisions. This includes pulling together, understanding and performing analysis on a wide range of data from both automatic and non-automatic national air quality monitoring networks and emissions inventories. In particular, we have developed the Pollution Climate Mapping (PCM) model to produce maps of concentrations of the relevant air quality pollutants across the UK to meet this policy need. Defra and the DAs also require support in completing the annual reports required by the EU ambient air quality directives and the AQS.

The core activity within this contract is the mapping of ambient air pollutant concentrations using computer models. These maps are then used to fulfil the UK’s statutory requirement to submit annual air quality assessments to the EU. Projections of future air quality are also calculated and enable the impact of possible new policy measures to improve air quality to be evaluated.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2013

Cost: £2,332,610
Contractor / Funded Organisations
AEA Technology
Air Pollution              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Air Quality