Air quality regulation - Is the net tightening?

12Sep / 2016

Air quality regulation – Is the net tightening?

On the 7th September Simon Talbot, Managing Director of GGS, was invited to contribute to the first meeting of The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution. The group’s remit is to raise the profile of air quality as well as air pollution, which despite it’s impact on public health still lacks adequate regulation.

Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich and chair of the group, opened the meeting with reference to the Clean Air Act of 1956. He noted that despite the passing of 60 years the country’s air quality still remained poor. Pennycook also stated that there was still a clear cut public health crisis due this ‘invisible’ hazard which leads to tens of thousands of premature deaths. The fact that this has not resulted in sweeping legislation is an ongoing cause for concern.

Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at Kings College London, then spoke on the health impacts of air pollution. He added to Pennycook’s comments, observing that of the three necessities of life – water, food and air – only the latter is free, and is therefore overlooked. Kelly also pointed out that one of the biggest contributors to air pollution was land transportation.

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Councillor Heather Acton, cabinet member for sustainability at Westminster City Council, presented the local authority perspective on tackling air pollution. She commented that while traffic may be the principle source of air pollution, buildings also account for 40%. She also observed that a shift in public behaviour was also essential for change to quicken and remain.

Finally, Alaric Lester, Air Quality Principal Consultant at Temple Group, spoke on the technology options available to tackle the issue of air pollution. He made reference to the Euro 6 vehicle emissions standards and improved air quality through greater use of electric cars. He also raised the possibility of the government introducing a scrappage scheme for older vehicles.

All of the speakers backed Mr Pennycook’s call for a new Clean Air Act, which has been the resounding topic during the act’s 60th anniversary. This call has been taken up by Geraint Davies, Member of Parliament for Swansea West, who is submitting an Air Quality Bill to Parliament next week.

Understanding the dangers of letting air quality go unchecked, GGS can perform external monitoring for a range of environmental parameters, including particulate matter, dust, nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane.

From landfills to building sites, we can perform external monitoring for a range of locations, taking into account site specific conditions to provide discrete, cost-effective solutions.

Read the GGS Air Quality Monitoring services brochure here.