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July 2016 Headlines

‘T-charge’ targets London cars

London mayor Sadiq Khan says older cars will pay a £10 surcharge to drive into central London as early as next year.

Clean Air Act needed

On the 60th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act, lawyer Clientearth has urged a new act to take its place to deal with modern pollution.

Schools highlighted in softening up exercise

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has released “new” figures showing 443 primary schools exceed “legal” air pollution limits. 86 secondary schools are also above limits.

NECD agreed in diluted form

A classic European compromise has seen the National Emissions Ceilings Directive agreed but in watered down form.

NECD exceedences

Ten countries exceed their NECD emission limits – the UK is not one of them.

Fuller to Aqeg

King’s College London’s Gary Fuller has joined the Air Quality Expert Group which advises Government on air quality policy matters.

CHP consult

Government is consulting on combined heat and power strategies. A ‘heat networks’ fund of £320m is intended to boost take-up for centralised heating systems in urban areas.

Planning guidance

Just over a year has passed since the introduction of EPUK and IAQM’s guidance on Land use planning & development control: Planning for air quality (AQB May 2016 p6).

Paris ban

Pre-1997 cars will be banned from Paris this month in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Bus Bill still without emissions clause

An attempt has been made to insert an emissions clause into the Bus Bill currently working its way through Parliament.

VW fines fund US action plans

Diesel defeat devices fitted by VW will cost the firm nearly $15bn in consumer compensation and environmental payments. The firm is not expected to face similar costs in Europe beyond fixing customers’ cars, many suspect it will only be treated as a consumer issue and not a public health issue over here.

Cambridge consults on taxi cleanup

Cambridge City Council is to consult taxi drivers on how the use of low emission vehicles by the taxi trade could be encouraged.

Dirty Thirty

Transport & Environment (T&E) has released a list of 30 “dirty” cars with “suspicious emissions behaviour”.

Warnings inadequate

Londoners have not been sufficiently warned of pollution events, figures released by the incoming London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggest.

News from the Kings ERG conference held last month

2015. How was it for you?

Kings College London’s Tim Baker reviewed air pollution over the past year – by and large steady falls have resumed.

Sensor fears

York University’s Pete Edwards cautioned against too much reliance on new sensors. Cheap and cheerful sensors are being pushed to replace more expensive reference equipment with the hope that large numbers of cheap sensors could provide more information than small numbers of expensive sensors.

Seaton sceptical on NO2 ...

Anthony Seaton – former chairman of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution – has repeated his assertion that NO2 is not responsible for heart deaths.

...while Holgate bigs it up

By contrast another Comeap ex-chairman Stephen Holgate was strident that more should be done – and fast.

Which measures work?

London’s large monitoring network allows detailed analysis of why some monitored locations are getting worse and others are getting better.

Welsh discuss air quality: plan soon

Welsh Assembly members have discussed air quality in a long debate. Many point out that some roads have air quality almost as bad as London’s Marylebone Road

The next VW?

Vehicle NOx emissions from cars may be higher when the ambient temperature is lower, Emissions Analytics claims.

Batumi pledge

Ministers and high-level representatives from 28 countries and organisations participating in the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia, have committed to accelerate action to combat air pollution over the next five years.

NPL NO award

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has been appointed the Central Calibration Laboratory for nitrogen monoxide by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), as part of a programme to better understand changes to the Earth’s atmosphere and their impact on human health and the environment.

Barbecue plea

Save Highbury Fields campaign group is lobbying to reinstate a ban on barbecues.

A14 approval

Widening of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon trunk road is to go ahead.

News from last months’s Iapsc meeting held in London

Marner warns on CHP impacts

“Even small CHP plants and emergency generators can have significant impacts” Air Quality Consultants’ Ben Marner told last month’s IAPSC conference. Such impacts are despite the plant being below screening thresholds.

Defra to create ‘a great place for living’

Despite widespread scepticism that Defra is doing enough about air pollution, Defra’s Rebecca Dangerfield titled her Iapsc talk ‘Creating a great place for living: clean air”.

Bristol fears being left behind

Bristol’s Ben Robinson explained how the city had embraced electric vehicles. “Historically we have focused on congestion but for cities and towns, air quality has become a priority.

London funds

GLA continues to fund air quality projects as part of its Mayors Air Quality Fund system. Even before the change of the London Mayor, the Capital had in place a more ambitious local authority air quality system than elsewhere in England along with funding.

NO2 dilution

The US EPA has proposed to reverse plans to monitor for the pollutant near roadways of cities between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people

Heathrow delay

A decision on where a new runway will be built near London has been delayed.

Business plan

Businesses in the West End of London are cooperating to improve air quality with a novel air quality action plan.

Brighton success

Air quality in some of Brighton & Hove’s most polluted locations is improving, according to new council figures.

Global deaths set out

A report looks forward at the cost of failing to tackle air pollution across the world.

Sheffield plants ‘air quality garden’

Sheffield is home to what is billed as the “UK’s first air quality garden”, containing plant species that are sensitive to ozone pollution.

Money missing from Clean Air Zones?

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has warned that the government must ‘come clean’ over the funding of clean air zones.

Equality: AQ hits the poor

A suppressed report spells out how the poor are disproportionately affected by air pollution in London

Unep demands more

Two new UNEP reports on air quality show more can be done to tackle air pollution

Brexit: air quality takes a hit?

The UK has voted to leave Europe and we find ourselves in limbo. How might this affect air quality, asks Jack Pease

Pollution as cigarette equivalents

Dutch researchers have expressed the health impact of air pollution exposure in terms of passive smoking.